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How Do I Choose the Best Parrot Food?

By Amber Eberle
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Parrots are friendly, animated birds that many people choose to keep as pets. These birds typically live for many years, and a healthy diet can extend their life expectancy. In the wild, a parrot eats a wide variety of different types of food. An owner of a parrot should plan to feed the bird many different things to keep it happy and healthy. The best parrot food usually consists of pellets designed for birds, as well as a mix of fresh vegetables, protein, whole grains, and a small amount of fruit.

Parrots are very smart birds that enjoy, and require, a varied diet when kept as pets. A number of pet supply stores sell bags of food pellets that are designed for parrots. These pellets are dried food that provides most of the nutrients that a parrot requires. While these can sustain a parrot, and should be a part of its diet, a variety of other parrot food is recommended for optimal health and happiness of the bird.

Vegetables should be provided for a parrot on a daily basis. Most species of the birds enjoy eating vegetables, and the nutrients help them grow and stay healthy. Foods such as broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and squash can be fed to a parrot, and frozen vegetables may be used after they have thawed. The vegetables should be chopped into small enough pieces for a parrot to ingest safely.

Protein is an important part of a parrot's diet, and items such as chicken, fish, and eggs can be used as parrot food. High protein foods should be given to a parrot once or twice a week. Most of a parrot's required protein is contained in bird pellets, but the addition of fresh protein adds extra nutrients, as well as keeping the bird's diet interesting. Too much protein should be limited in a parrot's diet, however, as it may harm the bird's kidneys.

A well-rounded parrot diet also contains whole grains. Items that make a good parrot food include whole grain oatmeal, rice, and breads. In addition to whole grains, a parrot may enjoy fruit. While apples, grapes, and bananas can enhance parrot food, fruit should not be given regularly, as it is high in sugar, but it makes a good treat for the bird.

A parrot typically enjoys optimal health with a varied diet. A bird is generally also happiest when it is presented with many different things to eat. Fresh foods for a parrot should only be left out for a short amount of time to prevent spoilage, so any uneaten bits should be discarded to avoid illness.

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Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On May 19, 2014

One of my friends has a couple of small parrots, and she feeds them a lot of different foods. She keeps a bag of mixed vegetables all the time, for variety, and even bakes them something she calls "birdy bread." She puts veggies, greens, eggs (shell and all), chopped fruit and wheat germ in a cornbread mix and bakes it all up. Those birds go bonkers when she gets the birdy bread out of the freezer. They love it. I don't know how they know the difference between the TV dinners and the birdy bread, but they do.

She said parrots need a diet as varied as a human's, and she spends a lot of time working on that.

By Grivusangel — On May 19, 2014

And every parrot has its preferences. Some love broccoli, while some won't touch it. Most of them will eat seeds all day, but these should only be a small part of the diet, as occasional treats.

A responsible parrot owner also knows the foods that parrots should never eat. Among these are chocolate and avocado. These are highly toxic to birds.

Some parrots also enjoy the occasional piece of dry pasta, and it can be very funny to watch a parrot working on a piece of elbow macaroni, or a ziti tube.

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