One of the most important aspects of caring for a Toco Toucan is their diet. If you search for information on toucans, you are sure to find many websites discussing the utmost importance of what you choose to feed to your bird’s health. I will leave the full dissertation to the pros, but essentially, toucans are very susceptible to Hemochromatosis, the iron storage disease. They MUST be fed a diet extremely low in iron or their liver will accumulate too much, poisoning the bird. As a toucan owner, this is always at the forefront of your concerns – constantly researching iron content in foods and always digging for more information on how much you should really be feeding your toucan.
Toco toucans eat a mostly all-fruit diet. To ensure balanced nutrition, we also feed Paco, Paz, & Pepe a low-iron pellet along with their fruit. They really enjoy Mazuri ZuLife Softbill Diet and I feel good because it’s individually batch-tested for iron content. One of the most helpful documents I use for choosing acceptable fruit for the toucans is a Food Guide for Green Aracaris (also low-iron eaters) I found on the website Toucan Do It! You can tell that the research team put a lot of effort into this amazing document and it is truly a valuable resource to me.
We feed our toucans a fresh bowl of fruit twice per day, at 9am and 2pm. We take their fruit out before they go to bed at night (sunset is currently around 6:30pm) to ensure it doesn’t go sour and attract pests. They have a bowl of Mazuri pellets available at all times. We have experimented a bit over the past few months about the best way to serve our birds their food. Initially, we were mixing it all together in one bowl. However, I think mostly due to the tropical humidity, it would get mushy very quickly and they weren’t eating as much as they should. Now that we have separated the bowls, they are eating a bunch more of their fruit and Mazuri alike. The Three P’s like their Mazuri crunchy!
Today’s breakfast was papaya, peaches, plums, kiwi, banana, raspberries, and pomegranate. Seriously – we should all eat this well! Between the view from their enclosure to the bowls of deliciousness delivered to them daily, I’m fighting off offers from people who want to move in with the birds. Fortunately for Pepe, there is a no-subletting clause in his lease. 😉
Would you be willing to post the diet sheet from 2candoit? The website is no longer available.
I’m sorry, I no longer have the file anywhere.
Hello, I have a keel-billed toucan and he has been with me for six months. I live in a somewhat cold area and use a heater to keep him warm during the night. My concern is that he shares a divided glass cage with a toucanet and a parrot, is that all right? The cage is divided.
I would really supervise his time in there. Toucans use their beaks forcefully at times, like woodpeckers, and he could hurt himself if he chose to get defensive towards the other birds and jabbed hard at the glass. It’s hard to get a full understanding without seeing your aviary, but it sounds tricky with all that glass…
We are new to toucans. Not sure if you still maintain your page. Our bird was actually from a street vender here in Nicaragua….sad situations often for exotic animals here. That is an entirely different topic.
My question is, he seems to love tomatoes. I think his captors just fed him what was around. I read tomatoes are bad for that iron disease you mentioned. Should I be concerned and not feed him tomatoes?
No, you shouldn’t feed toucans tomatoes. Tomatoes contain citric acid, which helps the body store iron. No citrus fruits, including tomatoes, should be given.
Hi I love reading about your birds. I have a question how do they peel their food in the wild?
Hi Denise, thanks for reading! I am not 100% certain, but judging by their behavior with me, I would say they probably eat some peel in the wild. They also may peck at their fruit (like their cousins, the woodpecker) and peel away the skin. The main reason we do not feed them any peel is because we are not able to get organic produce here and the skin generally holds the most pesticides. Occasionally, I will share a whole fruit with them, more as a fun activity, and they will eat a little skin such as that on kiwi, pear, plum, etc. which is okay in small quantities.
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i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.