If you’re looking to offer a treat to your pet parrot, then you may be wondering if you can offer bread. Does it make a healthy treat or can it pose a risk to your bird. Intrigued, I decided to do some research. Here is what I have been able to find.
So, can parrots eat bread? Yes, parrots can eat certain types and kinds of bread. Bread that you can give your parrot include organic, whole-grain and low sodium options. You are also going to want to ensure that the bread you feed is free from high levels of sugar and salt. However, bread should only be feed infrequently, in small quantities and should be sufficiently broken up to help your bird(s) consume it.
Feeding your parrot a small piece of bread every now and again can be a nice way to treat your bird. However, the wrong types or in excess it can be dangerous.
Let us now take a closer look at this type of food, the options available and how to go about safely offering it to your bird.
Is Bread Safe For Parrots?
Before we begin, we need to address the question; is bread safe for parrots? The answer is, it can be.
This is because not all bread is the same. Not all brands prepare their bread same way nor do they all contain the same ingredients.
You must consider that bread for humans typically contains a lot of preservatives to keep it fresh, for longer. While this may (or may not) have adverse health affects for us as humans – consider that your bird may or may not be able to process them in the same way.
Therefore, if you want your bird to be as healthy as can be, it is strongly recommended that you seek out the highest quality bread possible.
So, for example, you should be looking to offer an organic, low-sodium, wholemeal bread.
Organic bread is free from pesticides or synthetic fertilizers that are used in growing the initial grains.
Another benefit to a higher quality bread is that it will contain many more nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. All of which can support the health of your bird(s).
For example, here is the nutrition you can find in one slice (26g) of organic wholemeal bread:
When it comes to purchasing bread for your bird, there are some things you can do.
Firstly, check the packaging of bread (or ask the baker) about how the bread is made and what ingredients are included.
You need to be careful as a lot of bread that you can buy in stores contain a lot of sugar, salt, preservatives and additives.
Salt in particular, in excess can cause health issues in your parrot. Avian experts and vets have even reported that excess salt causes damage to a birds kidneys.
So, you should seek out many of the popular store bought brands. Those that are heavily processed should be generally avoided.
Instead, look for fresh, natural, organic options.
Another excellent, perhaps better option, is to make your own bread for your birds (and for yourself to consume too!).
Bread is simple and easy to make. All you need to do is weigh out some flour, mix in some yeast. Knead the ingredients, let it sit and then bake.
Of course you’ll need to let the bread cool down before you serve it to your parrot.
So as you can see, bread can be “safe” or “unsafe” – it depends entirely on what you serve.
Why Bread Should Be Fed In Moderation
As we can see above, certain bread is safe and can be somewhat healthy. Better options will provide some nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
However, bread should always be fed on occasion and in limited quantities. Here is why.
Bread does not provide the full range of nutrients a parrot requires to thrive. Equally, bread will easily fill up their stomach, reducing hunger and displacing their other healthy food.
If your parrot was to consume too much bread, they could go on to develop nutritional deficiencies and ailments – such as obesity and malnutrition.
For example, birds require a certain amount of protein to develop their muscles and feathers, dietary fat for energy and specific vitamins and minerals (not found in bread) for optimal functioning.
Do Parrots Like Bread?
Parrots are known to enjoy bread and other similar bread based foods. Its very appealing to them, and they particularly like consuming breadcrumbs.
However, this is not reason in of itself to feed it regularly to your bird.
You may even find that your parrot does not like eating bread. Birds, like us humans, do have their own personal preferences. While generally it is enjoyed, not all birds necessarily will.
Offering your bird a small piece of bread will give you an understanding of whether they like it. If the bread is ignored, then you have a clear sign that they are not interested in this food.
For a bird, bread should never make up a considerable proportion of their diet. While it can fill their stomach and provide some nutrition, it does not give them all of the nutrition that they need.
As mentioned previously, bread comes in a variety of ways, types and is prepared differently.
Let us now take a quick look at the types of bread and what you can/should feed and what you should not.
Types of Bread and What To Feed
It should be perfectly safe to offer your parrot low-sodium bread in moderation.
To prevent any chance of suffocation, it is advised to make bread crumbs out of the bread before serving. This will equally help your bird to digest the bread and prevent it from sitting in their stomachs.
Providing access to a small dish of water will also give your bird an opportunity to help swallow the bread.
Here are some of the most popular types of bread and what you can look to/cannot look to feed:
Providing white bread for your parrot has no real benefit. It will fill your birds stomach without any nutritional benefit whatsoever.
A very small amount of breadcrumbs should be safe, but it is not optimal at all.
Brown bread is slightly more healthy, and the fiber will help to slow the absorption of the carbohydrates – given your bird a more sustained release of energy.
Again, this type of bread is not ideal but a small amount here and then should be safe.
Just be sure to crumble it into small breadcrumbs, and also be sure not to provide it too frequently.
Rye and Sourdough Bread
While Rye Bread is considered one of the healthier types of bread for us humans, it is not a good snack for a parrot.
Rye is minimally processed and does have a lot of fibers, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
However, for a bird it is very difficult for them to digest. Its a very dense bread that will only sit in your parrots stomach for an extended period of time. Therefore you need to be careful when offering it, or avoid it altogether.
Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread options, especially an organic, low sodium variety, is the best to serve to your birds. It contains the most nutrients, minerals and vitamins of all the bread types.
Depending on the thickness and consistency of the bread, it may be hard to consume. Therefore a good way to prepare it is break it up into breadcrumbs and soak them into water. This will prevent your bird from potentially choking.
While this is the healthiest and best bread to serve, be sure to do so only in moderation.
Parrots are able to safely eat bread. However, it should be served as small breadcrumbs, preferably soaked in water to make it easier to digest. Providing a small bowl of water alongside is also a good idea.
Bread should always be offered infrequently and as a treat – never making up more than 5% of your birds overall and varied diet.
Its also important to provide the best whole wheat options. Avoiding commercial and mass-produced brands of bread, and looking for those with low sodium/preservatives, additives and sugar is also recommended.
Using a local baker and/or baking at home yourself is the best thing you can do.
Offering some bread to your bird can be a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your bird. Your parrot is likely to enjoy it and it does serve you an opportunity to bond with your bird.
If your parrot is not fond of bread; do not worry – they’re not missing out on much. Simply move onto the next treat and see if this serves them better.
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.