Many wild varieties of mushrooms are poisonous. Even edible mushrooms may contain agaritine, hydrazine, and formaldehyde. While humans can consume these toxic compounds in small quantities, they’re deadly for parrots.
Parrots can eat button, cremini, portobello, and porcini mushrooms. These types of mushrooms must be boiled to remove any harmful toxins before consumption. NEVER feed a parrot raw or wild mushrooms.
These mushrooms have low amounts of agaritine and hydrazine and don’t contain formaldehyde. Once thoroughly cooked, mushrooms are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin B, copper, and potassium.
Can You Feed Parrots Mushrooms?
If store-bought and cooked properly, you can feed mushrooms to parrots. They’re:
- Cultivated in a healthy environment
- Stored in optimal conditions
These mushrooms have an extra layer of safety that you won’t benefit from with wild mushrooms. Even still, you must still clean and boil mushrooms before feeding them to your parrot.
Are Mushrooms Bad For Parrots?
Mushrooms can be dangerous to parrots when:
- Harvested incorrectly
- Eaten raw
- Picked in the wild
Mushrooms are classed as fungi, which can introduce certain health concerns.
Mushrooms Absorb Toxins
Unlike plants, fungi don’t photosynthesize. Instead, they break down other organisms, which they turn into their own food, giving them a porous texture.
This can be dangerous to parrots that eat a mushroom that’s absorbed a toxic ingredient. Since mushrooms absorb nutrients around their environments, this may be:
- Toxins from plants
- Harmful chemicals from the soil or air
A mushroom could become toxic if grown in the wrong environment. As such, those not farmed in certified, monitored conditions may be suspect.
Poisonous Mushrooms Are Hard To Identify
Mushrooms are notoriously difficult to identify and tell apart. Even experts in mycology, the study of fungi, may need to perform chemical tests to separate one family of mushrooms from another.
Parrots Are Vulnerable To Mushroom Toxins
Edible mushrooms still contain toxins that can adversely affect a parrot’s health. The most common toxins are:
These can be dangerous to humans in large doses. In smaller amounts, though, the human body can process them without any adverse effects. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for parrots.
An example is shiitake mushrooms, which contain a naturally occurring form of formaldehyde. This is safe for humans but harmful for parrots. Their smaller physique and delicate immune system will be adversely affected by these toxins. A parrot that’s poisoned by mushrooms may experience:
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Lethargy and disorientation
- Digestive issues
Be selective about the mushrooms you give to a parrot. As long as you choose the right kinds and cook them properly, your parrot can enjoy them as an occasional treat.
What Mushrooms Are Safe For Parrots?
Some mushrooms should never be eaten by parrots. Here’s a list of parrot-safe mushrooms:
Button mushrooms, also known as Agaricus bisporus, come from the edible family of basidiomycete mushrooms. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals and have a neutral taste.
Button mushrooms contain hydrazines, which are carcinogenic chemicals but are found in small amounts. Once cooked, the amount of hydrazine diminishes further.
Cremini mushrooms are the same as the button mushroom but aged. The Agaricus bisporus mushroom goes through life stages where it matures, changes color, and takes on slightly different flavors. Because of this, you may find your parrot likes the chewy texture and browned color of Cremini mushrooms more than buttons.
Compared to button mushrooms, creminis may be harder to find, and they may be more expensive. Nonetheless, they’re just as safe to feed to your parrot. The hydrazines contained within don’t intensify with age.
Portobello mushrooms are even older cremini mushrooms. Because of their age, these mushrooms grow quite large – sometimes as big as your palm.
These mushrooms have a denser flavor and a firmer texture. Parrots that enjoy playing games with their food will enjoy ripping, pulling, and tugging at a portobello.
Due to its size and texture, the portobello mushroom is a common meat substitute. If your parrot wants beef but needs to cut down on its red meat, this mushroom is ideal.
Translating to ‘hog mushroom’ in Italian, porcini mushrooms have a hog-like appearance. They feature chunky stalks that are bright white, with a red-brown cap that’s sometimes dwarfed in size by the stalk. If your parrot likes strong flavors, then the porcini mushroom’s rich, robust taste is ideal.
Porcini mushrooms are mycorrhizal, so they survive by feeding off the underground roots of trees. Because of this, they’re susceptible to taking on the compounds found in those trees. They’re healthy to offer your parrot. They’re cultivated in strict environments and don’t contain toxins in dangerous amounts.
Are Mushrooms Healthy For Parrots?
Mushrooms are rich in the following nutrients:
|Antioxidants:||Fights against age-related diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory diseases|
|B Vitamins:||Promotes a healthy heart|
|Riboflavin:||Creates blood cells|
|Niacin:||Enhances digestive health|
|Pantothenic acid:||Creates hormones and keeps boosts nerve health|
|Copper:||It creates red blood cells and is good for the bones and nerves|
|Potassium:||Ideal for heart, muscle, and nerve health. It also balances the effects of sodium|
Mushrooms are rich in an antioxidant called selenium. This antioxidant helps your parrot’s body fight against diseases related to aging, such as:
- Various types of cancer
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Inflammatory diseases
So, some cooked mushrooms each week enables your parrot to:
- Heal from minor wounds
- Recover from illness sooner
- Benefit from a stronger heart
- Have more energy
Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins. These promote a healthy heart and reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease. In particular, mushrooms contain:
- Aantothenic acid
The benefits include:
- Creating blood cells
- Improving digestion
- Creating hormones to regulate growth and mood
- Improved nerve health
The two most abundant minerals are:
Copper is essential for creating blood cells, which deliver oxygen to different areas of your parrot’s body. Aside from its role in the cardiovascular system, copper keeps the bones and nerves strong and resilient. That’s especially important for a parrot’s beak. A parrot uses its beak for everything from eating to grooming to playing.
Potassium is vital for the heart, muscles, and nerves. It assists with:
- Nutrient absorption
- Muscle strengthening
- Cell waste removal
Potassium balances out the effects of too much sodium in the body.
Can Parrots Eat Raw Mushrooms?
Avoid feeding your parrot raw mushrooms. While parrots may be able to eat them without harm, it’s risky. There’s a high chance that your parrot will consume:
- Bacteria picked up during transportation
- Toxic compounds in higher doses
You won’t know if this is the case until your parrot displays symptoms of agaritine poisoning. Studies have shown that agaritine has carcinogenic effects. For example, Food and Chemical Toxicology found that agaritine led to mutated cells in a study performed on mice. That toxin will be paired with hydrazine, which is also found in mushrooms.
These toxic compounds can be removed by cooking the mushrooms. The Japanese Journal of Public Health determined that cooking significantly reduces agaritine in the mushroom. This same study found that just boiling the mushrooms for 10 minutes reduced any natural toxins.
Can Parrots Eat Cooked Mushrooms?
Cooking is a safe way to give your parrots mushrooms. Here’s how to prepare mushrooms:
Clean The Mushrooms
Once you’ve bought the mushrooms from a grocery store, remove the packaging and wash them under the hot tap. This will clean them of any lingering bacteria, which may have been picked up during the packaging, shipping, or buying process. This will also remove any pesticides, if not organic produce.
Boiled Mushrooms For Parrots
The most effective way to get rid of the toxins in mushrooms is by boiling them:
- Place the mushrooms in a pot of water
- Let them reach a rolling boil
- Cook them for 10 minutes
You can also bake or sauté your mushrooms. However, be sure not to include any butter, salt (sodium), or cooking oil in this process. Keep in mind that baking or sautéing will remove fewer toxins than boiling.
Offer Mushrooms in Moderation
Mushrooms should not be your parrot’s main food as they don’t contain enough fiber, protein, or other nutrients. Likewise, in large amounts, mushrooms can begin to stack up toxins in your parrot’s body.
A cooked button, cremini, portobello, or porcini mushroom once or twice a week is safe. Don’t add any butter, oil, salt, cheese, or flavorings as these could lead to sickness or result in weight gain.