It seems as though panic has raised its persistent head again among those committed to feeding their birds a healthy, nutritiously sound diet. While I commend people for their concern, their research and their commitment, there’s only so much I can handle before I want to just crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after me.

I’ve been kicking around for a while, meaning I remember the day Kennedy was shot. Bear in mind, I was really, really  young, but that was kind of a big deal day, so yes, I remember bits and pieces of it.

Nevertheless…. through that time, the world, especially the United States has gone through their fair share of health scares, nutritional rumors as well as really stupid theories. Let’s review shall we?


Anyone remember the deal with alar in apple juice? Meryl Streep got all hot under the collar on that one and turns out she was right, but not until after the hoopla died down and things were quietly fixed.

Then when I was about 9, my family got their first color TV and my Mom was all, “You have to sit at least 6 feet away from the screen or you’ll die of cancer.” Or I’d go blind or some such stuff.

Cyclamates were a huge deal when I was kid and around that same time, using salt became evil.


When I was 14 and got a pretty interesting looking complexion, (Think “Zits”) My Mom was all, “Pizza and chocolate! That’s what causes acne! You wouldn’t have a problem if you didn’t eat all that pizza!” My tactfully asking if it was okay to eat spaghetti which essentially contains the same ingredients fell on deaf ears.

My Dad told me a good one: When he was in his teens, he had acne as well. Dad had a rather oily complexion which is why when he was about 80 he looked around 60. But of course, possessing a complexion like that when you’re a teenager tends to flare up when you’re younger and his Doctor told him to eat cakes of yeast when he was in his teens.


Of course that was around 1930, so you must consider that things were relatively “stone knives and bear skins” compared to what we know today. Apparently he did what he was told and he probably could have started his own bakery. But it didn’t do a thing about his complexion.

Move on up to more recent issues. I remember a scientist on TV stating that the next “Superbug” was Avian flu. Before that was swine flu. Then there was SARS. MRSA is in there as well.  And those Africanized Killer Bees were going to jump the fence at the Mexican border and kill us all.

And of course we had the “Butter is Bad-No, Butter is good!” argument that went on for a couple of years. Barbecued foods cause cancer. Eggs are bad for you because they are loaded with cholesterol.


This has gone on for decades and I’m only posting the major ones I can remember. Of course the avian community has their little tizzies:


Yes, when I first got into birds, parsley was a killer. Now? Well, I guess not. Tomato wars. The garlic controversy. It has gone on for years and continues.

And now the latest?


Rice. Yes, rice.

When writing this up I asked my friend Nancy if she remembered the alar and apple thing. Nancy  responded with, “If you knew what half the shit that was in your food, you’d never eat again.” Spoken like a true Flight Attendant.

Back to the rice thing. Apparently rice contains arsenic. (Insert screaming sounds.) But then, so do apple seeds. And while it doesn’t exactly make me want to jump up and down with glee, I am waiting for the jury to return with the verdict. I’ve gotten too worked up over other issues before to let this one faze me. Why? Well for one thing, rice is not a really big percentage of my birds diet.


Want to try it? Click on the rice to get the link.

And the rice I do feed is wild rice which is actually an aquatic grass. I don’t know if that makes a difference, but a lot of wild rice comes Minnesota and only the wild rice in the top third of the state is cultivated. Does this matter? I don’t know, but it seems to me that it does. Is this going to effect the way I feed my birds?  Probably not because I don’t feed tons of rice to my birds in the first place.


So what am I, as a responsible companion parrot person going to do about it?

I’ll read up about it and see what else I can find out and make decisions based on what I find. In the meantime, I’m probably not going to get all that worked up about it. I’m too busy waiting for those Killer Bees.

Yes, Belushi’s Killer Bee Sketch was based on this story: Killer Bees