Parrots require a healthy diet that includes a wide range of different types of food. It is important to understand the various nutritional values of the foods you should select for your parrots in order to reduce or prevent complicated medical problems in pet parrots.
One of the most frequently asked questions is “Can I feed my parrot only with seeds?”
Sunflower seeds are totally unsuitable as a main component of a parrot’s diet, as they are too high in fat and lack important vitamins and minerals.
Parrots in the wild prefer to eat high-fat or high-sugar foods that contain more calories to provide them with high-fat, high-energy foods to fuel long-distance flights. However, in captivity, parrots do not need such a high intake of rich food, as they only fly short distances in their cages and are unable to burn off excess calories.
Therefore, the best healthy diet should be mostly carbohydrates (around 70-80%) with around 15% vegetable protein and only 5-8% fat. Cereal grains such as wheat, oats, millet, rice, and corn are low in fat but high in carbohydrates and protein.
Typical fat content is contained in these foods and should be given in moderation:
o Sunflower seeds: 48%
o Pine nuts: 68%
or Peanuts 50%
By contrast, vegetables like peas and beans contain little to no fat, with around 80% carbohydrates and 10-20% protein. Fresh vegetables and fruits such as bananas, pomegranates, celery, carrots and broccoli should also be fed to form part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Vegetables cannot be eaten as dry food and should be soaked in warm water (about 12 hours) before being fed to your bird. Upon soaking, this amount will increase in weight as the seed absorbs water.
On the other hand, you could also let the mixture sprout and germinate for another 12 hours, which has better benefits. Be sure to keep moist food at room temperature (not submerged in water) and rinse well several times with cold water to avoid any bacterial contamination of the food. In this way, its vitamin content is increased even more.
Offer your parrot a mixture of different vegetables such as chick peas, mung beans, black-eyed beans, aduki beans and pinto beans and see which of these your parrot likes best.
A healthy balanced diet is recommended for most parrots.
o 35% soaked/sprouted beans or mixed beans (chickpeas, blackeye beans, aduki beans, and pinto beans, etc.)
o 25% soaked/sprouted seeds and cereal grains (sunflower, safflower, wheat, oats, rice, hemp, millet, corn, etc.)
o 40% fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, grapes, pomegranates, bananas, sprouts, broccoli, green beans, peas on pods, corn on the cob, sweet potato, etc.
The following foods are toxic and dangerous to birds and should be avoided: avocado (dangerous), alcohol, chocolate, coffee and tea. Avoid salty foods like chips and fatty foods like crackers, cheese, and even meat, which can cause a bird to become chronically ill with liver and kidney problems.
Birds cannot digest milk that is high in lactose (fat) and many dairy products are inaccessible to birds. Instead, feed them small amounts of fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, where the lactose has been broken down so as not to minimize salt intake as part of a healthy diet.
I hope that these simple tips on nutritious and healthy food for your parrots will be useful to you.