If you own a cockatiel, it’s only natural to have concerns about their diet. Variety is essential to ensure your bird continues to eat whilst also providing all the necessary nutrients. But what about fruit? Where does this fit in and are there better options that you can look to feed? These are commonly asked questions so I decided to spend some time researching around. I’d like to provide you with some important information about the fruits you should look to include in the diet.
So, what fruits can cockatiels eat? Cockatiels can eat commonly found fruits from most supermarkets such as bananas, grapes, and apples. Seasonal fruits bring much-welcomed variety, and this includes strawberries, nectarines, apricots, pears, and peaches – along with tropical fruits like mangos, papayas, kiwi, and guavas. Melons like watermelon and cantaloupe are popular with these birds. Fruits, along with vegetables, should make up a total of 20-30% of the overall diet; the other 70% comes mostly from seeds and pellets.
Cockatiels in the wild, enjoy a diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, and bugs every day. However, these birds in captivity struggle to know what is best for them to eat and can become over-reliant on seeds if they are not encouraged to eat right.
Pelleted food is ideal as it contains within itself everything a cockatiel requires in its diet to thrive; it has the same nutrients found in fruit and veg.
Nevertheless, fresh food is good to feed your birds, and fruit can be ideal. It is generally very well received by cockatiels and they have a fondness for almost any fruit that you can provide.
With these factors in mind let us take a closer look at the best fruits you can offer before looking at those you may want to avoid!
Best Fruits For Cockatiels
Most fruits are great to feed cockatiels. However, you must do so as a treat. As an owner, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that your bird meets all of their nutritional requirements and needs, and does not become too dependent on any food, especially fruit.
However, fruits can be included as part of a healthy diet. The best fruits for cockatiels are organic and seedless.
In the section above, we looked at a selection of fruit that is ideal for feeding your feathered friend, most of which are available to buy in your local supermarket.
Let us now take a closer look at the benefits of five of the most commonly fed fruits for your cockatiel:
Apples are delicious to eat all year round. Make sure that you remove the seeds as seeds contain cyanide, which is toxic to your bird.
Equally, its a good idea to cut apples up into smaller, more manageable chunks and to peel the skin off first. This will make them easier to eat for your bird.
Bananas are an excellent snack for your cockatiel as they are soft and easy to eat. Bananas are full of potassium, and a nice treat all year round.
Banana peel is even safe for your bird to consume; it has no harmful effect whatsoever. Just make sure if you offer the peel you opt for organic bananas.
Grapes are available and taste delicious all year round. It doesn’t matter what color you feed your birds; both green and red are great!
Make sure there are no seeds inside the grapes before you feed them. You can also mush them up to make them easier to consume.
Strawberries do have a lot of seeds, but they are not harmful.
Strawberries are a great snack in the summertime, and you can serve them whole or cut them up. They are generally low in sugar and calories so serving sizes are less of an issue.
Pears are lovely in the right season, and they are so much tastier when they are soft.
Make sure that you remove the seeds inside and cut the fruit into small pieces.
As you can see, some fruits are higher in energy than others. Equally, different fruits will provide a different amount of vitamins and minerals.
The best thing you can do is to offer a variety of fruits, including those above, and to routinely mix them up and change them.
Better yet, you can create small fruit medleys and mix them all up and in together!
The key is not to become too reliant on any particular fruit. Just because a fruit has more vitamins and minerals than others does not mean they should always be fed. The table instead, is there to illustrate the nutrients fruits can bring to your birds diet.
How Much Fruit Should I Feed My Cockatiel?
You must limit the amount of fruit and vegetables you feed your cockatiel, and you should always give preference to vegetables over fruit.
Fruits and vegetables should only make up a total of 20-30% of your bird’s overall diet.
The remaining 70% should come from particular seeds and pellets. Equally, seeds and pellets should not be your birds only food source. Its all about balance!
You must see fruits as treats and treats only, so they should always be offered along with a meal or in between meals. They should not become the meal.
Fruits can be offered as a reward. in the way you would reward a cat or dog for good behavior. You can offer your bird a treat for doing something good. They are great to offer to your bird by hand, and can be a nice way to bond with them.
Your cockatiel can become bored with eating the same thing every day, and can go off their food entirely. This is of course a danger to their health. Fruits therefore offer a great way to offer dietary variety will still providing nutritional benefits.
Aside from boredom, cockatiels need fruits and vegetables, as seeds and pellets are high in fat, which is not the healthiest for your little bird.
How to Feed Fruit To Your Cockatiel
Certain fruits are okay for your cockatiel to eat whole such as bananas and strawberries.
Both bananas and strawberries are soft, bananas are seedless, and the seeds on the outside of the strawberry are harmless; however, you may also chop them into smaller pieces.
You must remove the seeds of fruits like apple, apricot, peach, and others, as the seeds contain cyanide and can be fatal to your bird if consumed in high amounts.
You should also chop up these fruits into small pieces.
You can puree and mash these fruits and put a little bit on a spoon to feed your bird.
You can also feed baby fruit puree to your bird if you need to feed your bird quickly.
Wash all fruit and remove seeds, pits, and cores; washing is crucial as fruits are often sprayed with pesticides, which can harm your cockatiel.
If you have no fresh fruit to hand, it’s okay to feed tinned fruit so long as the fruits are un-sulphured and contain minimal additives. You also want to look for those that are in water and not in fruit juice or other higher sugar syrups.
Getting your cockatiel to try different types of fruit should be fun and not seen as a chore.
Cockatiels are social birds that like to bond with their humans, so if you are eating an apple you could take your bird out of his cage to eat some apple with you.
Fruits To Not Feed A Cockatiel
There are not many fruits that a cockatiel cannot eat; however, avocado is one fruit that should be avoided at all costs.
Avocado contains persin a fungicidal toxin that can cause several health problems for your birds; these include respiratory problems, heart disease, weakness, and potentially death.
Avocado should never be offered, even in small amounts.
Beyond fruits there are a range of other foods you do not want to give your cockatiel. Some of them are vegetables so you need to be particularly careful.
The main ones to avoid at all costs include: chocolate, onions, garlic, mushrooms, honey, dried or uncooked beans and rhubarb.
Cockatiels need a well-balanced diet consisting of mainly pellets and seeds, but also fruit, vegetables, and water.
If you make any changes to your bird’s diet, you should consult your veterinarian or an avian specialist before doing so.
It’s good to know that most fruits are perfectly safe for your cockatiel to consume, as long as you wash them and remove any seeds, pits, and cores.
Fruit is an excellent snack for your cockatiel, but it should never exceed the main meal of seeds and pellets.
It’s important to mention an essential part of feeding fruits to your bird, and that is the maintenance of fruit.
If you tend to feed your cockatiel in their cage, you should put on a cage skirt to prevent too much of a mess inside the cage as they can be messy eaters.
Remove all uneaten fruit and food from the cage before it spoils and makes your cockatiel sick.
Clean all food and water dishes daily and make sure that your bird’s cage is clean and sanitized so that food doesn’t become contaminated and make your cockatiel sick.
You can encourage your cockatiel to eat fruits by mixing them in with your bird’s pellets and/or seeds. In time you can try offering the fruits on their own and your bird should be more inclined to eat them. Also, offer a wider variety of fruits and search for fruits that you know your cockatiel is more fond of. Generally, sweet and easier-to-consume fruits are preferred. You can also try serving fruits in different ways.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.