The fun and educational site for parrot loving kids of all ages!

Feed a Healthy Diet

CR DIET SCALEJust like we need to eat a balanced diet to ensure we are healthy and our bodies function right, the same is true for our birds. Feeding your pet bird a good, healthy diet is essential to its long-term health.

Parrots in the wild eat raw foods such as fruits and vegetable matter, nuts, grains, seeds, sprouts, berries, flowers, pollen, insects and larvae. Many species also supplement their diets by eating clay and salt licks.

There are lots of commercial bird foods to choose from including bird seed mixes, pelleted diets and ready to cook diets. Although commercial diets have significantly improved, no one commercial diet comes close to simulating how our birds eat in nature and none of the commercial diets provide for 100% of the nutritional needs of our birds.

Because of all of the options it is sometimes confusing about what is the best type of food to feed your bird. 

Variety is important!

Since commercial diets can't reliably replicate a bird's natural diet, it appears that offering a broad range of nutrition and a wide variety of healthy food choices is the key to maintaining a healthy bird. These options include:

  • Pellets - Specially formulated bird foods that include a balanced selection of grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Pellets should always be available in your birds cage and should be about 60 - 80% of a bird's diet.

  • Fresh Greens and Veggies - Vegetables contain nutrients that are important for vision, hearing, skin, bones, mucus membranes, as well as assisting in the growth and repair of tissues. Vegetables are best when fresh but thawed frozen vegetables are acceptable when fresh options are not available. Greens and veggies should be roughly 15- 20 % of a birds diet. A few of the vegetables with the most nutrients include:

  • Collard, mustard and turnip greens

  • Sweet potato

  • Carrots & Peas

  • Spinach

  • Fruits - Fruits contain carbohydrates, Vitamin A & C, folic acid and minerals. Fruits also are high in sugar and therefore should only be around 5% of a parrot's diet. Some favorite parrot fruits include: apple, banana, berries, grapes, papaya and melon.

  • Protein - Proteins are made up of amino acids which are commonly referred to as the building blocks of life. Proteins are important to muscle growth as well as critical to the health of feathers, beaks and internal organs. Beans are a great source of low fat proteins and carbohydrates. Fully cooked eggs are another good source of protein.

  • Seeds - Seeds should only constitute about 10% of your birds diet. Feeding seed alone is NOT a healthy option for birds.

  • Treats - Healthy treats like unsalted nuts should be no more than 5% of your birds diet.  Small birds will enjoy finely chopped nuts and larger ones will like cracking throught the shells themselves to retrieve their treat.

  • Giving your bird a varied selection of foods will not only keep them healthy and beautiful but, it will also make their lives much more interesting.  Imagine how dull our existence would be if we had to eat the same meal over and over again for the rest of our days! Your birds will relish the opportunity to make choices and try new foods and they will delight in exploring different tastes and textures.

    Cooking for your bird can be fun and a good way to introduce lots of healthy foods into his diet.  Check out some of our healthy treat recipes on our website.

    NOTE: Not all bird species have the same nutritional requirements so be sure to research what would be best for your bird. For example, lorikeets and lories are nectarivore and their primary diet in the wild is nectar and pollen.

    Click the graphic below to learn about foods that you should never feed to your bird: 

    toxic foods


    Related Articles

    Exercise Exercise
    Our pet birds are not as active in our home as their wild cousins are in their native environments. Wild parrots have to fly many miles a day in the search for...
    Toxic Foods Toxic Foods
    Foraging Foraging
    Did you know that researchers have determined that parrots prefer to work for their food even when food is readily available in a bowl? This indicates that foraging...