When people start raising parrots as household pets, they will notice that their lovely birds are always interested in trying all types of food. This behavior can lead owners to confusion about what they should allow their parrots to eat and what’s not. Besides that, parrots don’t have the self-alarming sense that notifies them about bad food, so it’s possible for them to consume any type of food that is rotten, bad, or even toxic.
And in most cases, this will lead to health problems and complications, and in extreme cases, death is strongly expected
And in this article, we will dive into what parrots can eat and what they should stay away from. So, grab your cup of coffee and continue reading…
So, What Do Parrots Eat?
Parrots in general are able to eat almost any type of food owners can provide, but in all cases, unusual food like bread or pasta won’t suffice the nutritional need of the bird, like seeds and nuts do if eaten. So, parrots usually eat seeds, nuts, sprouts, veggies, and fruits.
However, seeds and nuts are the most important ingredients in any parrot’s diet, whether in the wild or in captivity. Some breeds, like Eclectus parrot, that thrive mostly on eating juicy fruits and veggies, and thus they are frugivores. Unlike other breeds who considered granivores because of their tendencies to eat seeds and nuts as the main source of the nutrients they need.
Apart from that, there is one breed of mostly carnivore parrot that thrives mostly on eating meat along with some vegetation and this breed is the Kea of New Zealand.
What Are The Essential Nutrients Parrots Need?
Parrots, just like any other living being, need different nutrients at different levels depending on the breed, and in general, parrots need carbohydrates at certain levels just to support their energy requirements. They also need minerals and vitamins to keep the healthy functioning of their internal organs and the whole body.
Protein, fat, and dietary fiber are required as well along with the previous nutrients, and depending on the breed of the parrot, seeds, nuts, fruits, veggies, legumes, and sprouts can suffice the nutritional needs of any breed of parrot.
What Should I Feed My Pet Parrots?
One important problem with having a pet parrot is the fact that pet parrots are prone to suffer from nutritional deficiency, and this is not because of the owners lacking the required experience to serve nutrient food to the bird, but because of the unique diet required for the parrot to suffice its needs.
Here is a fact about the food for pet parrots and it’s that whatever owners serve to their birds and whatever companies produce of dietary formulas for parrots, there is nothing guaranteed in serving healthy and sufficient food. The best pet parrots can have is just something as close as 80% of their food in the wild.
However, this doesn’t mean that pet parrots will always suffer from a deficient diet, and the key here is to serve diverse food that includes the main ingredient of seeds and nuts, at least for most parrots along with some fruits, veggies, legumes, and sprouts variations.
Seeds And Nuts
Seeds and nuts are essential ingredients in almost all breeds of parrots, or at least for the granivore breeds that make up to 90% of captive pet parrots. Even with the minority of parrots that could thrive without seeds and nuts as the main ingredient, they still need them in their diet to suffice the dietary requirements. Here are some recommended seeds and nuts for your bird:
- Chia Seeds
- Brazil nuts
- pecans nuts
- pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- sesame seeds
- Corn (dried)
- Flax seeds
- Hemp seed
- Millet (red, yellow, white)
- Oats (whole)
- Wheat groats
These are only a few of what parrots can eat to get their adequate amount of protein and fat, there are a lot of different types of seeds and nuts that parrots can eat like the seeds of most fruits. However, choosing a few types of these seeds and nuts and mixing them simultaneously can make a good diet system for the bird.
Fruits And Veggies
Fruits and veggies are important sources for parrots to get what they need of vitamins and minerals. And here are some of the good fruits and veggies for parrots to eat:
- Melons, Water melons, Stone melon
- Citrus fruits
- Passion fruit
- Dragon fruit
Legumes are a type of food any parrot can consume safely. owners can serve legumes after soaking them for a few days because dried legumes can pose a danger to the parrot’s beak and can break it with ease, especially if the parrot is small-sized. You can serve sprouted legumes to the bird as well. In both cases, legumes are high in nutritional value and can benefit any parrot after consumption. Here are some of the good legumes for parrots:
- Adzuki Beans
- Mung Beans
- Red lentils
- Green Lentils
- French Lentils
Sprouts are basically seeds that are already growing. They are a very convenient source of nutrients for the bird to consume. Sprouting is something owners can do using the seeds they normally serve to the bird. It starts by soaking the seeds and serving them to the bird after a few days, after making sure that the sprouts are intact and not rotten.
Foods You Should Never Serve To Parrots
Some types of table food and fruits and veggies you should avoid them when feeding your parrot because of the probability of getting the parrot intoxicated and potentially putting the bird’s life at risk. And these dangerous foods include:
- meat, at least as a main ingredient
- heavily processed food
- Chocolate and cacao
- milk and dairy products
- peanut butter
- some fruit seeds and pits like apples
- any food that is for humans
Some of these types of food are safe for parrots to try, but they could be toxic if eaten excessively and could lead to death, and the best choice here is to avoid them and never think about serving them to the bird. Besides that, parrots are naturally interested in every type of food, so owners should be careful and never allow their birds to get closer to any kind of food that leads to intoxication.
Do Parrots Need Supplements?
We mentioned earlier that captive or pet parrots are mostly suffering from an insufficient diet system, and this is because of the uniqueness of their natural diet in their wild habitat. So, yes, parrots need some supplements to achieve the adequate amount of nutrients they need.
However, some owners might use commercial supplements powder and oils that are expensive and in most cases, are not necessary, and instead of them owners can use a variety of veggies and fruits that will make up most of the nutritional requirement for the parrot.
How Much Food Do Parrots Need?
In the wild, baby parrots eat partly digested food served by their parents. The parents usually fly and look for food and gather it inside their crops, which is an organ that is usually used to digest tough food like seeds and nuts.
After the parents gather enough food and on the way back to the nest, the food will get partly digested, and then the parents will regurgitate the food into the baby’s beaks.
Anyway, the babies in captivity eat in a different way, which is using commercially formulated food that has a relatively close texture to the food that the parents serve in usual circumstances.
What Do Wild Parrots Eat?
In the wild, parrots eat a lot of different types of food like fruits, veggies, sprouts, flowers, seeds, nuts, etc. Depending on the parrot breed some types of food are preferable to the bird like the Eclectus parrot which eats mostly on top of the trees which makes it close to the fruits of the trees. Unlike the cockatoo parrot, which eats mostly on the ground, it makes sense if you know that the cockatoo thrives mostly on eating seeds that it finds on the ground.
Besides that, parrot in wild usually eats insects, they don’t hunt for them, but if they find some insects, they will eat them.
Parrots are known to eat a lot of different types of food like fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, legumes, and sprouts, and sometimes they could eat bugs. Eating bugs is common for wild parrots. However, parrots in captivity need to have their owners’ supervision about what they eat, as some foods can lead them to suffer from serious health issues, and this is only in good scenarios cases. Sometimes parrots can eat types of food that could lead to death after going through pain and agony.
And yes, that’s about it. I hope you found this article informative and easy to digest. Thank you for reading…
Hello, my name is sadeq and I am obsessed about parrot And I am here to share everything about raising pet parrots and how to be good owners to your bird.