Iodine Deficiency in Parrots and Pet Birds

Iodine Deficiency in Parrots and Pet Birds

Kelp, a kind of algae “seaweed” is common in Asian diets. But, can it be good for your bird?

This fast growing algae is harvested from “kelp forests” within shallow bodies of saltwater.  Kelp is considered a “super-food” because it packs massive amounts of nutrients in a small package!  Just a small pinch offers enormous benefits to a parrot diet.

What Does an Iodine Deficiency (Goiter) in Birds Look Like?

scraggly feathers of iodine deficient bird

  • Fragile feathers that break with normal preening resulting in bald spots.
  • Curly feathers
  • Feather discoloration
  • Your bird may appear lethargic and if it is a singer, it may not sing!

Benefits of Kelp:

  • Kelp contains Iodine, a crucial nutrient for healthy thyroid functioning. Iodine has been shown to be critical for healthy feather production, normal molting, breathing and fertility.
  • Kelp is packed with vitamins, especially B vitamins, which are critical for cellular metabolism and vitamins C and E, which are both heavy-duty antioxidants and boost blood vessel health.
  • Kelp contains minerals, including calcium, boron and magnesium that are necessary for healthy bones and normal muscle function.
  • Kelp contains anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-tumor properties.
  • A small amount of kelp has powerful immunostimulant properties.

Avikelp Kelp Granules: A daily suggested of granulated kelp is 1/10 to ¼ teaspoon per day, depending on the size of the bird.  That is a very small amount! 

We fed our feather compromised and balding parrotlet a half-pinch of kelp daily for about 6 weeks and then we weaned down to 3-4 days per week. We simply sprinkled it on her cooked, moist food in the morning.  Her favorite is Volkman Birdeez Buffet 15 Minute Soak & Servewith added fresh fruits & veggies, topped off with a sprinkle of AviKelp.

  • Sprinkle a small amount on your birds morning cooked food mix.  AviKelp includes a 1/8 teaspoon scoop so use this as a guide.
  • Cooking with AviKelp. Try adding 1/8 teaspoon of kelp to mash or birdie bread, that you can feel over he course of a few days. You only need to feed a very small amount of kelp to see results. A suggested amount of powdered kelp is: 1/10 of 1/4 teasp. per day for a medium sized parrot.  This would be a half pinch.
  • Add granulated AviKelp to your birds' pellets

Parrotlet with Iodine Deficiency



While Kelp can help to stimulate a sluggish thyroid, it has been found that too much kelp, or if given daily for a long period of time, can actually inhibit thyroid activity, which could possibly lead to plucking.  Please carefully follow package instructions

Make sure to use preservative, additive free Kelp like  AviKelp.  

We'd love to hear your comments about how you've improved your birds nutritional intake or it's feathering.

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  • Diane Burroughs