Are you wondering just What do parrots eat? It's a good idea to know something about this subject, if you're considering adopting one of these fascinating birds as a pet.
There are many types of parrots in different parts of the world, and not all of them have exactly the same diet. These colorful birds are known to be highly intelligent and can imitate human voices and, as a result, are highly prized as pets. If you do decide to adopt a parrot as a pet, remember that their life span can be very long and they can demand quite a bit of care.
In their natural environments, not all types of parrots eat the same things. Plants are the most common elements of their diet, but some parrots eat insects, grubs or even animals, while others are specialized to eat nectar and pollen.
The main food of most wild parrots, though, is seeds; their beaks are adapted for crushing and consuming seeds and nuts, as well as peeling fruit. Like our fingernails, parrot beaks are made of keratin, and they grow continuously as they are worn down by use in eating.
So, what do pet parrots eat? Well, feeding your pet parrot won't be too hard to do, but there are some foods you must be careful to avoid.
Parrots Like What We Like
When it comes to planning a parrot's diet, you'll find that parrot food needs are somewhat similar to human dietary needs. Parrots should eat a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. And, like humans, they should stay away from highly processed foods high in sugar or fat. Junk food is no better for parrots than it is for us.
When choosing fruit and vegetables for your parrot's food, be sure to go organic in order to limit the amount of pesticides. Make sure you thoroughly wash out your parrot's feeding dishes after serving fresh foods; you don't want your parrot to eat spoiled food that may be contaminated with dangerous bacteria or fungi. Take the same care when feeding your parrot as you do with the human members of your family.
Parrots can eat eggs and meat, but just as with human babies or toddlers, there is a danger of choking. If you want to give meat to your pet parrot, you will need to cut any pieces of meat very, very finely so that your parrot does not choke on them. Many pet parrot owners feel that it's best to avoid feeding your parrot meat, simply to avoid the choking hazard. If your parrot is determined to take a bite of your chicken sandwich, you can feel good about peeling off a tiny sliver for your feathered friend. Just make sure it's not a big hunk that may cause problems. Most parrots adore eggs; when you make yourself a veggie omelet in the morning, be sure to make enough to share a bit with your pet.
One commonly overlooked favorite food of pet parrots is cooked pasta. Most parrots love a few al dente noodles, especially when served with some cooked zucchini and other classic Italian vegetables. When you're making your own traditional Italian-style meal, make sure you cook a little extra for your pet parrot.
Go Easy on the Seed
Everyone knows parrots love seeds and nuts, but it can be easy to overdo these in your pet’s diet. Nuts and seeds are high in fat; too many of these can cause serious health problems in parrots fed a primarily seed-based diet. To add years (literally) to your parrot's life expectancy, be sure to feed your parrot a diet made up primarily of pellet parrot food, supplemented by a healthy portion of fresh fruit and vegetables. Use seeds and nuts sparingly as rewards when you are training your parrot.
Foods to Avoid
Dairy products are questionable at best for most parrots. While your parrot may love dipping his beak into your cereal bowl and slurping down your milk, you may end up with a bird with the runs later on. Monitor your bird's droppings after your pet eats dairy products. And also watch for signs of agitation; a bird suffering with an upset tummy may be loud and demanding, or he may hide and resist social interaction. Most parrot owners decide to simply avoid feeding dairy products to their pets, rather than take the risk of abdominal upset.
There are several foods, though, that are definitely off limits for parrots. Be sure not to feed your parrot chocolate, avocado, raw onion or raw eggplant. In addition, parrots should not eat or drink any caffeine or alcohol, so don't share your coffee with your pet parrot. Chocolate, coffee and tea all contain theobromine, a substance similar to caffeine that can cause excitability and rapid heart rate in parrots, leading to death, so avoid decaffeinated versions of these substances. While you are bound to hear stories of parrots that have tolerated these foods in small quantities, parrot deaths have been attributed to all of these foods.
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