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Blackhull fungus

No Peanuts Please

No Peanuts Please
by Lisa Bono

I often hear of people feeding peanuts to their parrots. I always offer my advice which sometimes is not well received. People often think that if a bird likes it, and it is not on the defined “no” list, all is well and what can one person know?

Peanuts often used as fillers in staple parrot seed diets. With this said, whenever a peanut is presented in any mix I feed, it is discarded. I do not feed my parrots any peanuts. It is just not worth the risk. What risks you ask? The risk is Aspergillosis.

Aspergillosis is the most frequently occurring fungal infection in birds. Once you have fought this deadly disease, you do not ever want to hear this word again. I have fought this disease twice, and ultimately in the end, lost the battle each time.

With so many other nutritional and healthy products in our reach to offer to our beloved birds, why settle for something that can produce expensive bills and often deadly results.

What is the fuss with peanuts? The peanut is unusual because it flowers above the ground, but fruits below the ground. They are known to harbor the aspergillus spores and aflatoxins, which can be found in the peanuts and the shell.

Aflatoxins, what are they? Two known strains of fungi that produce aflatoxins, which are carcinogenic and toxic compounds, are the Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus.

These are found in peanuts and peanut based products. It is believed the aflatoxins form on peanuts during the drying or transportation process. Correct heat and moisture play a crucial roll. Peanuts that are contaminated with aflatoxins do not appear any different than non-contaminated ones, and they cannot be distinguished by the human eye. They only way to notice the difference is by using UV light. One obvious sign of fungus on peanuts we have all noticed is called Blackhull. This is a loss of natural peanut pod color, and is caused by a fungal organism. The shell itself has spots that turn black in color.

With the information provided above, ultimately, the choice is still in your hands. If you choose to continue feeding your parrots peanuts, I would suggest they are marketed for human consumption, and not in the shell.

Sharing my experiences might save another birds life.