All types of birds you can think of all have an organ that plays an important part in their process of food digestion, and it is called the gizzard. And a lot of people think that all of these types of birds need some grit inside their gizzards.
However, do parrots need grit? And the answer is no. Parrots do not need grit in their diet. However, other birds like chickens and canaries need grit to digest food, but not parrots. Parrots have a slightly different process for food digestion. This process allows them to be able to digest food without the need for grit. In fact, adding grit to a parrot’s diet can lead to serious health problems.
And in this article, we will dive into everything related to this topic and what makes parrots independent on grit to digest food, and what would happen to a parrot after consuming grit on a regular basis, along with more information that you need to know to keep your parrot safe.
So, without further ado, let’s get into this.
Table of Contents
What is Grit?
Grit is an external component that helps certain birds to digest food. And it is generally a calcium-fortified sand, rock, and/or shell mix. Grit is really important for many types of birds, but not for parrots. Parrots do not need grit for many reasons, and here they are.
Why Do Parrots Not Need Grit?
If you think about other types of birds and the way they eat their seed, you can easily notice that these birds are just picking the seeds and swallowing them right away. But with parrots, you can see that they crack the seeds first and then eating them.
And this is one reason why parrots do not need grit in their diet, even the wild parrots do the by cracking the seeds and remove the hard part of it the then eat what’s inside.
The second reason is that parrots have stronger gizzards, stronger than the birds who need the grit in their diet. The gizzards are basically the muscular part of any bird’s stomach. When the parrot swallows his food, it goes to gizzards after passing through the throat, Esophagus, Crop, and Proventriculus.
The strong muscles in the parrot’s digestive system work the same as grit in other birds. It grinds the seeds and nuts before continuing its way to the other intestines. Of course, this wouldn’t be enough if the parrot is not cracking and picking on food before swallowing it.
The third reason is that parrots have smaller exit openings for droppings. Whilst the other birds who depend on the grit have bigger exit openings and weaker internal muscles.
And this is why other birds don’t get any harm from inserting grit with food into their systems. Basically, they can defecate the grit easily after they were using it to digest food for months or maybe years. The process happens automatically with no intervention of the bird itself.
While it’s the opposite way with parrots, they have smaller exit openings, and dropping out the grit can be very difficult and in some cases, the grit can pile up inside the parrot body leading it to develop some serious health problems.
The digestive system is more complicated than the previous text, the previous is only to simplify why parrots do not need frit in their diet.
For further information about how parrots digest their food, I recommend reading this article.
How Bad is Grit For Parrots?
Now with this being said, some might think any piece of grit is bad for a parrot. And this is wrong. Think about what happens with wild parrots. Sometimes they will eat directly from the ground, and then there must be grit or two that are still attached to the seed, so there is a possibility for the wild parrot to swallow the grit.
In this case, it won’t be harmful to the bird, it’s just a small quantity and the parrot will defecate it with no problems.
The real problem for the parrot is when he swallows his food without cracking it, cracking the seeds and nut work like a filter to remove any indigestible grit, and this is not the case with all wild parrots.
However, in captivity, it’s not very common for a parrot to have access to grit in their diet, and the only way they can get is from the intervention of their owners.
Some owners might add grit to food thinking it will help their birds to digest the food. And this could go far worse when they add the grit often or sometimes daily to the meals.
And this is a huge mistake, even with other birds like canaries or chickens. These birds digest food with grit for a long time, and they don’t need it every day, what they already have can work for them for at least one week, especially the chickens.
Adding it to their daily meals can easily kill them, especially if the grit is piled up inside their systems.
What would you think will happen when adding grit to the pet parrot’s meals daily, I can assure you it won’t be something good.
What Would Happen if a Parrot Ate so Much Grit?
For birds to defecate grit they will need to take advantage of their exit openings, and this is not the case with parrots. Parrots, as mentioned earlier, have smaller openings, therefore there is a possibility for grit to pile up inside the parrot’s system.
And this is the real problem when you feed grit to parrot. Eventually, it will pile up and lead to serious health problems.
These problems include faint neurological problems that will intensify as long as the grit is still inside the body. Low appetite may lead the bird to lose weight, resulting in nutrition deficiency.
Piled-up grit can also lead to improper food digestion, it also can prevent the parrot from getting enough fluids, and might lead the improper kidneys function. High uric acid and high calcium levels can also lead to blood poisoning and bone problems.
And many more symptoms that can lead to death with ease.
If you feed your parrot grit you should be aware that grit could pile up in a matter of one month or maybe less, and then you will start seeing some symptoms occurring with your parrot.
So, if feed grit to your parrot you must stop right away, and if the symptoms started to appear you should take your vet to the vet as fast as possible, don’t wait on it, it won’t get better the grit is inside and won’t go out.
Besides that, the vet won’t do surgery on your parrot to remove the grit, all he can do is to provide your parrot with fluids and pray for the grit to pass out from its own.
So, it’s a huge risk, and you better avoid it.
Is There Any Type of Parrot That Needs Grit?
No, there is no type of parrot that needs to have grit in its diet to digest food. And they are all going to be exposed to health problems when adding grit to their diet. So as an owner, you don’t need it and you should avoid it.
Some owners might link between the size of the parrot and the need for the grit, thinking that smaller breeds of parrots need the grit to digest food, and this idea is totally wrong. There is no need for grit with all types of parrots, whether it is a small budgie or a large Hyacinth macaw.
In conclusion, all types of parrots do not need grit in their diet. They already have a digestive system and feeding pattern to make independent on grit. And adding it to their meal can lead to suffering from serious health problems just like what we mentioned earlier.
So, stay away from grit, and if you have another type of pet bird and you don’t whether he needs grit or no, you can search for it online and I will be glad to help you with that just right what is your bird species in the comment section.
And yes, that’s about it, hope you find this article informative and easy to digest, thank you for reading…