Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has antibacterial and antioxidant properties. There are health benefits when using apple cider vinegar for caged birds. However, ACV’s often overlooked as a parrot-friendly substance.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C, E, B1, B2, and B6. ACV can treat fatty liver disease, renal failure, alleviate joint pain, yeast infections, and mite infestations. Never give your cat too much ACV or offer it undiluted as it can cause oral and digestive burns, calcium deficiencies, and diarrhea.
Apple cider comes from the juice of the apple. It’s exposed to the air for a few weeks, where it ferments to alcohol. This creates hard cider, which is fermented again to make vinegar. The result is safe for parrots when diluted with water.
Can Parrots Drink Apple Cider Vinegar?
While some owners don’t consider ACV suitable for parrots, it can make a good addition to your parrot’s diet. That’s because it has numerous benefits and can ease uncomfortable medical conditions.
However, parrots can’t drink apple cider vinegar undiluted because it’s too acidic. In the worst cases, it can cause stomach ulcers and digestive issues. It can also irritate the skin if it’s not watered down sufficiently.
Parrots with a sensitive stomach or digestive system may find ACV too acidic for their bodies, even when it’s watered down. That’s why owners must monitor their parrots for any changes and signs of discomfort.
Do Parrots Like Apple Cider Vinegar?
Parrots that love the taste of apples and other acidic fruits enjoy the taste of apple cider vinegar, as long as it’s adequately diluted and not too strong.
Similarly, when it’s watered down, most parrots won’t notice ACV in their water and food. Bear in mind that not all parrots will enjoy the taste of apple cider vinegar. For some, it’s too bitter. If this is the case, you could dilute the vinegar further with more water to reduce its potency.
However, a parrot that doesn’t drink its water cancels out the positive effects of ACV. If your parrot is at risk of not drinking water because it doesn’t enjoy the taste, it’s unsuitable for your parrot.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for Parrots?
Apple cider vinegar is a good natural remedy for many health conditions because it contains essential nutrients and minerals that parrots need to stay healthy.
Similarly, apple cider vinegar is a natural antioxidant that can help prevent a range of diseases and conditions. To get the full benefits for your parrot, ensure that you get organic, unpasteurized, unfiltered ACV.
Apple cider vinegar can range from dark orange to light golden color. The right one has sediment on the bottom of the bottle, which is known as the “mother of vinegar.” Braggs is one of the most popular brands and is one most parrot owners choose. ACV has the following benefits:
Treats Fatty Liver Disease
Some parrot species are prone to fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis). This includes galahs, Amazons, Australian parakeets, and budgies. Fatty liver disease is a common disease that causes a build-up of fat around the liver.
The liver is essential for detoxification, digestion, and storing vitamins and minerals. When extra fat accumulates, it enters the bloodstream, preventing the liver from functioning properly.
According to Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, diluting ACV in a parrot’s drinking water can decrease the intestinal tract’s pH, causing a decrease in bacteria and reducing ammonia production.
When ACV is used alongside the laxative lactulose, the parrot’s protein tolerance increases, allowing the liver to regenerate while easing the symptoms of fatty liver disease.
Relieves Symptoms of Avian Renal Disease
Avian renal disease is another painful condition that affects the liver. When a parrot develops avian renal disease, it cannot remove waste from its body effectively, causing serious illness. Avian disease is commonly caused by inflammation or kidney damage. Symptoms of avian renal disease include:
- Blood in stool
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Muscle weakness
- Painful joints
- Puffy abdomen
- Weight loss
Natural apple cider vinegar is an alternative treatment for coccidiosis, which is caused by a parasitic organism that damages the parrot’s intestinal system. This can ease the symptoms of avian renal disease.
Alleviates Joint Pain
ACV is commonly used to treat joint pain and arthritis. That’s because it contains pectic, acetic acid, and malic acid that absorbs metabolic waste stored in the parrot’s connective tissues, flushing them out of the body.
It also eases joint pain and stiffness by dissolving acid crystals between the joints. Similarly, ACV can prevent the onset of arthritis by maintaining the body’s pH balance, preventing minerals from crystalizing between the joints.
Prevents Bacteria And Fungi
When ACV is added to your parrot’s fresh food, it can prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. While you shouldn’t leave food out for more than 4-6 hours, adding ACV is a great way to ensure your parrot’s food remains safe to eat.
Similarly, apple cider vinegar can destroy pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables. It does this by destroying microorganisms, fungi, and viruses, preventing them from reaching the parrot’s body. Because the vinegar is acidic, it creates an inhospitable environment for germs and fungus to grow.
As a result, ACV is a preventative and natural treatment for a range of parrot digestive disorders, flushing the system of harmful pathogens and germs. It also breaks down protein, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrient.
Source of Essential Vitamins And Minerals
Apple cider vinegar is rich in vitamins and minerals that can improve your parrot’s health. This includes:
- Vitamins C, E, B1, B2, and B6
All of these are needed for optimal body function. Nutritional deficiencies are one of the leading causes of health conditions, stress, and disease, so ACV is an easy way to get these nutrients into your parrot’s system.
Clears Up Yeast Infections
Parrots are prone to thrush and yeast infections. They’re associated with stress due to nutritional deficiencies, improper environmental conditions, fluctuating temperatures, and psychological stress. Symptoms of a yeast infection include:
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Swollen crop
- White or red mouth plaques
- General discomfort
- Bowel changes
- Excessive swallowing
ACV is an effective treatment, as it naturally encourages acidity in the digestive system. This, in turn, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria, which can treat yeast infections. To establish a normal pH balance within the gastrointestinal tract, add ACV to your parrot’s food and water.
Young chicks can have 1-2 drops of raw apple cider vinegar in their hand-feeding formula. Adult parrots can have between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ACV per 16 oz water.
Similarly, ACV can treat yeast infections on the skin. To treat them, soak a cotton bud in a solution of apple cider vinegar and water and apply it daily until the infection clears.
Resolves Feather Problems
ACV can be applied directly to damaged feather follicles to ease the pain. It can also be diluted with water in a spray bottle and misted over your parrot’s body. This technique discourages parrots from plucking their feathers, reducing the pain and discomfort of dry skin.
Similarly, apple cider vinegar can treat wounds. If your parrot has a cut or scratch on its foot, treat it with ACV to alleviate the pain and prevent bumblefoot from developing. However, if you choose to do this, wash the bottle each time it’s used to ensure the water’s fresh.
Kills Parrot Mites
You can use ACV to treat parrot mites. Parrots are affected by:
- Red mites
- Feather mites
- Scaly leg mites
- Air sac mites
While ACV isn’t effective against air sac mites that are already in the parrot’s respiratory tract, soaking the parrot in a solution of 1/2 apple cider vinegar and 1/2 water can drown mites that feed off your parrot’s skin.
Alternatively, a mist bath can be beneficial, especially if the parrot’s skin is dry and sore. After soaking the parrot in the vinegar solution, rinse it with clean water to remove the smell.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Bad For Parrots?
ACV is suitable for parrots when given to them appropriately. As mentioned, it’s not poisonous or bad for parrots, but too much can cause certain problems.
Similarly, parrots with sensitive digestive systems may have trouble consuming apple cider vinegar. As a result, you’ll need to check for any side effects that indicate your parrot’s feeling unwell.
Most problems with ACV arise when parrots are given too much ACV. For that reason, when feeding apple cider vinegar to your parrot, check for the following:
While apple cider vinegar is mostly good for parrots, too much isn’t recommended. When parrots drink too much ACV, it can destroy the gut’s beneficial bacteria.
It can also absorb calcium, removing it from the parrot’s body. In the long-term, this causes a calcium deficiency, which is responsible for the following:
- Soft eggshells
- Feather plucking
- Increased risk of heart disorders
- High cholesterol
- Muscular pain and contractions
- Lack of balance and coordination
ACV causes unpleasant side effects when parrots are given too much or have a sensitive digestive system. This includes diarrhea because there are sugars that stimulate the esophageal peristalsis, making it contract in irregular waves. As a result, food moves through the digestive tract too quickly, increasing the feces’ water content.
Diarrhea caused by apple cider vinegar can reduce a parrot’s potassium levels, causing low blood pressure and muscle weakness. The knock-on effects of low potassium include stress, destructive behaviors, and feather plucking.
Apple cider vinegar enhances feelings of fullness and decreases the appetite. As a result, parrots on a long-term apple cider vinegar diet could lose weight. Again, this is only really a problem when parrots are given too much. A few drops are unlikely to cause significant weight loss problems.
If you notice your parrot getting skinnier, reduce its ACV intake and encourage it to eat its everyday food without it. After a few weeks, your parrot should gain healthy mass and look more filled out.
Most apple cider vinegar is 5% acidic. When undiluted or not appropriately watered down, this acidity is harmful. If a parrot swallows undiluted ACV, it’ll burn its mouth, tongue, and digestive tract. Acidic foods also cause:
- Blood in poop and urine
- Cold or pale feet
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid weight loss
- Stomach ulcers
- Vomiting blood
Acid burns are serious and can cause irreversible damage. That’s why you must always accurately measure the apple cider vinegar you feed your parrot to prevent an accidental overdose.
What’s A Safe ACV Dosage for Parrots?
When feeding your parrot ACV, measure it to prevent an overdose. While an overdose is unlikely to kill your parrot, it can make your parrot feel unwell.
For young parrots, add a ratio of 1/4 tsp per 4 oz of water to their hand-feeding formula. This can prevent yeast, fungus, and bacteria from growing. Start increasing the amount you feed your parrot as per the guidelines below.
Budgies and other small parrots can have the following doses of apple cider vinegar:
- Health maintenance: 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water for three days every month.
- Digestion problems: 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water for five days.
- Respiratory issues: 3/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water for seven days.
For medium to large-sized parrots, including cockatiels and lovebirds:
- Health maintenance: 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water for three days every month.
- Digestion problems: 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water for five days.
- Respiratory issues: 1 ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water for seven days.
When using the vinegar, put it in a stainless steel dish. Avoid metal food or water dishes, as they will tarnish over time.
Is The Smell of Vinegar Harmful To Parrots?
The odor of ACV isn’t toxic to parrots because it’s natural. Similarly, it doesn’t contain ammonia, which is what makes most fumes harmful for parrots to breathe.
ACV has a pungent smell when it’s undiluted. This means that not all parrots will enjoy being close to the scent and will do everything they can to get away from it. Unfortunately, being in a small cage, they can’t escape.
However, while parrots can locate food through their olfactory glands, they don’t have the best sense of smell. In most cases, diluted ACV shouldn’t affect them too much, if at all, especially when only small vinegar traces are used in their water and on their food.
One thing to watch out for is heated apple cider vinegar. Heated vinegar fumes and parrots don’t mix well because they get into your parrot’s respiratory tract, causing a burning sensation and irritation.
Can Breeding Birds Have ACV?
Apple cider vinegar is a good way to provide breeding parrots with some of the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals they need to stay healthy during the reproduction stages.
Similarly, diluted ACV ensures that eggshells are strong and healthy, reducing the chances of hatching mortality. It’s also a way of ensuring that breeding parrots get enough calcium in their diet. Breeding parrots drink more water than other parrots, so add 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon to your parrot’s water.
Can You Use ACV To Clean A Parrot Cage?
Many owners use apple cider vinegar for cleaning cages. That’s because it contains acetic acid, which is a natural disinfectant. According to SF Gate, you can use ACV to disinfect all things around the house. It also removes dirt, mineral deposits, and bacteria from surfaces. Not only that, but it’s non-toxic and biodegradable.
To clean your parrot’s cage, create a solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Then, using a clean cloth, wipe around every inch of the cage and all removable parts inside. Leave it to sit for a few minutes to kill all germs, then wipe it off with fresh, warm water.
For hardened feces or ground-on dirt, soak a cotton pad in vinegar and place it on the soiled parts of the cage for a few minutes. This will soften all hard stains, making them easier to wipe off.
Apple cider vinegar has various health benefits, but it must be watered down due to its acidity. Not all parrots like the taste or smell, so you’ll have to see how your parrot responds to it.