When owning a parakeet, you’ll likely have questions about their diet. Variety is necessary to prevent food preferences while also helping to provide more nutrition. Fruits are often recommended; but what ones in particular should you be looking to feed? I decided to take a look at the research and would like to share with you a summary of how to feed fruits to your parakeet most appropriately.
So, what fruits can parakeets eat? Parakeets can eat almost all fruits sold at the grocery store. The best options include bananas, apples, melons and grapes. Tropical fruits including mangos, papayas, kiwi are great to offer too along with berries such as strawberries. You’ll want to provide fruits that are as nutrient-rich and safe as possible, so organic options are preferable. Be sure only offer fully ripe fruit to your parakeet and appropriately cut it up into smaller, more manageable slices/chunks prior to serving.
Parakeets generally enjoy eating fresh fruit and adding a variety of different types to their daily diet can help them meet their nutritional requirements.
Most veterinarians and avian experts will recommend that a bird in captivity should eat a total of 15-30% fruit in the diet, the rest coming from a combination of vegetables, seeds and the majority from a high quality and nutritious pelleted feed.
However, fresh food is still important to feed to your bird. Fruit in particular is often enjoyed and offers the opportunity to treat them in a safe and healthy way.
With these factors in mind, let us now take a closer look at some of the best fruits that you can feed along with those you will want to avoid and other tips for feeding fruit to your parakeet. So, be sure to keep on reading!
Best Fruits For Parakeets
Parakeets thrive on a varied diet that includes several small servings of fruit every day. They will provide a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
The majority of fruits available at your local grocery store are excellent to feed, although the following list are those that come often recommended by veterinarians, experts and fellow parakeet owners:
The fruits references above are all abundant in vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals, like potassium, calcium and manganese.
Its always advised to seek out organic options, to ensure that they have not been sprayed or contaminated with any potentially harmful chemicals. You’ll also want to wash them before any serving.
While fruits are nutritious, they can be high in sugar so feeding the appropriate serving size is vital.
Of course, sugar content ranges by fruit, so it is best to check out the nutritional profile of what you are looking to feed first. You can do this through reputable online databases, such as the FoodData Central (from the U.S. Department of Agriculture).
Tips for Feeding Fruit To Your Parakeet
Food preferences differ between parakeets. This can be down to their experiences, other foods in the diet, along with their natural tastes and desires for certain fruits over others.
That being said, you should look to experiment and try offering different foods references above. Try to find out what fruits they like, and do not appear to like. From there you can begin to work out what their favorite fruits are. You should also extend this to other foods in the diet along with vegetables and seeds.
Equally, it is important to remember that if your parakeet does not appear to like or eat a fruit (or food) when you offer it, this does not mean they will forever. If you keep trying, and keep offering variety, you should soon find your bird eating foods you previously thought they had no desire for.
When offering fruit, its also very important that you prepare it appropriately before feeding. Keep it bite-size.
Parakeets are small and their beaks are fragile. For this reason, you should think about the fruit you are offering and how challenging it will be for your bird to break down.
Some fruits are better sliced, whereas others into smaller chunks.
Either way, you want to make the fruit more manageable; so even consider mushing it up if you think this will help.
You can introduce a small bowl of fruit to your birds cage, including several different options for your bird to try.
By the end of the day, you can see exactly what fruits they neglected and those that were eaten. This gives you a good idea as to what they may like.
Just be sure to remove any uneaten fruit by the end of the day. This will prevent the growth of any harmful bacteria.
Variety is so crucial in these birds. You must prevent boredom and disinterest in the fruits you offer by mixing them up. You can even dangle them inside the cage as a way to keep things interesting.
Parakeets are also fond of warm fruit, so you could consider warming it up in the microwave or on the hob. Just be sure it is not to hot before serving!
From there, these are some other general tips and strategies that you should consider when offering fruit, and any other food to your parakeet.
- If your parakeet is especially fond of one fruit, consider feeding less to ensure they eat other fruits and food items.
- It is best to offer a small amount of several fruits rather than a larger amount of one particular fruit.
- Wash all fruits thoroughly before serving.
- Always check the amount of food your parakeet has eaten each day.
- Provide plenty of fresh water throughout the day,
- Do not place fruit on the bottom of the cage, this is where your parakeet will defecates and it can be a challenge to clean up.
What Fruits Can Parakeets Not Eat?
Parakeets are capable of eating a wide variety of fruits and most of them are safe to provide.
However, there certain fruits, parts and considerations you should not look to feed. These are:
- Avocados: are rich in a fungicidal toxin called persin. This toxin is rich in the skin and also the flesh. Persin is toxic to all birds, especially smaller birds like parakeets. If eaten, even in small quantities, it can lead to health complications including weakness, heart damage, respiratory challenges, and can even be fatal. So, you should never look to offer it.
- Dried and Packaged Fruits; are often very high in sugar and have added preservatives which can be bad for your parakeet.
- Fruit Pits and Apple Seeds: While the flesh of an apple is a great option for parakeers, the seeds contain a compound called cyanide. This can be dangerous so it is important to remove all seeds prior to feeding. Cyanide is also found and naturally present in the pits of cherries, plums, apricots and peaches.
Preserved fruits may be okay to offer in very small amounts. They are generally quite hydrating and easy for a parakeet to consume. However, you do need to be careful of any potentially harmful additives along with the high sugar content.
Other Foods To Feed Your Parakeet
A parakeets diet should be made up of several different components. Pellets, seeds, vegetables and other foods.
Let us take a closer look at each one below:
A high quality pelleted feed should be the staple of your parakeets diet. It is nutritionally balanced and will provide all of the vitamins and minerals your birds needs, and that they can obtain from other fresh foods.
Parakeets can quickly develop preferences to seeds, so transitioning over to a pelleted diet can be a challenge for owners and take some time. However, it is advised and recommended by veterinarians that you persist and there any benefits to your birds health in doing so.
Pellets can be fed whole, or even mashed up with other foods to make it more appetizing.
Parakeets are particularly fond of seeds. However, they should only make up around 10% of total dietary intake.
Seeds are not balanced and are nutritionally poor compared to pellets, fruits and vegetables. Also, they can be high in fat which can lead to weight issues in your bird.
Generally, two teaspoons of seed at most per day is advised.
Along with fruits, there are plenty of vegetables that you can look to offer. Green leafy vegetables are a great option; and there are plenty to choose from within this category. Kale and spinach are perhaps the two most commonly offered.
Other vegetables like carrots, beets, cabbage, squash and broccoli can also be provided.
Just as is the case with fruits, be sure to only offer fresh vegetables and take any that are left uneaten by the end of each day.
It is advised for a parakeet to consume around 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh vegetables each day.
Calcium is an essential mineral to many birds, including parakeets.
It is key for bone maintenance and health. Cuttle bones, egg shells and oyster shell grit are good sources of calcium and are recommended to provide.
Eggs are a good source of protein, which parakeets do need in small amounts.
From there, parakeets can enjoy a small amount of human foods, like bread, pasta and even chicken.
Parakeets can eat a wide variety of fruits. In fact, they do best by doing so.
It is important that you offer fresh fruits, and seek out organic options if available and possible. Dried and packaged fruits should be avoided.
You’ll also want to cut any fruit you offer into small and manageable bite-sized pieces; whether this is in chunks or slices will depend on the fruit. This is to ensure that your bird can easily eat these with minimized risk of choking.
While fruits are nutritious and provide plenty of minerals and vitamins, be careful of the serving sizes. Some fruits are naturally high in sugar and should not be fed as often as others. In total, around 15-30% of the diet should be coming in the form of fruits.
Monitor your bird and how they respond to certain fruits. Ensure no preferences develop by routinely mixing them up and even serving them differently. Consider making fruit medley bowls to see what is left but do not be too quick to judge on what your bird likes and does not.
Ultimately, fruit as part of a balanced diet involving vegetables, pellets and some seeds, will help your parakeet to thrive.
Sources referenced: Fruits and Vegetables in Bird Diets