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Discussion Starter #1
So I heard kale is good for my cockatiels, so I've been giving it to them daily. Now I've had no issues with it (unless mystery yellow pee that the vet doesn't understand could be related?? Anyone know?) but I've just read that kale has high levels of lutein in it. I also read that cockatiels are not particularly good at dealing with lots of lutein, sooo...? I was giving the kale to them because I heard it was good (I assume it's said to be good because of the high b-carotene levels which is good for them and they ARE able to deal with) but this lutein stuff has thrown me.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Hmm starting to think that the person who wrote that lutein wasn't good for tiels was barking up the wrong tree. Can't be sure ofcourse but I can't find anything to support that.. Sure had me worried! Still interested in what everyone else thinks though. I'm always worried what vegies to feed since they eat pellets too and I don't want to overload them with anything. Right now they only get kale and bok choy :/
 

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I wouldn't stop giving it, but I would probably try to do more variety of veggies. In general, you're not going to get toxic levels of any one nutrient from veggies, because the nutrients/minerals are not in huge mega doses like what you would find in synthetic vitamin supplements. Generally excess nutrients consumed in food just get excreted without any problem. But, it's not a great idea to give the same thing all the time, as that sort of defeats the purpose of giving fresh food, and does emphasize some nutrients more than others.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I thought cockatiels were exceptionally good at storing vitamin a which is found a lot in dark leafy greens like kale, so they wouldn't excrete the excess and instead end up with vit a toxicity? I read a study on it, and though they were using synthetic vitamin a for that study and you're probably right that they wouldn't get anywhere near enough for that to happen just by eating things like kale, I still worry since they're so good at storing it and they're already getting some from their pellets.

Do you have suggestions on what to give them? I've tried egg but they won't touch it, they won't touch carrot and other stuff either, and they seem only to really trust leafy greens. I know I shouldn't give much spinach so I've been leaving that out since I'm not sure on the correct amount.
 

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So the reason it's not possible to overdose on vitamin A from greens is that they don't actually contain it. They contain beta carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin A. The body converts beta carotene to vitamin A when it needs more vitamin A. If the body is already high on vitamin A, the beta carotene remains in that form (which is inactive) and gets excreted. Beta carotene excess is not a harmful condition. As far as I know, this works the same way in birds as it does in humans.

(Here's one source, but you can find the same info in many places if you have the right search terms.)

As far as other veggies, mine really like broccoli, peas, and sweet potato. Also, sometimes if they won't eat a veggie, it can be helpful to put it in a food processor and shred it up into smaller pieces. That may be more recognizable to them as food.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ah i wasn't aware their bodies only converted the beta carotene if needed, I thought it was all converted regardless. Thank you for the clarification.
 

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No problem. :) On a related note, that's also why it's better to supplement a vitamin A deficient bird with beta carotene rather than synthetic vitamins. You can give a lot of it without risking toxicity.
 

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That's good to know because my guys love carrots! :D
 
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