If you own a pet Cockatiel, then you may be wondering about the kinds of foods that you can offer. What about fruit? More specifically grapes? Can these be fed safely to your bird? Intrigued, I decided to conduct some research. Below is what I have been able to find.
So, can Cockatiels eat grapes? Cockatiels can safely consume both seeded and seedless grapes. However, grapes should be fed in moderation due to their high sugar content. It may also be wise to cut the grapes into more manageable pieces that your bird can consume.
While Cockatiels can, and like to eat grapes along with most other fruits and vegetables there are some things you are going to need to know.
Let us now explore the topic further so you know exactly how to manage your birds diet for optimal health and well-being.
Cockatiels and Grapes
Grapes provide a wealth of nutrient and antioxidants that can benefit and support the health and strength of a Cockatiel.
Cockatiels do best and thrive on diet of variety. They generally enjoy a range of foods, which should include a mix of birdseed, pelleted food, vegetables, fruit and the occasional treat.
Veterinarians and bird experts (like Dr Colin Walker) will routinely recommend that fruits, vegetables and greens should be included regularly in the diet. In fact, approximately 20-25% of the daily diet should be accounted for in certain fruits and vegetables.
Without such inclusion, and with a diet that consists primarily of dry seeds, many essential nutrients are likely to be missing. Vitamins such as vitamin A, B, D, E and K are all low in seeds and pelleted foods.
This is where grapes can be a great addition to the diet. Grapes are naturally high in electrolytes whilst being a good source of Vitamins K , Vitamin B6 and Calcium. These are things that Cockatiels need to get in their diet, but normally have a harder time doing so. Grapes serve as a very natural way to obtain some of these essential nutrients.
In particular, calcium needs to be sufficient to prevent osteoporosis and reproductive problems in birds.
Grapes also are rich in compounds that protect against health conditions, cancer and support the normal functioning of the heart and bones. In fact, they are even known to support the natural defense against bacteria and viruses.
Another benefit of grapes is that they are relatively low in calories (just 5 calories per grape) which of course aligns with a Cockatiels naturally lower calorie requirements.
See below, the full list of nutrients, minerals and quantities. The data is provided for 10 grapes (roughly 50 grams):
How Many Grapes Should Be Fed To A Cockatiel?
Grapes should only be provided to your Cockatiel in small and infrequent amounts. Despite all the benefits listed above, they are relatively high in naturally occurring sugars (fructose). While a small amount will provide a good clean, source of energy, in excess can lead to issues.
Firstly, in the short term, over-consumption of grapes or any other fruit can lead to digestive issues and cause runny stool. Too much fructose in one sitting can be difficult for your bird to process.
In the long term, overfeeding grapes can lead to weight management issues. Any sugar that is not used in energy can become stored body fat which is of course, detrimental to the health of your bird.
It is best to start off with small amounts and see how your Cockatiel responds. Smaller quantities can begin with as little as half a grape at a time. From there, you can work your way up in gradual amounts to 1-2 per sitting.
Treat your bird like a young child; offer them a small quantity of a variety of different foods daily and be sure to keep trying.
See how your bird responds; if they are enjoying the fruit and they respond well with no abnormal or erratic behavior and loose stool, you can raise the quantity next time.
All fruits (including grapes) and vegetables must be washed thoroughly before you attempt to feed them to your bird. This is especially true if they are commercial grapes and not from organic sources.
Washing removes all the dirt present and also helps to remove potential chemicals, pesticides and herbicides which may have been used to help grow them. If consumed, these can be toxic to your bird.
If you can, always opt for organic fruit and vegetables. This is generally the safer way to go. If due to cost this is not possible; be sure to wash!
Ways to Feed your Cockatiel Grapes
Seeds and pellets should be the primary source of food in your a Cockatiel’s diet. Their food bowl should be topped up daily and should always be available. Any empty seed hulls should be removed.
- Enriched with DHA, balanced with Omega fatty acids as well as digestive probiotics
- No artificial colors or preservatives
- Gourmet bird seed blend offers more variety, nutrients and fun for your parrots
From there, you should look to feed your bird dark, leafy greens 3-4 times per week. Fruits, like Grapes, should be provided 1-2 times per week.
When feeding grapes to your Cockatiel, then are a generally a couple of ways to do so.
The first is to cut them into small, manageable pieces. Depending on the size of the grape in half, or in quarters is a good place to start.
It is not necessary nor required to take the skin off; however, remember that this is often the source of chemicals and pesticides so if they are commercially grown, removing the skin could be a way to eliminate any exposure.
When you provide fruits and grapes for the first time, you can place them in a separate dish. This will help you to control how much they are eating of any one item, and will also help you to determine whether or not they like to consume a particular food and how they respond to eating it.
If you observe any adverse reaction, or your bird is taking a fancy to one item in particular, you can then effectively stop feeding the item or reduce the quantity of the food provided.
The second way, which works better in time once you can confirm your Cockatiel likes and responds well to grapes, is to mix a number of fruits and vegetables together. This will help to provide a more balanced nutrition, and it also offers variety. The vegetables will help to provide nutrients and fiber for digestion, whereas the fruit will offer minerals and energy. Be sure to include mostly green leafy vegetables with the occasional tropical fruit.
Either way, a well balanced diet must be maintained at all times.
Here are some of the fruits and vegetables you can use in such a medley:
Its a good idea to offer a variety of fruits, and not just the same few. Cockatiels will enjoy fruit so you need to be careful on the amount you offer.
The darker the fruit, generally the more nutrition they provide. Its also good to consider that tropical fruits align more with the type of fruits wild birds in their nautral environments will eat.
With certain fruits, (like apples and cherries) you will need to remove the seeds/pits. These can cause a choking hazard and/or be generally harmful (apple seeds contain cyanide).
- Leafy Greens (including Kale, Spinach, Greens, Swiss Chard)
- Green beans
- Corn (kernels/cob for larger birds)
Fresh vegetables are excellent because they provide nutrition without the calories and sugar. Not all vegetables are wise to offer however. Lettuce for example is fibrous and mostly water without many nutrients.
Leafy greens tend to be the best. Fresh and chopped are good ways to serve along with hanging them from the side of the cage.
Tips to Remember When Feeding your Cockatiel Grapes
This fruit is an awesome treat for your Cockatiel to have occasionally. There are a few things to remember to keep your bird safe as you give them this new treat.
- Grapes are an excellent source of nutrients and antioxidants which can serve the health and longevity of your bird.
- Give your bird grapes in moderation. Fruits should be given 1-2 times per week and in limited quantities.
- Grapes should be viewed as more of a treat, not a meal, they should never displace their regular seed/pellet feed.
- Try mixing them in with a bowl of vegetables (especially dark leafy greens).
- Stop feeding your Cockatiel grapes if you see any problems, adverse reactions, loose or runny stools.
Ultimately, grapes are safe, delicious and versatile; they can be easily incorporated into your birds diet. Give them a try and see for yourself!