Milk thistle and Aloe Vera


charlie red lored amazon
Charlie was diagnosed with Liver disease when he was rescued

“Milk Thistle, sylibum marianum, is a wonderful herb for the liver. It has been shown to protect the liver and heal liver cells. Its active ingredients are found in the fruiting bodies, the seeds, and the entire plant. The content of silymarin is highest in the fruiting body! Although there are fewer liver-healing properties in the seeds, birds will readily eat these tasty millet-size seeds, making milk thistle seeds an excellent addition to the diet for any bird with liver problems.

There is a nutraceutical extract of milk thistle called silymarin, which is a flavonoid having an affinity for the liver. It is used quite commonly in Japan and Europe for acute liver toxicosis. It’s primarily used to regenerate hepatocytes, where it improves the flow of bile and fat to and from the liver. If used in too high a dose, however, it can cause loose stools due to the increase in bile it produces. Milk thistle, or silymarin, is one of the best herbs for liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, acute toxicosis of the liver, and fatty liver disease. It is also beneficial for bile duct inflammation and is a potent anti-oxidant. Glutathione is one of the most important hepatic detoxification pathways of the body, and milk thistle increases glutathione content in the liver by up to 35 percent.” David McCluggage, DVM

We use at the rescue, Milk Thistle seeds for maintaining liver support but when we have a bird with a liver health issue, we use ‘Silamarie’ by Bio-Health. This is Milk Thistle fruits (Silymarin) with no other added ingredients. These are 450mg (powder) per capsule.

Usage: Approximately ¼ of the MT powder, then divide in half (1/8th ) to give each dose per 1 soft hand-feed x twice daily. If feces become too loose, reduce the dose. Warning: it is possible the stools will turn very dark green to black. Don’t be alarmed, as the MT is doing its job, thus cleansing the liver and bile ducts of accumulated rubbish and toxins from the liver. 

Further information on Milk Thistle:


Another additional treatment, alongside Milk Thistle nutraceutical extract for liver (and kidney) disease, is 'Aloe Vera Herbal Detox Formula' by Lily of the Desert

Usage: Aloe detox does not eradicate bacteria like antibiotics so you are not going to need a probiotic to follow the treatment. Dosing: start the bird out on 1 half capful to 1 pint of water. Once the bird is used to the taste, increase it to 1 capful to 1 pint of water. !f the bird is sick or you think he/she may have ingested something toxic, give the formula at 50/50, or stronger, as long as they drink it. Store the opened Aloe Detox bottle in the fridge, as it then has a long shelf-life.

We have successfully used Aloe Vera Herbal Detox Formula alongside the Milk Thistle nutraceutical extract with two parrots here at the rescue. One of the parrots had a severe kidney infection that later compromised the health of his liver. Both birds made a full recovery

Additional supporting links: 

Compiled by Julie Hamilton, New Life Parrot Rescue & Helpline Service (UK) Charity Reg No: 1056409


Author Monika Sangar 

PDS is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (tax id #46-2470926)

Are parrot pellets healthy? [ parrot health]

Tops Pellets

Before we ask the question if pellets are healthy, we need to understand the history of pellets. 

In the 1980s, the pellets food was first developed for parrots and birds. Pellets were created because some people were only feeding their captive bird seeds which though have nutrients, lack all essential nutrients. Feeding just seeds causes the parrots to overfeed on seeds leading to health issues, like obesity and 

Pellets were encouraged by vets, only to fight against obesity and other health issues caused by an "only seed diet." 

So what are pellets?

Pellets are processed seeds with added vitamins, to simplify. 

So are pellets a source of balanced nutrition food? 

No. And here's why. First of all, every parrot and bird species are different and have different requirements. None of the pellets out there today are produced with your specific parrot species in mind.  It takes years of study and research to determine what individual species require. If your parrot has an unusual dietary need, it could become very dangerous to put your parrot on a general food.

Pellets are made with heat treatments. Heat does destroy some enzymes, vitamins, and nutritional value of the raw ingredients. (seongeung lee, et all). 

Another reason you are not getting all the rich nutrients is because grinding up raw ingredients deteriorates the food faster. Eg. nutmeg. It is always recommended to buy the whole nutmeg and grind it yourself at home when needed. 

How should pellets be used?

I consider pellets to be just a supplement and shouldn't be the parrot's entire diet. We only use TOPs pellets at the sanctuary and I simply add them to their seed mix. Remember pellets are processed food, not real food, and shouldn't replace fresh food. 

Last thoughts

 Just think from a parrot's perspective: how boring to just eat pellets. 


Author Monika Sangar 

PDS is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (tax id #46-2470926)


Seongeung Lee, Youngmin Choi, Heon Sang Jeong, Junsoo Lee, and Jeehye Sung. Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2018 Apr; 27(2): 333–342.

Apple seed: The truth to the core

Apple seeds harmful?

If you are active on social media you will come across people saying no to apple seeds because of cyanide poisoning. Though it is true that apple seeds have cyanide, is it enough to kill or cause harm? 

My first question to all my friends was: have you ever heard of a bird getting sick from apple seeds cyanide poisoning? No, one, not a single friend said they know of a bird killed from apple seeds.

I have an apple tree in my garden and birds are always eating the apples and the seeds. Besides the huge mess they leave behind, what can we learn from nature?

Whenever in doubt, Science comes to the rescue. A 100 gram bird will need to properly eat and chew over 50 seeds ( in one sitting) to make enough cyanide for it to become a problem. Also since cyanide doesn’t accumulate and gets broken down by the kidney and liver, the toxicity will be low. As many of you know, the kidneys and liver function as a detoxing organ.

Why I am saying this is because like you, I also freaked out when I thought one of my birds chewed an apple seed. With a little research found out tons of reliable information.
Apple seeds don't have enough cyanide to cause harm. So if you bird eats some, rest assure, he will not be harmed.

Please stay safe and birdie happy!
By Monika Sangar


How to find cheap parrot toys

wood bird toys
wood bird toys

Cheaper bird toys

Parrots are highly intelligent and therefore need mental and physical stimulation and agility. Bird toys encourage exercise, decrease boredom, and keep them happy and healthy. 

I should start this post by stating: Skilled, handcrafted isn't cheap and you get what you paid for. Cheap bird toys are just that, cheaply made, dangerous, and causing more issues than one needs. Cheap toys are smaller, very few wood blocks, dangerous hanging clips, and the wrong material is used. 

Many times, I will receive donations of toys and I didn't give them to the birds because they will cause more harm than good. I took them part and remade them. However, there are still a few things you can do to get cheaper toy options.  

We should be aiming for good quality bird toys, fairly priced. A good bird toy maker will use proper materials to make sure the toy lasts as long as possible. They will use materials that are non-toxic, and safe yet still deliver creative bird toys for your parrot.

As wood prices increase, wood parrot toys have and will also increase in price.  There are other options and creative ways to help our feathery friends stay happy and enriched. 

Shreddable parrot toys
shreddable bird toys

Cheaper ideas for bird toys:

 1) Cardboard might be every bird owner's best friend right now. As wood prices increase, making toys out of cardboard is easy and cheap. There are cardboard boxes, cardboard blocks, and cardboard sheets. Check out all the fun, cardboard toys here: Pds parrot toys

2) Infant/ baby toys: Infant toys are not just for a human baby; your 20-year-old parrot might love them too. There are so many varieties of toys from wood to sound-making. Go to your nearest thrift store or look at marketplaces online for used old baby toys.  (baby wood toys are safe since they use safe material for baby stuff) 

3) The Dollar Store: My favorite place where I find all types of goodies.  Wooden spoons to paper cups and rubber ducks. The dollar store or bargain stores are the best places to find all types of treasures for DIY bird toys. Remember to check out their baby section. 

4) Lumber Yard: Even with high prices, you can find a clearance section at the lumber yard where they are selling off untreated pine wood for 70 percent off.  You might not be able to use the full length and throw away part of the damaged wood, but it's much cheaper than the full-priced stuff. 

5) DIY bird toys: If quarantine had taught us anything, it's how to youtube and google new skills. There are many DIY parrot toy videos.  Many places are selling wood blocks with drilled holes. All one needs to do is string them with sisal or chain. Done.  

parrot wood blocks
parrot wood blocks

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Author Monika Sangar 

PDS is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (tax id #46-2470926)

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