Lemons are not popular among the wild bird population because of their sharp scent, so the citrus fruit can be used as a natural bird deterrent. However, many pet birds, especially parrots, enjoy lemons. The fruit also provides them with essential vitamins and nutrients.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Lemon as a Wild Bird Deterrent
- 2 Benefits of Lemons for Bird Control
- 3 Lemon as a Dietary Supplement for Pet Birds (Parrots)
- 4 Feeding Lemons to Your Pet Bird
There’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. While we, as humans, love the tart, sharp flavor of lemons, avid bird lovers may wonder whether their feathered friends also enjoy the yellow fruit.
As it turns out, birds highly dislike the pungent smell of lemons, so much so that the scent will keep them away from a desirable eating or nesting spot. If you want to keep your feathered friends away from your home or garden, you can use lemon as a natural method of bird control!
Parrots, however, enjoy eating lemons, and they are a great, nutritious snack for your pet bird. Let’s look at some of the ways that lemons are versatile when it comes to our interactions with birds.
Lemon as a Wild Bird Deterrent
Birds can be a lovely presence in your backyard or garden. They sing cheerful songs, lay beautiful eggs, and raise cute little chicks, but they, unfortunately, can also be pests.
They build nests in inconvenient places around the home, carry dangerous diseases that pose great harm to humans, and may even cause damage to your garden.
If birds bring more harm than good to your home, there’s a simple way to ward them off: lemons!
How to Use Lemons for Bird Control
If your bird friends just aren’t taking the hint that you need some space, the solution to keep them away may already be in your refrigerator! Lemons are a great bird deterrent because the fruit’s pungent scent is irritating and overwhelming for birds.
If you have some extra lemons lying around, simply squeeze them into a spray bottle with some water and spray away! You can spray the juice-water mixture anywhere you’d like to keep the birds away. Also, remember that lemon juice is just an irritant and will not harm the birds.
Lemon Juice vs. Lemon Oil
Another option for using lemon as a bird deterrent is to use lemon essential oil. You can purchase the oil at most grocery stores and drugstores, and it’s fairly inexpensive.
This may be a good alternative to lemon juice for those who face regular visits from unwelcome birds. Instead of squeezing a bunch of lemons that you may want to reserve for your cooking or baking endeavors, you can simply mix a few drops of the oil in a spray bottle filled with water.
Lemon oil is also very pungent and concentrated, so it may prove to be a more effective method of bird control than lemon juice.
Benefits of Lemons for Bird Control
Not only are lemons and lemon oil inexpensive methods of bird control, but they are also natural, chemical-free, and pose no harm to birds. Other methods of bird control, like shock tracks, which deliver mild electric shocks to birds that land on them, are more expensive and can be inhumane.
Other popular bird repellents are chemical-based, which may cause irritation, rashes, and other health issues to those exposed to the chemicals.
Finally, while lemon juice or oil is an especially pungent smell to birds, it’s actually very pleasant to most people! A little spritz of lemon juice around your home or garden is a win-win because it keeps the birds away while keeping your backyard smelling fresh!
Lemon as a Dietary Supplement for Pet Birds (Parrots)
Wild birds may not be able to stand the sharp, acidic scent of lemons, but your pet bird might! As it turns out, some pet-bird owners feed lemons or lemon juice to their birds. Parrots especially enjoy the citrus fruit, which provides many health benefits for your feathered friend.
Lemons provide several nutrients and vitamins that, if consumed fairly regularly, will help keep your parrot healthy and strong. Specifically, lemons are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and magnesium.
Vitamin C is especially important in strengthening a parrot’s immune system, and the other nutrients that lemons provide help promote healthy bacteria growth in the gut. Parrots with strong immune systems and good gut health can easily fight off infections, which means fewer trips to the vet!
While lemons may provide many health benefits for your parrot, it’s important to remember that citrus fruit should only be consumed in moderation. The high levels of citric acid that lemons contain may harm your parrot and result in mouth ulcers, digestive problems, or stomach ulcers if consumed in high amounts. Furthermore, some parrots dislike the pungent smell and tart taste of lemons.
It’s important to figure out what works best for your bird. With that said, let’s look at some best practices for feeding lemons to your parrot.
Feeding Lemons to Your Pet Bird
At this point, you may be wondering how you should go about feeding lemons to your parrot. Do I give them a whole lemon? Lemon slices? Lemon juice?
There are several ways to incorporate lemons into your parrot’s diet, but it’s crucial to choose the right lemons and follow the fool-proof methods of doing so.
Choosing the Right Lemons
While any old lemon may seem fine to give to your bird, certain lemons may pose risks to your feathered friend. When shopping for whole lemons, choose the organic ones.
Citrus fruits, if not organic, are often sprayed heavily with pesticides. These chemicals can be harmful to your bird if ingested. Pesticides may cause hypersensitivity, allergic reactions, asthma, neurological damage, or even cancer!
You should also avoid purchasing store-bought lemon juice for your parrot, as it’s likely full of preservatives and other chemicals.
Choosing an organic lemon, and washing it well to remove dirt, will ensure that your parrot isn’t exposed to harmful toxins or chemicals.
How to Incorporate Lemons into Your Parrot’s Diet
Now that we know how to choose the right lemons for your pet bird, let’s look at some ways to incorporate the fruit into your parrot’s diet.
A very simple and easy way to give your parrot a citrus-y snack is to place a few lemon slices into a shallow dish. Not only will your parrot benefit from drinking the juices and pulp of the lemons, but they will also get some mental stimulation from picking out the lemon seeds.
If feeding your parrot lemon slices is a bit too messy, you can give them lemon juice instead. Just be sure to always dilute the juice with water, as lemon juice alone is too acidic for parrots to consume. You can do so by adding lemon juice to your parrot’s water dish or squeezing or spraying some juice onto your parrot’s food.
It’s important to note that, while lemons are highly nutritious, your parrot should enjoy them in moderation. We suggest feeding a slice of lemon, or a little lemon juice, to your parrot no more than once a week.
Lemons have proven to be a very versatile fruit! If you’re facing a bird infestation problem in your backyard or garden, remember that lemons are a natural, inexpensive, and safe form of bird repellent.
Or, if you have a feathered friend that lives inside, feed them some lemon slices or juice to give them a boost of vitamins and nutrients.
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I am Bryan Powell and I own BirdHour.com. I love bird watching; in fact, I have a parakeet of my own. I enjoy spending time outdoors and observing the natural world around me. This website is a means of sharing my passion for birds with others who may be interested in this activity.