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The Sinister Side of Sunflower Seeds Is your bird noisy? Squawking incessantly? Is he nippy? Does he generally have a nasty attitude? All of these symptoms have a common link – sunflower seeds. Most commercially available bird seed mixtures and many pelletized diets are loaded with sunflower seeds. They make a very inexpensive filler and seem innocuous enough but the oils contained in the seeds react differently with a bird’s natural chemistry. It produces an effect similar to what an overload of caffeine does to us. This pent-up angry, anxious energy manifests itself in any number of unpleasant ways. The same oils also thin the bird’s blood, increasing the danger if the bird hurts itself or breaks a blood feather.“But my bird loves sunflower seeds!” you say. Many do but, then again, many of us love our sweets even though we know they’re unhealthy. Some birds actually become addicted to these seeds, refusing to eat anything else. In either case, it’s best for you to wean the bird off the sunflower seeds. Be an advocate for your bird’s well-being. If he absolutely refuses to eat other seeds at first, take the time to wean him off over the next three to four weeks. Simply add in a wide variety of new foods (eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts, etc.) as you slowly convert him to a sunflower-free seed or pellet mixture. Too many people get so disheartened by their bird’s bad behavior that they give up and find a new home for their once loved pet. If you’re considering this yourself, first give your pet a fighting chance. Remove these sinister seeds from his food and wait two months. You’ll be amazed to find your sweet, snuggly bird is back!For more bird health tips visit Animal Atlanta pet shop located at 6449 Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock, Georgia 30189 or go to www.AnimalAtlanta.com. Animal Atlanta (770-591-0007) has more than a dozen seed and pellet diets that are packed with vitamins and fruits yet free of sunflower seeds.
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