Almonds Can be Poisonous!!!!!
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Almonds Can be Poisonous!!!!! Expand / Collapse
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Posted 12/30/2010 6:25:24 AM
Just Hatched

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On December 16th I unexpectedly lost my male RS eclectus Fred, a 15 year old friend that I have had for 12 years. On 12/10 I bought a bag of almonds and a bag of pecans while shopping with my wife at our local large food chain. Every night I would give Fred, and Ruby my 20 year old female RS eclectus, an almond or two after just cracking the shell a bit, and of course I would eat a handful too. On the 16th I heard a few low squawks from Fred at 7am, not his usual "bring me my breakfast" scream. When I got around to bringing the birds food at 8am, Fred was dead on the cage floor, wings spread. Subsequent necropsy results indicate cyanide poisoning from almonds. Now apparently all almonds contain a bit of cyanide and the one that I gave Fred looked no different than the one I gave Ruby. The remaining almonds from the same bag I gave to my vet yesterday and I think they are being sent up to Cornel for further analysis. Unfortunately I had thrown away the bag so I do not know the geographical source of the almonds, and that same food chain had absolutely no bagged almonds when I checked yesterday. Google "Cyanide Poisoning of Songbirds by Almonds" and you will find a case of large deaths in California by wild birds feeding on almonds. There is no way that you can tell a good almond from a poisonous one just by looking. There are other nut types out there, why take a chance your actions will have the same very sad results as mine!!!!!!
Post #231449
Posted 12/30/2010 8:22:49 AM


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I did find an article under the topic you suggested, however, it was dated February 15, 1955. I'm aware that Bitter Almonds are the source of Cyanide. There are more than 25 types of almonds grown in the US and over 100 varieties found around the world. Parrots have consumed almonds as part of their diets for many years. I'm thinking that there needs to be more investigating done here before we all swear off almonds.

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Post #231453
Posted 12/30/2010 8:44:45 AM


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K&T Dad... First I want to say how sorry I am that your bird passed on. I also agree that more research needs to be done. I have been around Parrots for many years and I cannot recall any deaths due to almonds. There are too many question marks. Thank you for sharing this and I my self will try and do a little research on this if I can.


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Post #231457
Posted 12/30/2010 9:45:28 AM
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I am very sorry to learn of the death of your bird. I am sure it is a very sad time for your family and your other bird.
all nuts have the potential of being poisonous if taken in too large an amount. That is why wild parrots eat clay ( one reason). What is that too large an amount? I am guessing it is different for each individual.
Post #231463
Posted 12/30/2010 3:53:58 PM
Just Hatched

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I found a similar bag of almonds today at another store of the same food chain 5 miles away and the bag states "Product of the USA". As for that 1955 article which refers to California as the source, I did not see any reference to "bitter"almonds, just almonds from an old orchard; the fact remains, thousands of birds were poisoned by almonds then as was my bird a few weeks ago. For reference, I live in NC.
Post #231490
Posted 12/30/2010 6:51:29 PM


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Several years ago I had a wonderful B&G named Icarus. I took her lots of places with me. One day we went to a high end farmers market in the Orlando area. We would always get some banana crepes from the crepe stand to share. On this day there was an old man selling bags of pecans and I bought some for Icarus. She loved the nuts. After several weeks Icarus was getting very lethargic for a 2 year old macaw. It was the pecans. They had coated the shells with a preservative that was toxic to my bird. The preservative was ingested each time she cracked a nut. Icarus recovered, however, I never bought her food from other than a bird store after that. It was my fault for assuming the nuts were OK. From what I'm seeing I think that something similar is happening here, otherwise there would be other dead birds.

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Post #231491
Posted 12/31/2010 8:03:24 AM
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A lot of actions have to take place before we would "see" other dead birds poisoned by bad almonds. Owners would have to find this site or a similar one; the owner would have to do what I did-feed his or her bird nuts made for human consumption; the nuts would have to be poisonous; the owner must be willing to spend the significant amount necessary to do a necropsy assuming of course they even had a suspicion as to the cause of death; the owner had to care that others would not experience a similar fate; etc etc etc. My bird vet is an avian specialist with impecable credentials. In fact she indicated to me that she will write a paper on this fatality. I will post again once the results come in after analysis of the remaining nuts in the bag I originally purchased and the subsequent bag purchased. I pray that we don't "see" similar deaths in the interim. At least for those on this forum, particularly those that live in the southeast and might shop the same food chain, they have been "informed" of the possibility.
Post #231509
Posted 12/31/2010 7:36:33 PM


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I'm really sorry to hear about your bird- that must be so devastating. I'm very careful about what my birds get but I do worry about things like that. Thank you for sharing- if you ever remember the brand please share! I usually only give my birds almonds from the local produce store and they are usually already shelled and I chop them up for them. Almond slivers are what I use for training now and then.

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Post #231551
Posted 1/1/2011 10:14:01 AM
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The almonds were in the shell in bags sold by Harris Teeter as "Farmer's Market" several weeks before Christmas. Obviously Harris Teeter is not responsible for what happened; but for me almonds are permanently off Ruby's menu. I am going to share my Christmas pistachios with Ruby from now on.
Post #231572
Posted 1/1/2011 1:15:12 PM


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The standards for animal grade food and for people are different. Truthfully the standards for human consumption are often much lower than for animals. "IF" the nuts had come from a bird store I'm sure that your story would have a different ending and someone could be held responsible for your bird's death. The chances of this happening a 2nd time to you are not any less as a result of continuing to to feed your birds human grade food. I understand your loss and my heart goes out to you.

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