Feeding Your Parrot Dos
What should I feed my parrot? There are entire websites that deal with this question, as well as books, DVDs, scientific studies, and so forth. We hope to offer some general guidelines.
Fresh Fresh Fresh
The major source of nutrition for your bird should be fresh fruits and vegetables that he/she gets every day. These should be varied on a regular basis. This not an all inclusive list, but it’s a start for nutritious foods:
- Leafy dark greens (collard, mustard, spinach, beet greens etc.)
- Brussel Sprouts (cooked or raw)
- Winter squash: acorn, butternut, spaghetti (cooked)
- Sweet Potatoes (cooked)
- Peppers – hot or sweet
- Corn and Peas should be limited due to sugar and starch content
- Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries
- Mango, Papaya, Bananas, Pears
- Plums, Apricots, Nectarines – all w/ pits removed
- Apples w/seeds removed, Melons w/ seeds removed
- (Remove seeds/pits from most fruits as they can be toxic! )
- Apples and Grapes should be limited due to high sugar content
Be aware that feeding some fruits will stain the bird’s droppings.
There are a variety of dry “pelleted” parrot foods available at your pet store or online. Some very high quality mixes are made by Zupreem, Roudybush and Harrisons. They are blended to supply a wide variety of nutrients that your parrot needs and can be mixed into your fresh food mix or in a separate bowl for snacking.
They should be considered a very necessary addition to, but not a replacement for fresh foods.
Pasta and Grains
These are foods that your bird will love! Because of their high starch and sugar content they should be given only occasionally and in limited amounts. You can serve brown rice, quinoa, or pastas made from whole wheat, and they should all be fully cooked. You can also mix in a small amount of a high quality seed mix with the fresh food, but do so very sparingly.
Far too many parrots have suffered an early death because their owners fed them a diet too rich in seeds! For this same reason you should never feed a parrot wild bird food!
Extra Dietary Advice
Buy some dried beans and cook then thoroughly to add to the fresh food. Use the smaller varieties like navy, black, pinto, red, etc. The larger varieties (kidney beans and larger) should be avoided, and you should never feed your bird lima beans!
Every once in a while give your bird some “people food” (provided it’s not on the prohibited list below). It helps to provide variety and excitement. Just don’t let this become a lazy habit as the bird will begin to avoid his food in anticipation of getting some of yours.
Provide unsalted nuts in or out of the shell for a great snack. Smaller birds should eat nuts sparingly but macaws actually need them in their diets (try walnuts, brazil nuts and almonds in the shell). Peanuts should be limited, and only offer human grade roasted & unsalted from the grocery store. Check for signs of mold on the shells. Peanut shells can carry aspergillosis, which can kill your bird.
Meats – fully cooked in small quantities occasionally. This might seem weird, but most parrots love chicken wings!
The following is a list of things that your parrot should not eat because they are TOXIC Foods:
- Avocado (in any form, including guacamole)
- Caffeine (soda, coffee)
- Dairy products
- Onions & Garlic
- Leaves of tomato & potato plants
- Pits/Seeds of most fruits (especially apples!)
- Asparagus (not toxic, but can cause digestive upset)
- Salt & sugar are not good.
This is not a complete list of food for your parrots, but it is a good start. Be sure to research your specific parrot breed’s needs.