I was making some avocado toast for my breakfast the other day—my kids have been raving about it, so I had to give it a try.
Later on, though, I found my cockatiel picking at the bits that I’d left on the skin.
He seemed to really enjoy it, and I immediately thought to get him a bigger bit.
However, it occurred to me that I wasn’t entirely sure avocado was safe for cockatiels—so I decided to look into it.
So, can cockatiels eat avocado?
No, avocado is not safe for cockatiels. Avocados contain a compound called persin, which is toxic to many species—including many birds. Avocados contain more than enough persin to kill a cockatiel, so you should never give your cockatiel any amount. It is extremely dangerous, though they will normally avoid it on their own.
So, I was very lucky in that I managed to get the avocado skin away from my cockatiel before it ate enough to do any harm.
But you should always exercise the utmost caution when handling avocado around your cockatiel, and don’t eve let it have any.
Read on to find out more.
Is avocado toxic to cockatiels?
Yes, extremely so.
As I mentioned, avocado, along with many other foods like onions, garlic and mushrooms, contains persin.
Persin is a fungicidal toxin present in avocados, similar to fatty acids.
They leach into the body of fruits like avocados from the seeds, and the large seed of the avocado fruit means that there is large amounts of persin contained within.
Persin is toxic to the hearts and respiratory systems of many animals.
Though we aren’t included in the list, there are countless domestic animals for whom persin can be a death sentence.
Cockatiels are no exception, and indeed their small stature means that only a very small amount is needed to cause serious concern.
So, in a way, you might say the avocado itself is not toxic—just the persin contained within.
However, this is not a very useful distinction, as there are no avocados without persin.
However you look at it, avocados are toxic to cockatiels and will kill them in large enough quantities.
What about the rest of the plant, then?
Can cockatiels eat avocado leaves?
Unsurprisingly, the leaves of the plant are not safe either.
Though the persin emerges into the fruit through the seed, it comes via the roots of the plant, naturally.
So, there is persin present in all the leaves of an avocado plant.
The leaves are just as toxic, then.
In most cases, cockatiels are smart enough to know to avoid the avocado itself—let alone trying to eat the leaves.
That said, though, cockatiels are very often attracted to leaves.
If you have an avocado plant in your house, however small, you’re going to want to keep it away from your cockatiels.
Even the most minor contact could be fatal.
Can cockatiels eat avocado stems?
It would take a very adventurous cockatiel to try to eat the branches of an avocado plant, but it isn’t impossible.
It won’t surprise you to know that avocado stems and branches are no safer than any other part of the plant, and contain persin as well.
Therefore, if a cockatiel were to get even a small amount of the branch of an avocado plant, it could be extremely dangerous.
Again, hide your avocado plant, if you have one.
What to do if my cockatiel ate avocado?
The best thing to do is to make sure that this never happens in the first place.
No matter how much you like avocado, you always need to be careful to make sure it’s in a place your cockatiel will not get to it.
If you are in the unfortunate position that your cockatiel has eaten some avocado, don’t panic.
All you can do is get the bird to a vet as soon as possible.
There is no known antidote for persin poisoning in cockatiels, so there won’t be much you can do from home.
If you’re able to get to a vet, they will be able to alleviate the symptoms of poisoning, slow the degradation of your cockatiel’s condition, and bring it back to full health.
Speed is of the essence, though, so if you even suspect your cockatiel has persin poisoning, don’t waste any time.
To reiterate, though, don’t panic: this is the most important thing.
So, avocado is a very dangerous food for cockatiels.
They should never eat it under any circumstances, and if you plan to have avocado in your house, you need to always be sure that it is nowhere your cockatiel can get to it.
Even the smallest amount could cause serious health problems and can even be fatal, so don’t take any chances.
No part of the plant, either, is safe; and though they will normally avoid it of their own accord, you still need to be very careful of where it is.