There is a lot of talk about bee pollen and its benefits in the parrot diet. I am one that believes we have to maximize every meal, especially if we have a picky eater on our hands. Bee pollen is as complete and natural a food supplement as there is…
What is bee pollen?
Flowers (and other plants) produce a powdery substance called pollen made of microscopic particles, which is a male seed necessary to fertilization. Bees travel from flower to flower collecting pollen particles and formulating and carrying to the hive the granules that we know as bee pollen.
A single teaspoon of bee pollen reflects the efforts of a month of full time work by a single honeybee. It is a favorite food and worth their trouble because bee pollen is one of the most powerful sources of nutrition there is – a true superfood.
According to Gudrun Maybaum, author of “What Happened to My Peanuts” a great book on nutrition with an holistic approach to the avian diet: “Bee pollen is a whole food supplement…that contains at least 130 substances of nutritional significance. The high quality of protein exceeds the amount in beef or chicken. Bee pollen is composed of about 50% carbohydrates, rich in fatty acids, almost all known minerals, amino acids, enzymes, trace elements, vitamins like B complex, A,C,D, E, beta carotene, an antibiotic potent against E. coli.
Feeding bee pollen prevents nutritional imbalance, deficiencies, accumulations of toxins in the body, and helps strengthen the immune system and prevent disease…it is the richest food in nature.”
Where can I find it?
Bee pollen is available in health food stores and online. But all bee pollen products are not equal. The quality of the bee pollen is determined in part by where it is harvested. As it will absorb pollutants in its environment, a product from an ecologically healthy location will yield healthful bee pollen.
For example, ecology minded New Zealand, one of the cleanest places on Earth, is a safe source for any natural product. By comparison, Bee pollen coming from highly industrialized China would be more likely to contain heavy metals and pesticides. You should be able to find a good bee pollen coming from a secluded area in your own neck of the woods.
Be wary of products that come from unidentifiable sources and comparatively inexpensive products. They, of course, will be of low quality and may do more harm than good.
Bee pollen can be bought processed as tablets or capsules. Their refinement makes then of lesser quality that the raw, granulated products. Do your homework to make sure that the product you choose has been stored properly prior to shipping, this affects its quality. Make wise choices.
How should I serve bee pollen to my bird?
When serving your bird’s morning meal, which should be its main meal consisting of fresh produce, sprinkle a single small pinch of granulated bee pollen over the food. As the food is wet, it will adhere to it which makes it unavoidable. When placed in dry foods, like seed or pellets, it tends to fall to the bottom of the dish before it can be eaten. It works perfectly with the Birdtricks Diet.
Since you are going so out of your way to provide great health to your bird, don’t forget about yourself – 1 teaspoon of bee pollen per day will work wonders in your own diet.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.