Are cherries good for birds? Let’s find out!

Cherries are what you would call a highly seasonal fruit. They show up and then, in a flash, they disappear. When they are in season though, please take advantage of this delicious and healthy fruit for you as well as your birds. Tart cherries provide many health benefits for all kinds of reasons.

Cherries also have that vibrant, red color we all love. There is a reason to like it: That bright red coloring occurs naturally due to phytochemicals. The tart or sour varieties contain a load of beneficial ingredients that are extremely helpful to people and animals, too. They are loaded with antioxidants such as anthocyanins and quercetin, which are essential for reducing the risk of premature aging, sweeping up free radicals to assist in preventing oxidative damage to cells and helps detoxify systems in the body. The content of antioxidants contained in cherries can reduce the risk of cancer, and they may also help reduce stress.

The anthocyanins in cherries have been shown to protect the blood vessels as well as brain cells. It has also shown a tendency to prevent atherosclerosis and diseases such as dementia and cancer. A study has shown that anthocyanins assist the differentiation of cells and prevent healthy cells from turning cancerous.

There has been a bit of attention paid lately to drinking cherry juice to increase the speed of recovery from muscle aches and pains from and heavy activity working out. Be warned! While pure cherry juice and cherry concentrates are available in specialty health stores, it is exceptionally tart. Not unlike pure cranberry juice, it is a little harsh to take in its pure form, so mixing it with other foods is recommended. Making a fruit smoothie would be an excellent way to serve this potent juice to your flock.

Fresh cherries are rich in fiber, an essential substance for ensuring proper digestion. That fibrous material keeps things moving smoothly along in the system making absorption easier. High in Vitamins A and C, cherries are incredibly helpful in increasing a body’s defenses as well as improving overall health. High in potassium, consuming cherries help with regulating the heart rate, making the heart healthy and working to maximum efficiency.

A study conducted at the University of Michigan Health System using animals to determine the effects of sour cherry juice on fat and glucose regulation. They discovered that sour cherries provide health benefits similar to cardiovascular drugs prescribed by health professionals as well as reducing the risk of stroke.

There are tons of health benefits to cherries, but there is something else that is amazing about them. They taste terrific! Birds seem to love them, and it’s easy to remove the pit, and they provide a fresh and tasty addition to Chop or just a simple bowl of vegetables.

Be cautious about the cherry pits. These stones, like those of other stone fruits such as apricots, peaches, and plums contain cyanide. These could harm or even kill you or any other living being if you or your birds consume enough of them.

If you are making birds bread, cherries would be a nice addition to provide these health benefits we’ve described. Add to smoothies or to a bird salad, and you have a healthy meal that you can quickly put together. And if you would like to add a bit of a challenge to your birds, freeze pitted cherries in ice cube trays with a sugar-free fruit juice or plain water to use later as a foraging and play experience.

An excellent way of making sure you can feed cherries to your birds year-round is to purchase a food dehydrator. Buy cherries when they are in season and dry them. Vacuum seal the pitted and dried cherries to ensure they are stored and appropriately preserved for long-term storage. Cherries tend to keep well when dried so taking advantage of this process and invest in a dehydrator for this fruit as well as other seasonal fruits and vegetables that provide health benefits to you, your family and your flock. Be sure to get plenty while they are in season. They are not only good for the body, but they are also utterly delicious!

Patricia Sund is the creative director of Bird Talk Magazine, and has written for a variety of avicultural-themed publications, including Bird Talk, the Bird Talk Annual, Birds USA, Phoenix Landing’s Phoenix Beakin’ and Watchbird magazine for the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA). She lives in Florida with her three African grey parrots, Parker, Pepper and Nyla, stars of the popular column, “Memo to Parker & Pepper.”

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