We all like to treat our cockatiels. And we always seem to have certain foods left over or that we think our bird would like. But what about cucumber? Is this healthy for them to eat and is it something we can be looking to provide? I spent some time researching to find out how suitable it really is in the diet of this small, colorful parrot.
So, can cockatiels eat cucumber? Cockatiels can eat all parts of a cucumber (flesh, skin and seeds), with many enjoying the taste and texture. However, cucumber is mostly water and lacks any real nutrition, so it should be fed in small serving sizes and in moderation – once per week is generally advised.
Despite often being seen as a vegetable, the cucumber is actually a fruit. It can be confusing to consider them this way due to their green coloring and lack of sugar/sweetness.
But its down to how they are grown and how they are classified.
Nevertheless, there are certainly some favorable qualities of it – and it is generally safe to offer.
Let us now take a closer look at how nutritious cucumber is for cockatiels, and most importantly, do these birds even enjoy eating it.
We’ll then look more closely at the different parts that are safe for your cockatiel to consume.
Lastly, we’ll be covering serving sizes and how to prepare it; so be sure to keep on reading if you have some spare lying around and want to know exactly how to approach offering it.
Is Cucumber Good For Cockatiels?
Cucumber is generally good for cockatiels, when given in appropriate serving sizes, in moderation and prepared for properly.
Thankfully, this fruit does not naturally contain any toxins or poisons which can be dangerous to this bird, such as the case with other foods including: avocados, rhubarb, chocolate and several different plant leaves.
That being said; one potential concern is the skin. We will look at this is the next section.
But generally, with careful sourcing or proper preparation, this is not something you should need to worry about.
One other thing to consider however, is that the majority of a cucumber is water. In fact, up to 96% of it is.
While cockatiels do need a certain amount of water, overhydration is definitely possible and too much water is as dangerous as too little.
Equally, these birds do best with variety in the diet. It enables them to get access to more nutrients, vitamins and minerals that support a range of bodily functions.
This is why pelleted feed comes so strongly recommended by avian vets. It provides balanced nutrition, which is why you will so often see recommendations for 80% of the diet to come from a high quality pellet feed.
The other 20% should come from fresh fruits, vegetable and seeds; this 20% is where cucumbers should fit in.
Besides, cucumbers are generally quite low in vitamins and minerals, and are lacking if they were to be fed exclusively on their own.
Let us now take a closer look at the nutritional breakdown of this green fruit to see why:
Nutritional Content of Cucumber
|Vitamin K||16.4 µg|
|Vitamin C||2.8 mg|
As you can see there is some nutrition available. Although the quantities are quite low, especially when you start to compare them to some other fruits and vegetables.
So, while this is definitely a good food for cockatiels, it should never be overfed or given at the expense of variety in the diet.
Can Cockatiels Eat Cucumber Skin?
Cockatiels can eat cucumber skin, or the peel, so long as it has been thoroughly and carefully washed and scrubbed, or you purchase an organic cucumber to begin with.
Unfortunately, cucumbers along with a number of other fruits and vegetables, can contain harmful pesticides which are not good for any bird when ingested.
If you are able to purchase organic options, then this is certainly the easiest way to bypass them altogether.
Otherwise, washing, scrubbing, peeling and rinsing are the best ways to reduce them. In fact, this study showed up to a 95% reduction by peeling.
Your other main option is to leave a cucumber in a solution of apple cider vinegar and water to soak for a period of 5 minutes. This will help remove the pesticides, but it does require additional effort.
Nevertheless, by being aware and either purchasing organic or with proper preparation, pesticides are not something that you will need to worry about.
Do Cockatiels Like Cucumber?
Cockatiels generally enjoy cucumber. There are many reports from owners whom get a really positive response when they offer it to their bird.
Besides, it has a subtle, gentle taste and is relatively easy for a bird to eat because it is so soft in texture.
That being said, there is always the possibility that a cockatiel will not like it, and may ignore it altogether.
And due to the general lack of nutrition, if you do offer it to your bird only to find it is ignored, this is not something you need to offer going forward.
But if they do look to really enjoy it, you can certainly look to offer it as a treat.
How Much Cucumber Can Cockatiels Eat?
You can look to offer your cockatiel freshly cut cucumber, once or twice per week. One small slice, a couple of inches thick, is generally enough at each serving.
As you can see, cockatiels do not need much at a time.
In fact, it is overproviding this food that you are more likely to run into issues.
This is mostly due to the high water content.
Too much cucumber can induce a condition known as polyuria (watery droppings). It is not usually something to worry about if it is temporary, although if it goes on for more than 2 days it could indicate a problem (or you are offering too many watery foods) and will require the support of an avian vet.
Too much cucumber is also likely fill up your bird and can displace other, more healthy fruits and vegetables from being consumed.
That being said, this higher water content can be beneficial in certain contexts.
For instance, during certain times and seasons of the year, or the general condition of your cockatiel.
If its particularly hot, then providing cucumber may even be advantageous and an additional way to increase their water intake and keep them sufficiently hydrated.
For birds that do not tend to drink much it can be particularly helpful.
Other than this, cucumbers are an appropriate treat for overweight cockatiels.
Being so low in calories, sugar and fat – this ensures they cannot contribute to the problem and can help their overall energy intake.
Either way, this is a fruit that should be offered in moderation.
And just like any new food introduced to the diet, it should be done slowly.
How to Feed Cucumber To Your Cockatiel
Feeding cucumber to a cockatiel is relatively easy and straightforward. Its also quite versatile which enables you to offer it in a few different ways.
First and foremost, you’ll want to seek out an organic option at the store.
Failing this, you’ll want to ensure you wash the cucumber using clean water before serving. You should also consider peeling or soaking the cucumber too. These will all reduce any dirt, germs or pesticide residue.
Another thing to consider is how you store the cucumber. You’ll want to keep the cucumber refrigerated, and look to offer it to your bird sooner rather than later.
You do not want to offer your bird any cucumber, or any other fruit and vegetable that is mushy or moldy. This indicates that Mycotoxins (mold-causing fungi) have begun to develop on the food as it decomposes.
So, assuming it is fresh, you’ll want to begin by offering a small amount. This way, you can see how your tiel responds and if they like the food.
A thinly, cut slice of cucumber is a good place to start.
You do not have to remove the seeds, as these are one of the more nutritious parts and are soft and easy for your bird to eat.
Place the slice in your birds feeding dish. You can do this either on its own or mix it in with other foods to form a bird ‘salad’.
From there, see how your bird responds.
Are they eating it all up? Is there are preference for it? These are just some questions to consider.
Give it some time to see if your cockatiels digestive system can process it without issue.
If your cockatiel looks to enjoy the cucumber, and watery stools was not experienced, then you can continue to offer your bird cucumber going forward, 1-2x per week (several days apart).
Cockatiels can certainly eat cucumber. It does have some favorable qualities – being low in energy, easy to digest, appetizing and being relatively cheap and versatile.
That being said, there are definitely some things to consider.
Always ensure it is fed in moderation and no more than 1-2x per week.
It unfortunately does not contain much nutrition, and the high water content can be a problem (especially if other high water fruits and vegetables are offered too).
Organic cucumber is best.
Otherwise you will need to wash it thoroughly and even consider peeling.
From there, just ensure it is fresh and wholesome, and cut up to make it easy for your bird to eat.