Owning a parrot means feeding that parrot a healthy diet to ensure a long, healthy life. The parrot food you choose can make a big difference in the amount of energy and vitality your parrot will enjoy as well as how many years the parrot will live.
Parrots are mainly seed-eating, fruit-eating and/or insect eating birds. The parrots need a variety of flavors and textures to keep them entertained, but also need a well balanced diet of fruits and vegetables to help keep them healthy.
The Basic Parrot Food
Little was known about parrot food when parrots first become pets. People thought parrots lived only a few years, perhaps 20 or 30, but no one thought that large species of parrots could live to be over 100 years of age. Today, we know that with healthy, well-selected parrot food, even a small Parakeet can live 15 years or more, Cockatiels have been recorded reaching 29 years of age, and one African Grey in Alaska was documented as being 112 years old when it died.
Parrot food, for the basic, staple diet, comes in either pellets or seed mix. Many people prefer the pellets but if the parrot won’t accept pellets, a good seed mix will work just fine. However, purchased parrot food in seeds or pellets is simply not enough to maintain a parrot’s health and vitality.
Your parrot’s food should be only about 50% seeds or pellets. The rest of the diet should be comprised of fruits, vegetables, and other “people foods”. There are, however, a few people foods that simply can’t be parrot food. These are known as the “seven deadly foods”.
What Food is Toxic to Parrots?
Never allow a parrot to eat any chocolate, avocado, fruit pits, raw meat or poultry, raw eggs, alcohol, or caffeine. These seven deadly foods can kill your precious parrot. You must also limit the parrot’s consumption of any food that is high in salt, fat, or sugar.
Parrots love food that is sweet or high in fat, so sometimes this can be difficult, but limit these foods to prevent obesity. Also, never feed your parrot food that might be spoiled or rancid and always remove fresh foods from the cage or play area before they can possibly spoil.
Many parrots love sharing meals with their human flocks. This is because in the wild, most parrots eat as a social activity. When your parrot sees food you are eating, if it is a tame, loving bird, it wants to taste your food. This is a great way to introduce new foods into your parrot’s diet.
Food That Parrots Love
From personal experience, it is clear that parrots love milk and breakfast cereal. If the cereal happens to be a sugary type, let your bird have some milk and only one or two bites of the actual cereal. If the cereal is a healthy type, you can let the parrot have more bites. Many parrots simply love cheese and eggs. Many of the medium to large parrots love bits of well-cooked meat, poultry, and fish.
They also love to crack a chicken bone and get the marrow out of the bone, which is quite good for them. All vegetables and fruits are good for parrots (except avocado!), as are rice, pasta, potatoes, and just about anything you can imagine that you eat. Just remember, if it is sweet, salty, or high in fat, limit the amount offered.
Purchase parrot food that is fresh and buy only small quantities so it will remain fresh. If your parrot suddenly stops eating a type of parrot food that it has loved in the past, especially if it is eating a seed-based diet, examine the parrot food for insects or bugs. You can test the freshness of the food by planting seeds and checking how many sprout. If few sprout, the food is old and therefore not very nutritious.
The Most Important Parrot Food
Some parrots have long, sharp, curved beaks to help them break open shells of nuts and seeds while others only eat fruits and vegetables that are soft and easy to eat. Some parrots have a high requirement for extra calories, like the Macaw for example.
The Macaw requires large quantities of nuts be added to their diet to assist them with their energy levels and to maintain a healthy system. Parrots on the other hand should be fed very little nuts because they tend to become obese with the addition of the added calories and fat.
Some pet owners believe that feeding a parrot with bird seed is sufficient to maintain their health. They are usually wrong. Few parrots can sustain a healthy system being fed only packaged bird seed. They need to have a steady addition of fresh fruits and vegetables which provides the nutrients that are absolutely essential for them to remain healthy.
Because the nutritional needs of most parrots are not specifically known, it’s difficult to determine exactly what a parrot should be fed. What is known however is that parrots seem to require a steady diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and some form of fiber to remain healthy. Parrots not receiving the proper nutrition will become ill, begin plucking it’s own feathers and give the owner many signs that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.