Food For Parrots

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If you have a bird of your own, you’ll know how important nutrition is. Birdseed is far from the ideal diet for our feathered friends and can lead to nutrient deficiencies and weight problems over time. But fresh foods are expensive and time-consuming to prepare, right? Not necessarily! We are here to help with a collection of delicious, nutritious recipes that are easy enough for any home cook (and cheap too!). We focus on seasonality so your birds will always get fresh foods in their diet.

Food For Parrots

Sharing a meal with your bird can be a wonderful bonding experience, but did you know that it can also benefit your pet’s health?

Many bird diets lack certain vitamins and minerals that birds need, which can lead to a host of serious health conditions.

Feeding your bird a healthy diet does not have to be costly or time-consuming. When you feel like your bird deserves a special treat, try serving up one of these healthy and easy options that are packed with taste as well as beneficial nutrients.

Illustration of healthy treats for pet birds
 The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi
  • 01of 09FruitClose-up of fruit variety on table Marion Tohang / Getty ImagesMango, pomegranate, bananas, cantaloupe, or apples: It’s your choice, and it’s also about what your birds prefer. Just about any fruit imaginable is good for your bird’s diet. Full of taste and nutritional value, fruits are a wonderful source of vitamins, and these choices are a favorite among the vast majority of pet birds.WARNINGAs with any fresh food you offer your bird, remove and discard any leftovers a couple of hours after serving. This prevents bacteria growth inside of your pet’s cage. Take it easy on the grapes, however. They contain a lot of sugar. 
  • 02of 09BeansA wide variety of dried beans WLADIMIR BULGAR / Getty ImagesBeans are a wonderful source of vegetable protein, and an outstanding source of fiber for your companion bird which helps keep its digestive system running smoothly. Try boiling a 15-bean soup mix without any seasoning. Allow the beans to cool, and then offer a scoop to your bird. The chances are that this will become a fast favorite with your little friend.WARNINGRemember to never serve raw beans to your companion bird as they can be toxic unless cooked.
  • 03of 09SproutsA bowl of seeds, sprouts, and watermelon Brie Grometer / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0Do you like alfalfa sprouts on your salad? Your bird may like them too. Learning to safely sprout in your kitchen is not difficult at all! Be sure to thoroughly wash any sprouts that you offer your bird. Some may have come into contact with pesticides in their journey from the garden to your local supermarket, and you don’t want to pass these toxins on to your pet. Growing your own sprouts is a healthy way to give live, raw nutrition to your flock. 
  • 04of 09VegetablesA bowl of fresh root vegetables Richard Felber / Getty ImagesWild birds feast on an amazing variety of vegetables in their natural habitats, so it only makes sense that fresh veggies are good for companion birds as well. Try offering your pet some thoroughly washed and rinsed broccoli, yellow squash, or greens next time you serve these veggies in your home. Other avian favorites include carrots, kale, root vegetables, and peas.
  • 05of 09PastaPasta for Dogs  Lauri Patterson / Getty ImagesNo matter whether it’s cooked or uncooked, birds love pasta. The good thing is, it’s full of energy-enhancing carbohydrates! Try boiling some bowtie pasta with vegetables and serving it to your bird when cool. If your pet prefers its pasta crunchy, fill a few raw macaroni noodles with nut butter for a fun and tasty snack.
  • 06of 09PopcornA bowl of corn and a bowl of popcorn FotografiaBasica / Getty ImagesBelieve it or not, many pet birds enjoy snacking on popcorn. You can serve your bird either popped or unpopped kernels. If you choose to serve the popcorn unpopped, boil the kernels for a bit in plain water to soften the tough hulls. If you desire, you can pop the kernels for your bird using a very small amount of pure coconut.WARNING Be sure never to give your bird microwaved popcorn. These varieties are extremely high in fat and salt, which can be harmful to your pet’s health.
  • 07of 09Cereal or GrainsRolled oats in a bowl creativeye99 / Getty ImagesGrain farmers often complain when flocks of wild birds descend on their crops to feast. A hungry group of birds can strip a field of grain in no time. Grains are nutritious and very good for birds. They offer nutritional values that some other foods cannot. Whole grains are an excellent source of vital protein, not to mention beneficial carbohydrates. Try serving your bird oats, quinoa, or Grain Bake, and watch the feeding frenzy begin!
  • 08of 09NutsA small serving spoon of pecans Paul Poplis / Getty ImagesNuts are extremely healthy for your companion bird. Walnuts, in particular, have many nutritional features not found in other nuts. They’re are also very tasty, and many birds appreciate them as special treats or even natural foraging toys. Many birds will spend time exercising their beak and jaw muscles on the shells of some varieties, trying to pry them open. If they find one they simply cannot open, give them a hand and use a nutcracker to assist in cracking them. TipAlways make sure that any nuts that you serve your bird are clean and unsalted—certain types of fungi can grow on nuts that aren’t clean. Nuts can be frozen to preserve freshness over the long term. 
  • 09of 09PeppersRed and green jalepeño peppers Carol Wood / Getty ImagesAlthough many humans have trouble eating spicy peppers, birds can take the heat. It seems that our avian friends lack the taste receptors that pick up on a pepper’s stinging bite, which makes them a favorite of birds around the world. Try giving your pet a nice fresh chili, banana, or jalapeno pepper and watch it chomp through it to get to the meat and seeds inside.

What Do Parrots Eat

Parrots (Psittaciformes) are colorful birds that prefer warm or tropical climates. The parrot family includes nearly 400 species, like cockatoos, macaws, and parakeets. As zygodactyl birds, parrots have clawed feet with two toes facing forward and two toes facing backward. Those strong toes help parrots hold food up to their curved beaks when cracking open the husks of seeds. What do parrots eat besides seeds? More than 50 different foods!

Let’s explore common foods parrots like to eat and what pet parrots eat compared to those living in the wild. 

WHAT DO PARROTS EAT?

What Do Parrots Eat
A parrot consumes a variety of plant and animal foods, like fruit, nuts, seeds, and insects.A-Z-Animals.com

Parrots eat plants, flowers, grains, nuts, seeds, and insects for much of their diet. Parrots are omnivores in most cases, enjoying a mix of plant and animal foods. They love vegetables, fruit, and nectar, but certain fruit varieties have toxic pits or stones that parrots shouldn’t consume. For example, the stones of apricots, cherries, peaches, and pears have levels of naturally-occurring cyanide that could quickly kill these birds.

Some birds in the parrot family, especially parakeets, should only eat sunflower seeds in moderation. Your parakeet will love this high-fat treat so much they might get too full to eat other foods with essential nutrients. 

Here’s a list of plants parrots eat: 

  • Apples
  • Apricots (excluding the stone)
  • Asparagus
  • Bell Peppers
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cherries (excluding the stone)
  • Chives
  • Citrus Fruit
  • Courgette Flowers
  • Corn
  • Grains
  • Grapes
  • Greens
  • Leeks
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Papaya
  • Peaches (excluding the stone)
  • Pears (excluding the stone)
  • Pomegranate
  • Pumpkin
  • Seeds
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Here’s a list of specific grains, nuts, and seeds parrots eat: 

  • Almonds
  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Brown Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Canary Seeds
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Cashews
  • Cumin
  • Groats
  • Oats
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Rye
  • Safflower Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sorghum
  • Spelt
  • Sunflower Seeds (in moderation for parakeets)
  • Watercress Seeds
  • Wheat

Here’s a list of animals parrots eat: 

  • Caterpillars
  • Bird Eggs
  • Grasshoppers
  • Hatchlings
  • Lizards
  • Mealworms
  • Rodents
  • Snails
  • Termites

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