One of the things to consider when getting a parrot but also when owning a parrot already is what is it that they eat.
In my case, I don’t just want to give some kind of food to my bird to keep him alive. I want to make sure my bird is healthy and energetic, remains curious and enjoys its time with me. Therefore, I had to get my head around the question: What do parrots eat?
Do parrots eat seeds alone? Is it OK if I share my ice cream or cookie with him? Can I give him a sip of wine?
I will try to debrief all the above in the upcoming segments.
Is a seeds-based-only diet healthy?
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a parrot diet is of course seeds. While seeds are definitely part of a parrot’s diet, they should not constitute the only, not even the main part of the diet.
The Best thing to do: make sure the birds receives a good mixture of seeds, pellets, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables.
The main part of the diet will be composed of seeds and pellets (about half of the total food intake). Parrot seeds mix are most of the times composed of the following:
- sunflower seeds
- safflower seeds
- canary seeds
- hemp seeds
- millet seeds, etc
The pellets represent dry mixes of healthy ingredients containing vitamins and minerals from fresh fruit and vegetables, Omega 3 and other fatty acids. Together (the seeds and the pellets) constitute the half of your little friend’s diet. You can mix the two together for a nice and healthy meal.
Nuts can serve as a great addition to the bird’s diet. However, they need to be eaten with moderation due to their fat content. Therefore, about 1-2 nuts daily is the average recommendation. Among the parrot favorites are: almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, pistachios, etc.
The remainder of the diet (the other half) needs to be supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables. Parrot-proof vegetables are: kale, broccoli, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, lettuce, etc. Parrot proof fruit include: apples, bananas, mangoes, etc.
A big DO NOT GIVE to your parrot is avocado, onion and garlic. These act as poison to our parrots.
Does my parrot have to eat fruit and vegetables every day?
Same as with humans, the parrots need their intake of vitamins daily. That doesn’t mean that you need to have 1 kilogram of fresh fruit in your house every day. You can just share your apple or your banana with your little friend 🙂 Just a little piece of apple (without the skin) or banana or mini-branch of broccoli ripped off as you prepare to cook it can do the trick. Think of your parrot as an incentive to eat fruit and vegetables daily (it will keep both the owner and the parrot healthy and happy) 🙂
As an alternative, frozen fruit and vegetables can do the trick. Just defrost a small spoon worth of them and serve them free of seeds and skin.
Can I share my dessert with my parrot?
Let’s start with my favorite: chocolate! Even if I love chocolate and many parrots love it as well, it can be fatal to them and is totally a non-safe parrot food. Even in extra small quantities, it can cause diarrhea and general unfitness to your bird. Therefore,: avoid giving chocolate to your parrot!
Next comes ice cream and all the other dairy products like yogurt, cheese, milk, etc. Generally birds are lactose intolerant. That means that dairy products are not necessarily toxic for them but their intake should be limited if not at all.
Cookies and other sorts of sweet bakery are to be limited as well. While a small bite will not directly kill your bird, daily and big quantity intake of these products can harm the parrot (and the owner).
What if my parrot had a sip of wine?
While some parrots like alcohol, it is not recommended serving it to the bird. Alcohol does make our parrots drunk, that can damage their ability to coordinate while flying and can cause accidents. Also, big quantities (and I mean bird measure big quantity) can be fatal for the parrot. Therefore, avoid sharing your drink with your little friend.
Same goes for coffee and tea: they trouble the digestive system of our birds and they can get sick. However, herbal tea can have a relaxing effect on the bird and is parrot-safe. And there comes another incentive for a parrot owner healthy lifestyle: have a herbal tea that you can share with your little friend! It is healthy for both of you, you get to have quality time together and you make the bond between you two even stronger!
In a nut shell:
Feeding your parrot with the right foods takes a bit of research and investment but pays off in the long term. You will be enjoying the company of a healthy, active and happy parrot! On top of that, it will force you to have the fruit and veggies closer at hand every day, which also increases the chances of the whole household increasing its vitamin intake! A big healthy and happy family together with the parrot!
Feel free to share with me your experience in the comments below. I would love to hear your story!
To all the Parrot Lovers,
Founder of Best Parrot Toys
Disclaimer: I am not a parrot expert therefore the information in this site represents my opinion based on my experience. Please do not make decisions based solely on my articles. It helps to do further research.