If you’re like me and like to treat your pet parakeet, then you may be considering bread. Is this a sensible addition to the diet and should you even feeding it? Is it safe for them to eat?
So, can parakeets eat bread? Parakeets can eat bread, but should do so infrequently and in moderation (once per week). You are going to want to feed wholesome, organic whole-grain options and avoid breads with lots of additives like preservatives, sugar and salt which can lead to negative health outcomes.
Feeding your parakeet bread on occasion and in moderation is okay; in excess it can be dangerous. Becoming as educated as possible on what the risks and rewards are when feeding your parakeet bread will go a long way to keeping them safe and healthy.
Is Bread Safe for Parakeets
First and foremost, we must answer the question; is bread safe for parakeets? The answer is, it can be.
If you want to offer bread, it is strongly recommended that you seek out an organic, high-quality, wholemeal bread.
Organic bread will be free from any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers that would have been used in the growth of the grain. This means that there will be many more nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that can help to serve the health of your bird.
In just a 28 gram slice of wholemeal bread, you get the following nutrition:
Secondly, you’re also going to want to be vigilant of where you get your bread from. You’re going to want to check any packaging (or ask you baker) about the ingredients within the loaf itself.
A lot of standard store-bought loaves contain a lot of additives and preservatives, like sugar and salt. The quantities present in bread are enough to harm your bird. Salt in particular can damage your parakeets kidneys. No added salt should therefore be sought.
Therefore, avoid any sweet, heavily-processed breads and select fresh, natural, whole-grain options.
From there, you just need to make the dough, knead it and bake it. You’ll have a warm fresh loaf ready for you, your family and your bird to consume in no time.
Just remember to let the bread cool down before offering it to your bird!
How Much Bread Should Parakeets Eat?
If you would like to feed your parakeet wholemeal bread then you should do so occasionally and in moderation (once per week in limited quantities).
You should not be providing large amounts at any one time like leaving a roll or a small loaf inside the cage. Instead, you will will want to break off a small piece which you can then feed to your bird.
While we can see above that there is some nutrition in wholemeal bread for birds; it should never be a staple within their diet nor something that is solely fed.
Parakeets are vulnerable to obesity, iodine deficiencies, and other nutrition-related problems.
Bread will quickly fill a parakeet’s crop (an organ in your bird that supports digestion) which will signal to their stomachs that they are full. Malnutrition is therefore very likely if too much bread is fed.
Therefore a balanced and varied diet must be given to ensure that they remain healthy:
- Pellets (like this excellent brand on Amazon), should make up the majority of the daily diet
- Seeds – should be fed in moderation
- Fruits (including banana, apples, grapes) should be fed as a treat
- Vegetables (like carrots, spinach and squash) should be fed in moderation, more regularly depending on the type given
Giving Your Parakeet Bread
Wholemeal bread can be a tasty treat for parakeets and they do generally enjoy eating it.
The main benefit for parakeets eating bread is the enjoyment of consumption and that it offers the chance to socialize and bond with you.
With a food like bread, you can sit and feed it to your bird. Take a small part of the crust and hold it out for your bird to peck at.
Your parakeet will then give you visual indicators if they are enjoying it (like singing) or they will show signs that they do not want any or have had enough (disinterest).
Either way, it is important to never force feed any food and to respect your birds preferences and desires.
Can Parakeets Eat Toast or Buttered Bread?
While us humans will soak bread in a variety of condiments and flavors, parakeets do not want or need the same. In fact, this is again where issues can arise.
You do not need, nor should you ever add butter, jam, marmalade, peanut butter, honey or any other type of spreadable to the bread you offer. All of these can be problematic to birds (high in sugar, salt and/or fat) leading to digestive issues, obesity and negative health outcomes.
Toast on the other hand is okay, but should again be fed just as you would with regular bread (small amounts, from an organic wholemeal loaf etc).
Crispbreads are also another variant of bread you can provide. Again, you want to ensure it is salt-free and has not been flavored. Parakeets do enjoy nibbling at crumbly foods, so crispbreads can be a good choice of treat.
One caveat is that bread can serve as a vehicle to provide medication to your birds. If they are poorly or need to consume medication, you can hide and conceal it within the bread. As bread soaks up moisture very well, it is ideal for liquid medication.
This is a good way that you can ensure that your bird is receiving the medication it needs, without being able to dismiss it or neglect it when giving in alternate ways.
Parakeets can eat bread, so long as it is organic wholemeal and given in moderation. Once per week and in small quantities is enough to treat your bird.
While feeding bread is not going to give them the nutrition they need to thrive, its not the worst thing that you can offer. There are some nutrients and minerals, plus feeding the bread yourself and directly offers you the chance to socialize and bond with your bird.
Purchasing a bread with limited additives, preservatives, salt and sugar can be a challenge. Baking your bread is a good solution to the problem – you, your family and your parakeet can then enjoy a more wholesome, safe and nutritious loaf once it has had the chance to cool down.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.