What Foods Can I Feed My Parrot?

Parrot Eating

Parrot Eating

Seeds, pellets and nuts should account for no more than half of your parrot’s daily food intake. By themselves, these foods will not provide adequate nutrition for your bird and deficiencies and ill health become more likely. The remainder of your parrot’s diet should be made up of grains, fruits and vegetables to give them a balanced diet that isn’t lacking in nutrients.

Parrots can eat a variety of “human” foods but not all are safe for them to consume. Some of the foods that can be safely consumed by humans are harmful for birds. Here is our guide as to which foods can be given to your parrot as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Typical Foods For Parrots

Seeds and Pellets: Seeds can form up to a quarter of your parrot’s daily diet but should not be a staple. Likewise, pellets should form another quarter of your parrot’s food intake. A variety of different seeds can be fed to your parrot, including safflower, millets, oats, buckwheat and canary seeds. Sunflower seeds can be problematic due to the fat content and are best given in moderation only.

Nuts: While nuts and seeds can make up a good proportion of your parrot’s diet, the former should be given in moderation due to their fat content. They should therefore be seen as more of a treat food. Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, shelled peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts can all be given.

Grains: Cooked grains can include barley, brown rice and quinoa. Other grains that your parrot may like include oatmeal.

Fruit: As far as possible, look to give your parrot organic fruit and wash it thoroughly before dishing it up. Safe fruits include apples, mangos and peaches. Be aware that avocado should not be given in any circumstances; this is poisonous for birds.

Vegetables: Along with fruits, vegetables are another important source of nutrients for your parrot. Safe vegetables include asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, butternut, carrots, corn on the cob, dandelion greens, collard greens, hot peppers, mushrooms, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini. Parsley is also an option. Iceberg lettuce is safe for parrots to eat but should only be given occasionally as it does not provide any vital nutrients.  Fresh vegetables are always preferable compared to their frozen counterparts, although the latter can be given from time to time.

Legumes: Beans are recommended, including black beans, green beans and kidney beans. Lentils, peas, tofu and chickpeas can also be given. All except kidney beans can be fed raw if desired.

What Not to Feed Your Parrot

Avocado is not the only food that is poisonous for birds. Other dangerous foods include chocolate: Even a small mouthful can be enough to lead to chocolate poisoning due to the fact that your parrot is a lot smaller than a human and is therefore more easily affected by the theobromine content.  Salt should also be avoided.  Remember that this isn’t an exclusive list of foods that are not safe for your parrot.  Some specific dietary requirements will depend on breed.  

When to Feed Your Parrot

Offer your parrot fresh food and seeds in the morning and evening. If this is not eaten within an hour or so, remove them so that they do not spoil. Pellets can then be given after the first batch of fresh food is removed in the morning for daytime snacking before the evening’s food is offered. Clean water should be available throughout the day.

It is best to thoroughly research what diet is appropriate for your parrot and seek advice from specialist if you are not sure.

[Photo Credit:  jonasflanken]