What do parrots eat? It's a good idea to know if you're considering one as a pet. Feeding parrots isn't too hard to do, but there are some foods you must avoid.
Parrots Like what We Like
When it comes to planning a parrot's diet, you'll find that parrot food needs are similar to human dietary needs. Parrots should eat a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. They should stay away from highly processed foods high in sugar or fat.
When choosing fruit and vegetables for parrot food, be sure to go organic to limit the amount of pesticides. Make sure you thoroughly wash out parrot 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, although you will need to cut pieces of meat very, very finely so your parrot does not choke on them. 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 commonly overlooked parrot favorite 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 meal, make sure you cook a little extra for your parrot.
Go Easy on the Seed
Everyone knows parrots love seeds and nuts, but it can be easy to overdo these. Nuts and seeds are high in fat; this causes serious health problems in parrots fed a seed-based diet. To literally add years to your parrot's life expenctancy, 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 as rewards when you are training your parrot.
Foods to Avoid
Dairy products are questionable for most parrots. While your parrot may love dipping his beak into your cereal bowl and slurping down your milk, you may have a bird with the runs later on. Monitor your bird's droppings after eating dairy products. Watch for signs of agitation also; a bird with an upset tummy may be loud and demanding or may hide and resist social interaction. Most parrot owners simply avoid dairy products rather than take the risk of abdominal upset.
There are several foods that are definitely off limits for parrots. Do not feed your parrot chocolate, avocado, raw onion or raw eggplant. 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 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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