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Egg whites (2 replies)
Do you worry about upsetting the nutritional balance of the egg when you only offer the whites? My Grey is on meds for epilepsy and takes them best on egg, so receives a small amount every day.
"Nutritional balance" is a very loose and relative phrase nowadays with everyone feeding pretty much a "whole kitchen sink" diet to their birds. This is a topic I will be addressing in depth during the entire 2016 calendar year. For the last couple of decades some who profess to be avian nutritionists have given license to feeding whole, raw diets...some with added cooked foods using this "whole kitchen sink" method of mixing a high diversity of ingredients without laboratory testing for any kind of balance whatsoever.
Am I concerned about one isolated ingredient such as egg whites when I see so many feeding by this "whole kitchen sink" method? No, not really. I am concerned about these concepts of feeding a high diversity of foods without any testing for balancing. One ingredient is not going to throw a bird's overall diet off, but when we throw caution to the wind and begin adding many individual ingredients, in more volume than a laboratory tested diet we need to rethink our strategy in feeding our companion feathered friend.
Having said all of that, I am in the process of writing an article about "purines" in the diet and what they can potentially do in our birds' systems. Egg yolks contain a high amount of purines. This is really my only reason for not including purines our birds' diets. I don't buy into the hype about cholesterol now that new and scientific supported information has been revealed about the real causes of cardiovascular disease: it is not caused by cholesterol per se, but instead diets high in Omega 6s combined with refined sugars and/or high fructose consumed on a regular and consistent basis along with an improper ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet.
But back to purines. Purines oxidize to uric acid in the body settling into the kidneys and joints leading to kidney disease, arthritis and gout. In addition purines can "rev up" our birds causing them to become hyperactive. This can add to feather destruction in those birds who engage in feather destruction. For these reasons I usually leave out the yolks in eggs as long as I know my birds are receiving the choline egg yolks provide from other sources. It's all about food combining and knowing where to obtain all nutrients from the least antagonistic sources of food to provide balanced nutrition.
If your bird is not engaging in feather destruction, nor has ever shown high uric acid levels when its blood is tested, then I don't see any reason why you can't continue to feed limited amounts of whole egg. -I would suggest however that you do increase the good fat in your bird's diet to help lower the seizure episodes. Try using krill oil. Just one to two drops per day may help. I have used increased good fats in the abatement of seizures in birds and found it to be very beneficial. In addition you may want to reduce the amount of Omega 6s in your Grey's diet. Lessen the amount of grains and feed more sprouted items. Also increase foods high in Vitamin A like mango and papaya. You definitely want to increase the hydrochloric acid in the digestive tract so foods are better digested, absorbed and metabolized. You can do that by feeding very small amounts of organic Psyllium SEED husk (not just Psyllium husk). Don't feed more than a pinch a day or your bird could become bloated. Make sure plenty of fresh, clean water is always available when feeding psyllium. Also feed green banana, this helps increase the hydrochloric acid in the proventriculus which is where all digestion begins. Once your bird is producing more hydrochloric acid the good fat, along with all other nutrients will be better absorbed and eventually seizures should lessen. Maybe not be totally eliminated, but lessen.
Best of wishes to you and your feathered friend. 🙂
Thanks so much! I switched her diet a couple years ago to your recommendations and she has improved so much. I appreciate your innovative thinking and devotion to our feathered friends.