Aloe vera is a pretty succulent that is known for its medicinal uses as much as its pleasant appearance.
Aloe Vera is a popular houseplant that is also grown in gardens and landscaping beds. Many of the people who grow Aloe vera may use the aloe gel inside to soothe a burn or sting. Aloe is also processed and sold as sunburn relief and as an essential oil.
You may wonder, is Aloe safe for birds? Can you use it on a bird’s skin in the event of an injury? Can birds consume it? Is there a difference between pet birds and wild birds when it comes to using aloe vera?
Well, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions you may have about birds and Aloe vera.
Benefits of Aloe Vera for Humans
Let’s start by exploring the benefits of Aloe vera for humans.
According to WebMD, the beneficial uses of Aloe vera juice include:
- Supporting eye health, retinal function, and corneal function
- Relieving heartburn
- Treating constipation
- Improving IBS symptoms
Additionally, there are several benefits of using Aloe as a topical skin ointment. You can use Aloe gel from the plant directly on the skin or purchase a processed gel or cream.
This topical use can treat:
- Minor burns
- Skin abrasions
- Skin injured by radiation
- Herpes sores
- Anal fissures
Can Wild Birds Eat Aloe Vera?
Wild birds will rarely eat something that is unsafe for them to consume. Birds have an instinctual knowledge of what to eat and what to avoid thanks to generations of adapting to their environments.
So, if Aloe vera is unsafe for birds in the wild to eat, they won’t eat it.
“The edible cultivars of Aloe vera are especially susceptible to this. I have had problems with ducks and even chickens nibbling my aloes from time to time. Doves and other birds will also peck at leaves for unknown reasons. The original wild type Aloe vera are a lot less susceptible to being nibbled as they taste bitter and horrible.”
He relates that ducks are an especially common culprit in his own garden.
Should I Feed Aloe Vera to Wild Birds?
There is no value in feeding Aloe vera to wild birds.
While we often encourage our readers to provide the wild birds in their backyard with lots of variety, there is no point in giving them Aloe vera plants. In all likelihood, birds will ignore it or avoid it, and it will simply go bad.
If it turns out that your birds do like Aloe vera, however, feeding it to them may help them to develop bad habits of eating Aloe vera in gardens and planters.
Finally, there are concerns about the risks of consuming Aloe vera in large amounts. We’ll get to that further below.
Can Pet Birds Eat Aloe Vera?
Some pet bird owners swear by using Aloe vera as a dietary supplement for their parrots, parakeets, and other pet birds.
It is important to use caution when it comes to offering Aloe to your pet bird.
First, Aloe vera should not be given to birds in its whole form. There are testimonials online from bird owners whose pets have become sick from consuming Aloe vera. Specifically, there are reports of diarrhea in some birds who have consumed Aloe.
Second, if you want to offer Aloe vera to your birds to give them access to the many vitamins and minerals it contains, you should make an Aloe vera mist instead. Most pet bird owners only use this method as a form of first aid for their birds in the event of an illness, not as a regular supplement.
How to Make Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera, in small, diluted quantities, may help pet birds recover from digestive distress.
If you want to give this a try, my recommendation is that you do so after confirming with your bird’s vet that this is an appropriate strategy for your bird. Your veterinarian can tell you the correct amount to offer, based on your bird’s weight.
- Pick off a clean, pesticide-free Aloe vera leaf.
- You will need a 1:8 ratio of aloe gel to filtered water. If your aloe leaf is about 4 oz in weight, then you should use about 1 liter (33 oz) of water. You can take the skin off the leaf or leave it on (if you are making a wormer or laxative, it’s best to leave the skin on the leaf).
- Fill a jar with water, then place the leaf inside and put it in the fridge for 24 hours.
- When the leaf sinks to the bottom of the jar, it’s ready to be used.
- Dilute the mixture even more by adding the same amount of water a second time. (If you used 1 liter of water, add 1 more liter.)
You can use this mixture for 14 days. As often as needed, you can add more water to the jar to top it off. Always keep the mixture refrigerated or the enzymes will break down.
Using Aloe Vera Juice as a Mist
This mixture can also be used as a mist.
Simply pour the mixture into a small spray bottle and spray it directly onto their food or feathers. This is a useful method for treating external parasites.
Using Aloe Vera as a Gel
It is fine to apply the gel from an Aloe vera leaf directly to an external injury on your bird. However, talk with your veterinarian afterward to ensure that your bird is healing properly.
Which Birds Can Eat Aloe Vera?
Parrots, finches, chickens, and ducks seem to enjoy eating Aloe vera. To help pet birds avoid eating too much Aloe, it is better to use one of the methods above.
If wild birds, chickens, and ducks are getting into your Aloe plants, be aware of the following concerns:
- Are you using pesticides or insecticides on or near your Aloe vera that the birds are accessing? These can make birds sick.
- Are there any signs of diarrhea or digestive problems in your birds after they get into your Aloe vera plants? For example, if you have chickens who like to peck at your Aloe, be sure to watch what their waste looks like in the next few days. If you see that it is unusually watery, runny, or otherwise strange in appearance, that’s a sign to keep them out of your Aloe plants.
How to Keep Birds Out of Your Aloe Vera Plants
If wild birds or backyard poultry are eating your Aloe vera, you probably want to put a stop to it — even if it’s not actually harming them. After all, it could be harming your plants!
The most effective way to keep birds out of your Aloe vera plants is to bring them inside. Aloe vera does well in indoor settings, as long as it has access to plenty of natural light.
If you want total confidence that your Aloe plants will be safe from feathered plant predators, this is probably the very best way to do it.
You can also use a number of other strategies, including:
- Using bird netting to prevent their access to your plants
- Hang up balloons near your plants to deter birds from coming around
- Install a fake owl or hawk decoy nearby to frighten birds from the area where you grow your Aloe vera plants
- Purchase a motion-activated deterrent that sprays birds with water when they get too close to your plants
If you have backyard poultry, you may need to reduce their ability to free-range if you want to keep them out of your garden.
Is Aloe Vera Toxic to Birds?
Aloe vera is not considered to be toxic to pets. In fact, the Spruce recommends it as one of the safer plants you can keep in your home if you have pet birds.
However, Aloe consumed in large quantities may cause digestive problems for birds, so it is important to avoid giving them access to large amounts of the plant.
In addition, Aloe might block the ability of a bird’s digestive system to effectively absorb the nutrients in its food- something doesn’t have to be toxic to have a negative impact on a bird.
Is Aloe Vera an Essential Part of a Bird’s Diet?
Aloe may have some nutritional benefits, but there is nothing in Aloe that a bird can’t get from a different food or supplement.
Alternatives to Aloe Vera
Some bird owners may want to use Aloe vera alternatives to treat cuts or injuries. Under the supervision of your veterinarian, you could use Calendula ointment or antibiotic ointment.
Essential oils are generally not safe for birds, regardless of their ingested form. They are especially dangerous in their diffused form, as birds have a very sensitive respiratory system that can be put at risk by oils.
Closing Thoughts on Aloe Vera for Birds
Overall, Aloe vera may be safe in moderation, especially if you distill it into juice. However, it is not a necessary addition to any bird’s diet, whether that’s a pet bird, a wild bird, or a backyard duck or chicken.