FEEDING EGGS TO PARROTS
by Sally Blanchard
Eggs are a great source of protein, vitamin D, and some other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D is that essential vitamin that is needed to make calcium function in the body. It is not in a lot of foods we feed out parrots, so eggs can be important to their diet. A lot of people think that feeding eggs your parrots is bad because of several reasons including iron, cholesterol, and salmonella. Actually moderate consumption of eggs is healthy for parrots. In fact, in the wild, many parrots will eat the raw eggs of other birds if they get a chance. The eggs you buy should be very fresh and well-cooked and fed soon after cooking. Salmonella can occur in eggs but it is rare and there are often alerts and recalls. However, hard-boiling eggs can kill salmonella if the inside is cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees. That is also true if eggs are well-cooked in other ways to that temperature.
There have been many changes in research as far as cholesterol in eggs. Basically, it shows that eggs aren't quite as bad as was previously thought. Occasional eggs won't cause problems but even if your parrots love them, they shouldn't be a frequent part of your parrot's diet. If they also ate a lot of high cholesterol meats, that would be a bigger problem.
I buy fresh, cage-free organic eggs and usually fix them one way or another right after I get them and serve them as soon as what I fixed once the food cools. I usually have given my parrots eggs in one form or another about every 2 weeks. I usually give them a quarter of a very hard-boiled egg so they get mostly the white of the egg. I make omelets with goodies inside once a month or a little more often or put a well-cooked egg in my glop. I also will mix an egg into my cooking grain mix until the egg is well-cooked.
There is some interesting information about iron absorption which changes things a bit because it is the absorption of iron that matters in regards to Iron storage disease. Eggs contain phosphoprotein, a compound with iron-binding capacity that can impair iron absorption. Some studies have shown that one hardboiled egg can reduce the absorption of iron in a meal by as much as 28%.
You can improve your body's absorption by eating foods containing vitamin C, vitamin A, meat, fish and poultry during your meals. Basically, this means that you don't want to feed citrus at about the same time as eggs or iron-rich greens.
On the other hand, foods containing phytates (cereals and grains), calcium (milk and dairy) and polyphenols (tea and coffee) can hinder iron absorption.
So one of the major beliefs is that a meal with eggs or high iron foods should not be fed with citrus or it will increase iron absorption BUT I started putting yogurt in my parrot foods with egg like omelets and glop with greens to hinder iron absorption. In trying to learn about nutrition, it can be difficult to understand it all because the nutrition of so many foods is influenced during absorption by what else the person, animal or parrot has eaten. So you can get away with feeding eggs a little more often if they are paired with plain yogurt, white low-fat, low-salt cheese, or grains or some brewed green tea mixed in. But you don't want to give them citrus with their eggs.