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We were asked today whether citrus fruits (like oranges) are healthy for birds.  Here's the answer - together with a novel use for the fruit peels:

Citrus is alright only in very small quantities and should not be considered a staple food. Like most fruits, citruses contain more sugar than birds should get on a regular basis. In addition, the highly acidic nature of citrus fruits can cause increased absorption of iron in the digestive system, which should be avoided in some birds.

Some alternatives ways to share fruit with your feathered friends:

-- Squeeze organic juice oranges for human consumption, then hang the empty shells on a skewer.  There's a lot of nutrition in the peel, and they'll get less sugar than from a whole orange.  You can also add greens and other veggies to the skewer and shove them inside the orange "cup".  Your birds will have to chew through the nutritious stuff to get to the yummy orange.

-- Squeeze the oranges and then dry the peels in a low oven.  You can dry them as open cups or tie them in the middle.  They make great foraging containers.

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For more interesting information about bird care, see our reading room .

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