Veterinarians and bird experts say that feeding your parrot different kinds of fruits offers a wide range of benefits to their health and wellbeing. As a matter of fact, one of the most common fruits that pet owners feed their noisy nibblers are tomatoes.
But given the fact that humans and birds metabolize food differently, are fruits such as tomatoes even safe for your parrot to consume?
Tomatoes are safe for parrots, but it should only be given in moderation. Tomatoes are highly acidic and can cause ulcer or stomach upset when fed on a regular basis. While the tomato flesh itself is generally safe for parrots, its vines and leaves are highly toxic and should be kept away from your pet at all costs.
Feeding parrots tomatoes has been a hot topic because of the conflicting beliefs surrounding it. While some are totally fine with it as long as it is given in moderation, some are totally against the idea due to its affinity to the nightshade family of plants.
What is the nightshade plant family?
Nightshade plants are a family of flowering plants that range from vines, shrubs, and trees. Many of the plants that are part of this family are essential to human consumption such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and chili peppers, among many others.
What’s bad about nightshade crops such as tomatoes?
Plants belonging to this family are known to have a diverse range of alkaloids or organic compounds. These alkaloids have varied psychological effects on humans and other animals, such as parrots, when taken in high amounts.
Since its alkaloid content is diverse, that means there are good alkaloids and there are bad ones. A number of these alkaloids can result in muscle twitching, trembling, paralyzed breathing, or convulsions.
Nightshade Plants and Vitamin D3
Some plants that are part of the nightshade family contain vitamin D3. When parrots consume vitamin D3 in large amounts, it can cause abnormal deposits of calcium in their soft tissues, ligaments, and tendons, as well as mineralization in the walls of their arteries and veins.
So, what do parrots eat?
It’s important to be aware of a parrot’s proper diet in order to meet all of its nutritional requirements. A regular avian diet is typically comprised of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and dry bird food. Although you need to be careful because not all fruits and vegetables are safe for your pet.
Fruits that are Not Safe for Parrots
Although some fruits are safe for parrots, put in mind that not all of them are safe for your feathery friend’s consumption. This is why knowing which fruits are safe and not safe is essential in keeping your parrot healthy.
Avocados are highly poisonous to parrots. Its pit and skin, and even the flesh itself are toxic to parrots as it contains persin—a compound that acts as a poison in their digestive system.
Rhubarbs contain oxalic acid, which is also highly toxic to parrots. Oxalic acid can cause renal calculi or kidney stones in birds.
3. Fruit Pits and Seeds
It’s quite ironic for birds to be poisoned by seeds since they are known to be huge seed nibblers. But surprisingly, there are seeds that are off-limits to birds, specifically parrots, because they contain a cyanide-like substance that is highly poisonous.
Pits and seeds of plums, nectarines, cherries, apples, apricots, and peaches must be avoided at all costs.
Fruits that are Safe for Parrots
Feeding your noisy nibblers fruits is actually highly encouraged by veterinarians and bird care experts. Fruits are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals that your parrot needs in order to stay healthy.
Although the pits and seeds of apples, peaches, nectarines, and plums are highly poisonous to parrots, the flesh of these fruits is packed with nutrients that are beneficial to your pet.
Apart from the aforementioned fruits, bananas, oranges, pineapples, mangoes, and pears are also safe for your parrot’s consumption.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you can just feed them to your parrot without paying attention! Read the articles below to learn what you should know about feeding certain fruits:
Other Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Parrot
Chocolates should never be given to parrots or birds in general. Just like other animals, birds cannot metabolize theobromine and can result in fatal consequences when ingested.
Mushrooms have been known to cause digestive problems in parrots, and can even potentially cause liver failure when taken in large amounts.
Although celery is not known to be poisonous to parrots, the stringy part of this vegetable can cause food to accumulate and get stuck on your parrot’s crop.
The crop is the muscular pouch below their gullet used to temporarily store food before passing through the esophagus and stomach.
4. Onions and Garlic
While onions and garlic offer numerous health benefits to us humans, these bulbs are toxic to many animals, including birds. Onions contain sulfur compounds that can cause anemia in parrots. Garlic, on the other hand, can cause issues on their digestive system.
5. Raw Dried Beans
Cooked beans can be safely consumed by your pet parrot, but raw dried beans are a big no-no. Dried beans are potentially poisonous to parrots as it contains hemagglutinin, a glycoprotein which is very toxic not only to parrots but to birds in general.
What to Do When Your Parrot Gets Poisoned
If your parrot accidentally ingests something that is potentially toxic, observe your parrot and check for these signs:
- Falling from perch
- Lack of coordination
- Reduced mobility
- Shortness of breath
Once your parrot exhibits these symptoms, take it to the veterinarian or poison control center and seek immediate medical attention immediately.
For mild and asymptomatic cases, just leave your bird as is and do not try to induce vomiting. Doing so may lead to more serious consequences, which can create more discomfort for your pet.
Always Feed with Caution
Parrots are social eaters. They love to share their mealtimes with their flock either with other birds in the wild, or their human companions in a domestic setting.
Eating together with your noisy nibbler is a great way to foster your bond, but as the owner, it is your responsibility to be aware of which foods are safe and not safe to give because of the threat of toxicity.
Still, that does not mean that your parrot should share his/ her food with you. If your parrot is regurgitating on you, this could mean that your parrot is on the way to developing mental issues. Read here why your parrot is regurgitating on you and what you should do now!
What vegetables can parrots eat? Just like fruits, vegetables are also good sources of essential vitamins and minerals. You can safely feed your parrot vegetables such as asparagus, carrots, corn, spinach, broccoli, and butternut.
Can parrots eat rice? There has been a lot of rumors regarding feeding rice to parrots. Contrary to popular belief, rice can be safely consumed by your feathery friends. These grains won’t cause your pet parrot’s stomach to swell in any way.
Can parrots eat bread? Although bread can be safely consumed by parrots, it’s not really recommended since it’s loaded with sugar, dairy, and other preservatives. It doesn’t offer any nutritional benefit to your bird, unless of course if you give the multi-grain variant.
Can parrots eat meat? Parrots are omnivores, so technically, they can eat meat. However, feeding your parrot meat is not really recommended. Your parrot’s diet should mainly consist of fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, and insects, as these foods contain the necessary nutrients they need in order to stay healthy.