The Power of Pumpkin

It seems like everything these days is pumpkin spice! Pumpkin is the “it” fruit (Yes, it’s a fruit!) of the fall season and it is more than just a thing to carve or make a Thanksgiving dessert with. Among many other vitamins and minerals, pumpkin is a rich source of beta-carotene, which the body uses to convert into vitamin A. It turns out, our birbs need vitamin A for a healthy respiratory system.

DVM Hannis L. Stoddard, III, says, “The most common preventable avian disease that we see at our practice is hypovitaminosis A, or vitamin A deficiency, with or without accompanying secondary infections. Pet birds that eat only seeds (especially sunflower seeds and peanuts) are most prone to this problem because an all-seed diet is low in vitamin A.” (Hotspot4birds.com)

So how do we get pumpkin into our birds’ diets? The easiest way is to purchase a can of pure pumpkin (no spices or sugar added), divide it up into ice cube trays and freeze, thawing a portion as needed. Use it in a few different ways:

1) Smear it in among your bird’s fruit and vegetable mash. If your bird is picky, it will be hard for her to separate it out from her favorite foods.

2) Soak your bird’s pellets in a bit of pumpkin to create a soft mash. Just a note, if you’re tempted to warm up the mash, beware that providing warm foods might provoke breeding behavior.

3) Make birdie muffins, using this recipe, substituting the applesauce for pumpkin.