There are numerous varieties and species of parrot but one component that they all share is that feeding them a healthy balanced diet helps them have a better quality of life and helps them live longer.
Amongst the scientific community at this present time there isn’t enough information and research to accurately assess the diets of parrots who live long lifetimes in the wild. Experts disagree on the best or optimum pet parrot diet although there is agreement that a seed only diet is not healthy for the vast majority of parrot species. Seeds are high in fat and lack important nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin A. In fact seeds should only contribute about 10% of a parrots’ diet but natural seed eaters such as cockatiels and budgies can handle as much as 25% of seed in their diet.
A more nutritious and balanced component of a parrots’ diet are pellet foods, which are made up from vitamins and minerals, seeds, fruits, vegetables and grains. Due to their inherent high intelligence though, parrots will get bored of eating the same foods daily, they are constantly seeking stimulation. Having said that, pellet food can make up the majority of parrots’ diet, as much as 50 or 60%.
Parrots should be offered fresh produce (fruit and vegetables) and should be presented to the bird ether chopped or in large chunks for larger birds to grab and gnaw on. The ideal situation is for a parrot’s owner to offer the widest variety of diet as possible. Ideal vegetables to feed a parrot are :- corn, eggplant, carrots, sweet peppers, cauliflower, green beans, sweet potatoes and cucumber. Parrots really like fruit as well and a good idea is to try and find tropical fruits that would make up their diet in the wild, fruits such as :- papaya, kiwi, melons, mangos, pomegranates and pineapple. Additionally they enjoy: – apples, cherries, peaches, oranges, bananas and grapes. Owners should take care not to feed their parrots the pips or seeds from the fruits however as these may be toxic. Other foods to avoid as they are also toxic to parrots are: – chocolate or cocoa, mushrooms, caffeine, guacamole, alcohol and avocado. Foods with large amounts of sugar, salt, coloring, additives or preservatives should also be avoided.
Foods such as wheat, pasta, barely, cooked brown rice and oats are an excellent nutrient source for parrots as well as unsweetened whole wheat cereals and whole wheat breads.
Parrots have an intuitive as well as sensitive nature so owners need to put a lot of thought and consideration into the type of diet they provide for their parrot as most problems tend to stem from malnutrition.
As a responsible owner you should understand the importance of your parrots’ dietary requirements and cater for their complete nutritional care.