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Is cuttlefish found on a beach safe for my birds?

washing cuttlefishMy friend lives in the Isle of Wight and he sent me a bag of cuttlefish that he’s picked up on the beach for me to give to my budgerigars. Is it OK to use or do I have to do anything with it, such as boil it first?
G.E., Notts.

Roy Stringer, regular contributor to Cage & Aviary Birds, replies: Cuttlefish bone is an excellect source of calcium and helps to keep budgerigars’ beaks trimmed. In my opinion there is always a slight risk when using cuttlefish bone collected from a beach. My policy has always been to use clean, white, fresh-looking bones and even then I give them a short soak in a weak solution of bleach and water.

Avoid any cuttlefish that is discoloured and most definitely discard any that shows signs of having been polluted by oil.

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