Proper Parrot Nutrition

Proper Pet Bird Diet

Approximately 80% of most medical conditions in pet birds are due to poor nutrition. In the wild, parrots are natural foragers. They will eat whatever happens to be in season or available. An all-seed diet is not a healthful diet for your pet bird. Their diet normally consists of fruits, vegetables, seeds, insects, or whatever else they can find.

To ensure a healthy, long life for your pet bird you must know the proper diet to provide. A pellet or nugget diet is much more healthful. They provide your bird with an assortment of essential nutrients. However, a pellet-only diet still does not provide complete nutrition. Your bird also needs to have fresh fruits and vegetables. Most foods that are healthful for you are healthful for your bird. A balanced diet should include pellets and something from each of the four major food groups. You can still offer seeds as a treat, but, they should be as treats only. You'll want to limit dairy products to a minimum because a bird cannot digest dairy products the way humans can.

Poisonous Foods To Avoid
Avocados, caffeine, chocolate, rhubarb, alcohol, sugar and salt are toxic to birds. Anything containing these ingredients should be avoided entirely. So, when I say avocados, that means no guacamole! Birds cannot excrete salt the way humans can so, avoid anything salty. A guide to go by is ... if it's junk-food for humans, it's junk-food for birds.

Healthful fruits & veggies for you bird.    

  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • kale
  • mustard greens
  • peas
  • peppers
  • squash
  • yams (cooked only)
  • zucchini

Some healthful fruits for your bird:
Fruit seeds of any kind are poisonous!

  • apples
  • apricots
  • bananas
  • berries
  • cantaloupe
  • cherries
  • figs
  • grapefruit (limit citrus)
  • grapes
  • kiwi
  • mango
  • papaya
  • peaches
  • watermelon


Poor nutrition and Fatty Liver Disease
Some bird owners don't do enough research before they acquire a pet bird. When it comes to nutrition, most people fail to provide a healthful diet. A diet full of seeds is not healthy for your pet bird. An adult parrot's diet should contain between 10 - 15% fat. Safflower and sunflower seeds and peanuts contain about 40% fat. Too many seeds in his/her diet can cause Fatty Liver Disease. The birds' liver tissue is replaced with fat and the bird progressively becomes ill.


  • Your bird's abdomen may appear distended due to an enlarged liver- the liver is enlarged due to excessive fatty deposits. Therefore, decreasing the space in the body cavity and resulting in breathing difficulties.
  • Your bird may develop diarrhea. His/her droppings may appear to be a more greenish color because of the bile called biliverdin being excreted.
  • Poor feather quality and changes in the feather coloration. African Greys may develop red feathers in areas that are usually gray. (Not to be confused with Red Factored Greys).
  • Dry itchy skin. It takes a while for the itching to stop once the liver .problems have been resolved.
  • Some birds may get soft areas around the beak, overgrown beaks or claws.
  • End-stage liver disease: toxins build up in the bloodstream, resulting in central nervous systems problems such as seizures.
  • Clotting problems may occur. A simple broken blood feather may result in prolonged, life-threatening bleeding
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