Q: I know we are supposed feed our birds fruits and vegetables, but which is better for them?
– Elena B., Modesto, CA
A: The most important things to understand about your parrot’s diet are the needs for variety and moderation in EVERYTHING you feed them. Let me explain why…
Fruits and vegetables each have different nutritional values. They are all great in their own way, but they all have something unique to offer the overall diet. When compared, two veggies might both be high in vitamins C and A, which are essential to good health. However, one might be higher in calcium, the other higher in potassium – which is why it is important to include both in the diet. It is the variety in what you serve – day to day, week to week, that assures us that they get the proper balance of ALL the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Varying the diet also prevents us from providng too much or too little in any particular area of need. As strange as it sounds, the diet can be too heavy in certain nutrients and, in some cases, it can be as detrimental to good health as a deficiency.You should always look to avoid extremes and lean towards the moderation of foods with your parrot. If you are doing things the right way, you are offering a little bit of everything from the important food groups.
You asked which should be served with more regularity. The answer is vegetables – hands down. It isn’t that fruits are bad, they have wonderfully healthy ingredients, but they contain a lot water and sugars. Water doesn’t benefit your bird nutritionally. It doesn’t make sense to let your bird fill up on something without value. Fruits also contain a great deal of sugar, which, in excess, can cause health and weight issues.
Vegetables offer more complete and varied nutrition without those detrimental side issues. Taking all things into consideration, vegetables benefit your bird in more ways than fruits.
I don’t want anyone to think I am suggesting that you eliminate fruit from the diet. That is absolutely not what you should do. Instead, limit it. I offer fruits to my birds as treats (it is sweet, after all), or in feedings later in the day once they have eaten their veggies from their morning meal.
TEN FUN FRUIT AND VEGGIE FACTS!
- Fruits with a lot of vitamin C, like oranges, will help your cuts heal faster.
- Olive trees can live for more than 1,500 years
- Pineapples are berries, just like strawberries and blueberries.
- Strawberries are a member of the rose family and all it’s seeds are on the outside.
- There are over 7,000 different types of apples in the world.
- Yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing.
- Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family.
- Pumpkins are 90% water.
- Eating an apple is equivalent to drinking a cup of coffee. Although apples do not have caffeine, the processing of apple carbohydrates gives the body a boost more powerful than caffeine.
- California oranges contain more natural sugar than Florida oranges.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.
Hi,i have a affrican grey parrot.and she like fruit specialy (mango,pineapple and apple)they like juice items.like Orange. and in vegitable they like patato,sweet potato and tomato.. they like chipss cold drink tea and coffe.my Ninni like they all item and i give her properly. african grey parrot like peanuts and Chocolate so much.it is good for them if you giving them that iteam. fruit is full from nutritional soo givem them both iteam. acccording to Weather..thanks..
My 3 ’tiles love the packaged broccoli slaw found in grocery stores. They like it placed on the bottom of their cage either on a flat dish or on newspaper also a some cooked wheat pasta.
My flock, (an eclectus, a quaker and a cockatiel), get far more veggies then fruit. They mainly eat sweet potatoes, peas, corn and edamame (soy beans), but also get peppers, broccoli, potatoes, Romaine and carrots, but they don’t all like these additional things. Some do, some don’t. As for nuts, I’ve heard that peanuts can be dangerous because they can have mold inside the shells. My ekkie LOVES peanuts. I only give them to him ocassionally because of this. He also loves peanut butter. Could you please address address this issue of peanuts in the shell (or out of the shell). Are they dangerous for my birds? Thank you.
My african grey likes chicken leg bones. She cracks them and eats the marrow out of the middle. She likes all types of meat, some cheese and really does not care for fruit. She pretty much eats whatever we have for a meal. She also eats toasts, breads and loves ice cream cones. There are small tots cones that you can buy and then she loves blue bunny banana split. She also gets a seed mix. Seems to be holding her own.
My Lorikeets will go the fruit first where as my Quarrions , Princes , Grass and Scarlets all prefer vegies mostly corn and green leafy veg .
Just a quick note to SANA – i have been told that chocolate , tea and coffee are really bad for birds and have actually known someone whose bird started having fits because of chocolate being given to the bird as treats. I would stop feeding them those things and use something else as a treat. Cheers, Robyn
Hi Kristin Crutcher Sterling. Thanks for all your useful comments! I have a question: I see the picture of the veggies at the top – exactly how small or big do you cut them up? Or DO you cut the veggies up at all? I made the veggie ‘mash’ that Chet and Dave published last spring and froze small tubs of it. My Amazon never seemed to like it. Our Budgie liked it, though. And do you know the diet training that was referred to by someone above> How DOES one introduce new veggies to a bird? Let me know, please. :-)
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