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Feeding Your Parrot

beautiful parrot eating from a white cup

Diet is a critical aspect of a parrot’s health as well as its overall happiness and well being. Being highly intelligent creatures, parrots require mental stimulation as the lack of it leads to the most common behavioral problems. In the wild, foraging and ferreting-out of food is one of the main activities that occupy a parrot’s time. They are able to eat a great variety of foods with some requiring a bit of work to get it.

Parrots in captivity or those kept as pets has no such challenge presented to them. Food is usually presented ready to eat in bowls. The kind of food matters in the same way as the manner of presentation. Therefore, it is necessary that healthy foods are provided in a variety of interesting and challenging ways.

Parrots in captivity or those kept as pets has no such challenge presented to them. Food is usually presented ready to eat in bowls. The kind of food matters in the same way as the manner of presentation. Therefore, it is necessary that healthy foods are provided in a variety of interesting and challenging ways.

One main thing that has to be considered by parrot owners is that parrots were not born to eat seed alone. Their diets vary according to the species and the place from which the species evolved in. Parrots should be given fruits and vegetables that are always well-washed and organic, if possible. These foods will complete the right parrot diet along with seeds and manufactured pellets.

As a general rule, anything that is healthy for human consumption can be shared with a pet parrot. As in all things, there are of course exceptions such as those that are high in salt or sugar. It is not easy to convert a parrot to a healthy diet especially if it has been accustomed otherwise. Parrots are also naturally suspicious of new things. It might take several attempts at different times and in different ways before a certain food is even considered by the parrot as something worth trying. Chocolate, alcohol, rhubarb and avocado should never be given to birds.

Wild parrots, in a sense, “waste’ a lot of food by letting it fall to the ground or flinging it in the air. This wastage actually helps to replant the forest and provide food to ground dwelling species. Thus, most parrots would treat his owner’s home as the forest and do the same. A messy parrot is said to be a happy one.

A healthy and complete parrot diet should be made-up of quality protein, Vitamin A vegetables, other vegetables and fruits, whole grains and carbohydrates. Examples of quality proteins include very hard-boiled eggs, well-cooked chicken, white fish, turkey, very lean meat, brown rice, enriched pasta, corn, nuts and various cooked beans. Commercially produced meal worms or insects larvae can be a good source of protein for some birds. However, this kind of food should be a given in limited quantity for parrots due to its high fat content. Extruded or pelleted diets especially manufactured for parrots are a good source of protein but in no way should be considered a total diet.

Vitamin A is essential for optimum skin and feather condition, eyesight and helps the body fight infection. Some good sources of Vitamin A are the green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, watercress, parsley and green peppers; yellow orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, butternut squash, red peppers and pumpkin; and fruits such as peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, papaya and sour red cherry. Other vegetables and fruits that may not be high in Vitamin A but provide other nutritional value and psychological benefits are corn on the cob, peas in the pod, bean sprouts, cauliflowers, grapes, banana, berries, pineapples and others.

Whole grains may come in the form of whole grain bread or toast, low sugar or unsweetened cereals, whole grain pastas, oat bran and crackers. Carbohydrates come from fruits, pasta, grains, bran, corn, beans, potatoes and peas. Dairy, nuts and seeds provide parrot the small amount of fat needed in the diet.