Tea is a very old and very traditional beverage consumed first in China and has spread to many other cultures all over the world. An ancient legend tells the tale of Chinese Emperor Shen Nung noticed that the color of the water in his cup changed when some dried leaves blew into it. He tried the water and enjoyed the taste, so he began trying different varieties of leaves from different plants to see what they tasted like.
Over the centuries people of different cultures began growing various plants simply for the flavor properties of the leaves. The list of available dried tea leaves began to grow as the practice of brewing tea passed from culture to culture around the world.
Brewing tea is a simple process and the benefits in some teas are legend. You simply heat water and allow the leaves, stems and other parts of the plant you are using to make the tea to steep allowing the flavor and goodness to infuse into the water. Simply steep the tea and let it cool before serving to your birds.
Scientists began studying the benefits of tea and found some interesting things. Drinking tea introduces some important minerals as well as nutrients into the body as well as other benefits depending on the type of tea it is.
So how can tea benefits our birds? First of all it is important to understand that birds in the wild drink a form of tea every time they drink from a tree hollow where rain water has gathered or from a puddle or pond where leaves have fallen into it.
Those leaves leach the properties they contain into that standing water and it becomes a form of tea.
Chamomile tea is made from dried chamomile flowers, a daisy-like flower thought to have many medicinal properties. It has been found to be effective in settling upset stomachs and acts as a natural sedative.
Many people with birds have found that it has a calming effect on them and even mist their birds with this cooling tea. When the birds preen those damp feather, they ingest the tea which alleviates anxiety.
Rose Hips Are Hip
Rose hips are popular as a tea due to it’s tangy flavor and beautiful color. It has found to be very high in Vitamin C and is thought to help cleanse the blood as well as contribute to liver and kidney health. It is also thought to help with arthritis.
Remember when your Grandmother gave you ginger ale to calm an upset stomach? There is a reason for this. Ginger has been found to eliminate nausea and it has some other interesting properties. It can also reduce joint inflammation and alleviate the pain this inflammation causes. Offering ginger tea to more senior birds might help with any joint pain they might be experiencing.
Green Is Good
Green Tea properties are frequently written about and its popularity is rising due to the potent polyphenols, antioxidants found in it. Some research journals have suggested that it may have some added benefits such as preventing gene damage which could lead to cancer as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and decrease the possibility of a stroke.
Apparently green tea may also boost the immune system.
Caffeine Free Please!
There are many different types of tea that may well benefit your bird. These teas should have one thing in common: They should not contain caffeine. And this is something to keep in mind when shopping for tea for your birds. You simply do not want to offer them any teas that have caffeine in them. This is why herbal teas have become quite popular with people who want to reduce or eliminate caffeine from their diets. Herbal varieties such as chamomile and rose hip tea do not contain any caffeine at all.
Just because you are brewing something that is traditionally thought of to be a caffeinated beverage doesn’t mean that all teas contain this property.
Jason Crean, MS, EdD, Biology Professor at Saint Xavier University and Zoo Consultant is a strong believer in tea for pet birds.
He had this to say on the subject:
“The many different flowers and herbs that can be brewed as teas present many nutritional benefits to add to a diverse diet. Important nutrients like beta carotene and bioflavonoids are readily available through drinking as well as eating.”
And a quote from Karen Becker, DVM, NMD regarding what she thinks about tea for birds:
“Herbal teas offer widespread health benefits to birds, in fact you can find a therapeutic tea to match almost every health and emotional condition diagnosed in avian medicine.”
So you can see where there might be many benefits of offering tea to your companion birds. However, bear in mind that tea should not be used as a substitute for water. Companion birds should always have access to fresh water at all times.
Give tea a try. There are many places where you can find delicious teas for your birds. One place is an online store called Greywood Manor. The teas at Greywood Manor have been blended specifically for birds as well as other animals. They have a variety of teas for rabbits, rodents, reptiles, pigs and chickens. They even have a variety of tea specifically for those birds that are prone to iron storage disease. This is quite important as most tea companies are not aware of the needs of animals and do not take these needs into consideration when blending their teas. However, if you simply want plain herbal teas such as chamomile and rose hip, these companies will work for you.
Mountain Rose Herbs has gorgeous teas and many other organic products that are certain to please. They have a wide variety of herbal teas that might fit the bill when selecting a tea for your pet bird.
Rishi Tea comes highly rated as it has no GMOs, no artificial flavors and no harmful packaging. They have a range of herbal teas to choose from.
Numi Tea is yet another tea company that is mindful about what goes into their teabags. They have a nice array of herbal teas to try including a nice chamomile tea for a calm day with your birds.
These are just a few sources available to you for tea for your birds. Simply ensure the tea is caffeine free and serve it cool for your flock to enjoy.
Tea is another method of incorporating sources of vitamins and minerals into your birds diet. Tea a great enrichment tool for adding another taste to their daily regime. Offer a different type of tea each day to keep your birds stimulated with yet another taste and wanting to try new things. Introducing tea will hopefully allow you to provide yet another good source of nutrition into your birds’ diet and help them to flourish and be healthier.