Are egg yolks good for your bird?
I like when I can give short answers! Evidence for my answers mostly come from my previous articles, but I have some new references.
Let loose the hate mail.
Yolks vs whites
Let’s start with this one. I know some bird owners that are bold enough to ignore their vets and bird forums and feed their birds eggs. However, they typically protect their birds from yolks and only feed whites. So, let’s look at the similarities and differences.
[Egg] white contains almost no fat.
Egg white consists primarily of about 90% water into which about 10% proteins (including albumins, mucoproteins, and globulins) are dissolvedEgg white—Wikipedia
[Egg yolk] contains all of the egg’s fat and cholesterol, and nearly half of the protein.
Yolks hold more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid of the egg. In addition, yolks cover all of the fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as all of the essential fatty acidsEgg yolk—Wikipedia
As I mentioned in Sources of Vitamin D, there just aren’t that many that birds actually want to eat. Egg yolks are one of them and egg whites have no Vitamin D. This is such a critical vitamin for birds that egg yolks need to be considered as a source.
Fat and cholesterol
I like to repeat this message that we and our birds have nothing to fear from fat and cholesterol. I’ve made a few converts but it never hurts to try to educate people on how to feed their birds. And not to fear “real” food.
I’ve written many articles on this subject so it’s easiest just to quote them. Note, too, that eggs have zero carbohydrates, which makes them an even better food choice.
- Animal research into fat, carbohydrates, and disease
- More on fat and carbohydrates
- What causes Fatty Liver Disease?
Although I don’t hear it often, some complain about the protein content of eggs, which is about 37% of the nutritional content. Note, however, that both the egg yolk and white have the same protein content.
Egg whites contain about 56% of the protein in the eggEgg white—Wikipedia
I guess a reasonable takeaway is that if no one is warning people about egg whites and their birds, the same should apply to egg yolks.
Don’t worry about giving your birds eggs. Ignore your vet who was likely educated in an era when far less was known about nutrition that cutting-edge research is proving today. No offense! You teach what you learn.
Egg whites are of virtually no value to a human or a bird, except perhaps foraging value. However, a yolk has foraging value and an unbelievable amount of nutrition that is exactly what a bird needs.
As an aside, I’ve nursed several birds back from the brink of death, who would not eat ANYTHING I gave them. But they would eat eggs! And that got them on the road to recovery.