Bacterial Contamination of Bird Food


Many veterinarians agree that Gram-negative bacteria (coliform type) can contaminate seeds, seed dishes, unwashed fruits and vegetables, and even tap water. Consequently, it may be advisable to bake or microwave seeds and seed mixes (spread seeds to a depth of 1 inch in a Pyrex dish and bake at 350 F for minutes, stirring once, or microwave on high set for 5 minutes). This seems to eliminate these potentially harmful bacteria without compromising ‘nutritional value of the seed.

The skins of all fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before being offered to your bird. One study clearly demonstrated that colony counts of potentially harmful bacteria in tap water samples could be greatly reduced by allowing the tap to run for at least 3 minutes before the water cup was filled. Offering bottled water is probably an acceptable alternative, though bottled water dispensers occasionally harbor disease carrying bacteria. The spigot should be opened a few seconds and water al-lowed to run before filling the water container.

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