So, you have gotten a lovely Quaker parrot that amuses you with its cute antics, little mischiefs, and awesome human mimicking. Now, you wish to provide your little feathered friend with all the comfort it deserves and has gotten a roomy cage, a birdbath treat, and many toys and the best quality Quaker parrot pellets.
However, you wonder if these food pallets are enough to keep your parrot happy and healthy, or should you include other food items? And if you should then what food items are safe for a Quaker parrot and what are not?
Well, if you are seeking answers to these questions, then you have landed in the right place. The most straightforward answer to your question is that yes, you need to include different foods to keep you Quaker parrot healthy and healthy. However, as there are foods that are excellent and safe for your bird’s health, there are also those which are unsafe and unhealthy.
Therefore, we have created a list of safe foods, including fruits, vegetables, and other treats, as well as unsafe and toxic foods that you must not give to your parrot.
We have also included the reasons why these fruits, vegetables, and other food items are healthy or unhealthy for your parrots. So, let’s get right into the topic and find what the best diet for a Quaker parrot is.
Quaker parrot diet
Quakers parrots, also known as monk parakeets, are famous for being exceptionally good eaters, and thus their diet should include the fruits, vegetables, and nuts they eat in the wild. Birds, like humans, thrive on fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, leafy greens, and healthy table food. Besides Quaker parrot pellets, peppers, root vegetables, and colorful produce are also vital in their diet.
Quality commercially formulated pellets and healthy seeds like hemp, chia, and flax seeds are essential parts of the Quaker parrot diet as well as the occasional millet sprig, which is also a welcomed snack.
Like most pet birds, a diet based predominantly on seeds lacks many nutrients, like vitamin A and calcium, and is excessively high in fat content, which is especially true in the case of Quaker parrots.
However, it does not mean that the seed-based diet has no place in avian diets, but a bird’s diet should not be limited to it. Furthermore, many birds develop a strong taste for them and prefer them to the elimination of other healthy options and become fussy when you try to give them a varied diet. You can also witness your parrot pick out a couple of favorites from a seed mix, which will only reduce the nutritional balance in the diet even more.
Therefore, seeds should be considered as junk food when it comes to Quaker parrot nutrition. Parrots love them, but seeds should only make about 10 to 15 percent of the diet as they are not the healthiest choice.
Quaker parrot pellets
Pelleted diets for Quaker parrots are made from an assortment of foods and include seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables, fortified with vitamins and minerals. You can find them baked into pellets or in a variety of different extruded shapes. The pellet diet provides a balanced nutritive diet and prevents the birds from eating out their favorite food items while leaving the rest.
However, like many birds, if your parrot has started on a seed-based diet, he would not readily take to eating a formulated diet easily. Moreover, even though the pellet diet is a well-balanced diet, but still it does not offer the stimulation and variety that many pet birds would crave and should have in their diet.
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Obviously, eating the same thing day after day would be boring for anyone. Therefore, pellets should be taken as the “base” of your bird’s diet and should comprise 50 to 60 percent of what your parrot eats.
Quaker parrot food list
We all know that bird food pellets are a standard pet bird diet. But when people try to include other foods, they frequently ask questions like can Quaker parrot eat pistachios, kiwi, strawberries, and pomegranates?
The answer is yes. Fruits are a source of nutrition that every living breathing soul requires. Real foods, including vegetables and fruits, are also good for variety and increase interest in the diet, which is also vital for a bird’s mental health.
Fresh foods are particularly central for birds on a seed-based diet as they provide nutrients that seeds lack. Birds on pellet-based diets should also include fresh foods as well because the minerals and vitamins found in real food are more comfortably utilized by the body than the formulated food sources.
Furthermore, it has also been seen that the use of too many pellets can lead to kidney problems in some birds, especially small ones. Therefore, mixing in fruits and veggies will help to balance things out. Fruits, vegetables, and other greens should make up for approximately 20 – 25% of your pet bird’s daily diet.
However, you must know that not everything that is safe for humans is safe for your pet bird. And how would you know what foods are safe for your quake parrot, here is the complete guide.
Birds love fruits, but many fruit seeds are toxic to parrots. Therefore, it is best to avoid all fruit seeds and pits. Here are the fruits and vegetables that are completely safe for your Quaker parrot to consume.
Why should these fruits be added?
- Berries and other dark-colored fruits are excellent sources of antioxidants that are central to provide support for healthy feathers in pet birds. Jam-packed with vitamin C and vitamin K, these delicious fruits also provide additional support for a bird’s regulatory and immune systems. However, It is good to offer blueberries to your parrot a few times in a week, but do not let him indulge in too many of these tasty treats because they are very high in natural sugar content.
- Grapes, like blueberries, are also an excellent source of vitamin C and K as well as nutrients like copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin and many more. And the best part is that they taste amazing. However, they contain high levels of fructose, which means that they can give your bird a quick energy boost but must be fed carefully for that very same reason.
- Melons, including watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe as well as pumpkins, are very rich in fiber, which is necessary for your pet bird’s digestive tract. These treats are also rich in vitamin C and help your feathered friend to have and maintain a healthy immune system.
- Apples are incredibly rich in many important antioxidants, flavonoids, as well as dietary fiber, which is essential for your pet bird. However, they are also very high in fat, therefore, must be given in small portions occasionally.
- Bananas are rich in potassium, loaded with fiber, and offer a powerhouse of nutrients (including calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6). The fruit is easily digestible, build up metabolism, and also helps fight anemia in both human and birds due to the iron content. However, like apples, they should be given in low amounts as they are also a powerful source of sugar.
- Beans cooked well
- Bean sprouts
- Brussels sprouts
- Eggplant but no greens
- Green beans
- Peas and pod
- Peppers bell/hot
- Potatoes cooked
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sweet potato cooked
Why should these vegetables be added?
- Beans are a great source of protein and are fun for birds to eat and delightful to boot. If your parrot shy aways from taking beans, you can try mixing them with fruits or other preferred food items to lure your pet to give them a try.
- Carrots are full of vitamins that help achieve good eyesight, which we all know is essential for parrots. Furthermore, raw carrots are one of the finest fresh foods options that would help your pet bird exercise its strong jaw muscles.
- Spinach is packed with beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, which would help your parrot enjoy healthy skin and feathers. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce are rich in nutrients and offer a great variety and balanced diet to a captured bird.
However, you must know that;
- Spinach should not be given on a daily basis or frequently as it is very high in oxalates that can interfere with calcium absorption.
- Canned vegetables are typically very high in sodium and thus are not the best choice. However, if you do have to use them, make sure to rinse the veggies thoroughly before serving them to your bird.
- Frozen vegetables, unlike caned ones, are typically fine for birds; however, make sure to go through the labels and avoid products with added salt.
- You must also avoid mushy or moldy foods. If you put fruits and veggies in the cage for your pet bird and he does not eat then, you should remove the items and any bits within 1 or 2 hours because of spoilage.
- Pale vegetables, with high water content (such as Iceberg or Head lettuce and celery), offer very little nutritional value. Therefore, they should not be given on daily or weekly basis and must be given in low amounts.
Apart from fruits and vegetables, these items also make delicious and healthy treats for parrot;
- Whole grain bread
- Nuts (such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews). Nuts are an excellent source of protein. However, they should be given in small portions as these tasty treats are very high in fat. Moreover, make sure they are salt-free and shelled and chopped adequately to fit in your Quaker’s little beak.
- Cereals & grains (like pumpkin seeds, millet, oats, and sunflower seeds). The triple play of grains, legumes, and nuts, will offer your Quaker plenty of the minerals, vitamins, and proteins along with fiber he needs. The grains should be cooked, and it is better if they are whole-grain like brown rice, millet, or barley.
- Low-fat yogurts and cheeses are also among tasty Quaker parrot treats, but the key is to keep them to a minimum.
- Freshly sprouted seeds are also an excellent option, and many call it a nutritional gold mine. It is because the seeds mobilize the nutritional content into an extremely digestible and bioavailable formula as they start to grow. These seeds are not only rich in vitamins and minerals but also offer plenty of enzymes and antioxidants.
- Black beans, kidney beans, and navy beans, along with peas, lentils, and chickpeas are favorite legumes for many captive Quaker parrots and are rich in many important nutrients.
- Only feed unsalted and fresh peanuts to your parrots that are sold for human consumption or which are sold by a reputable feed shop.
- Quinoa is an incredible food for pet birds as its nutritious value surpasses most other grains, especially when it comes to protein. Quinoa offers more than twice the protein when compared to grains such as rice, corn, and barley. The grain also contains some potassium, phosphorous, calcium, Vitamin E, and B vitamins.
Unsafe, toxic foods for parrots
A parrot’s diet must be low or absent of fat, salt, and sugar. Salt can cause circulatory, heart, and digestive health problems while sugar turns to fat. And fat can lead to fatty liver disease. Thus, all of these components can lead to sickness and even early death. The fruits that have a high level of sugar, you must keep their portions small, and limit their supply to 1-3 times a week.
Here are the foods you should not be giving to your parrots:
- All fruit seeds and pit
- Apple seeds
- Apricot pits
- Butter caffeine
- Carbonated beverages
- Cherry pits
- Dry beans, uncooked or hard beans
- Dried fruits with preservatives
- Milk/dairy keep to a minimum, low fat, no sugar
- Onions raw, cooked, green
- Raw peanuts
- Tomatoes minimum no seeds/greens
- Processed foods
Why should these foods be avoided?
- As we all know and have discussed that fruits are food for your bird, but you must also know that some fruit seeds and pits contain small levels of Cyanide and can cause Cyanide poisoning. The poisoning generally begins with vomiting and diarrhea, and it deepens, it starts to include seizures, paralysis, and can eventually lead to death. Therefore, the right policy is, avoid all fruit seeds and pits to stay on the safe side.
- And the chocolate that we all love so much is just as poisonous, with nearly the same symptoms, and outcome.
- Onions also have been found to source a serious digestive issue in many birds. The symptoms of the problem include diarrhea, vomiting, and a number of other digestive situations. Onions, whether served cooked, raw, or dehydrated, carry sulfur compounds that can rupture red blood cells and lead to anemia. Some cases have led to anemic respiratory failure and even death.
- Garlic and cabbage can give some parrots an upset stomach.
- Birds do not possess the natural enzymes that are required to break down dairy products. Although a small amount of low-fat cheese or yogurt will not cause harm to your pet, a large amount certainly will. So, keep the supply limited to occasional treats.
- Mushrooms are a fungus, which is not standard to the Parrots’ diet. They can cause liver failure, digestive distress, and even death as they contain amatoxin.
- Tomatoes make a nice treat for your parrot only when their meat is given in a small amount. However, the leaves and vines of the plant can be lethal. So, always remember, no fruit seed ever, and yes, tomatoes are fruit.
- Sure, you love to enjoy alcohol, but it is lethal to birds and can cause a total shut down of internal organs.
- Tobacco/marijuana is unhealthy for us. So, you can imagine what it would do to a bird’s tiny lungs and brains.
- Caffeine in coffee, soda, tea, and energy drinks is a part of our everyday lives, but it is toxic for birds. A bird’s heart already beats hundreds of times in a minute, and the ingestion of caffeine will only increase those rates and lead to a heart attack. So, no caffeine for your bird.
- When it comes to avocado, not only its skin and pits are dangerous but the whole fruit. The fruit’s person is known to act as a poison in a bird’s digestive system. So, just avoid avocados, and yes, guacamole is also a big No-No.
- Uncooked hard beans contain a substance that is toxic to birds. The substance known as Hemagglutinin can be removed with proper cooking, but if beans are fed raw to your pet, it can be lethal.
- Rhubarb contains oxalic acid, a potentially toxic substance for birds.
Quaker parrot diet care
You must know that Quakers tend to become overweight if you let them indulge in too many fattening nuts and seed treats such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, and millet. Parrots are fond of grains, wheat, and oats. But you must follow the rule of “If It’s Not Good For You, It’s Definitely Bad For Your Bird” and keep the supply to the minimum.
To do so, you can mix in fresh greens, legumes, and other vegetables as the main food source regularly. However, you must avoid the foods that are toxic to birds, which we have enlisted above.
Furthermore, you must always make sure to avoid “WHITE” and stick with whole grains, rye, whole wheat, etc.
Here are some Quaker parrot diet care guidelines;
- One important thing to always keep in mind that you must never allow your parrot to eat from your mouth. It is because we readily possess the E-coli Virus in our mouths but also have a natural immunity to the virus. Birds, on the other hand, have no such immunity to this virus. Therefore, human saliva can make them very sick and can be fatal in extreme cases.
- You can also include dry cereals, like cheerios and oatmeal (warm). They are big favorites, and you can also use Cheerios as a training tool.
- And don’t forget to toast the pieces of bread before giving them to your Quaker parrots. They should be dark but not burned. Pasta must be fully cooked, and rice should have the same tenderness that you like.
- If you are giving a seed-based diet then make sure to get a mix that offers a nice variety of seeds that are appropriately sized for your pet bird’s beak. Always check out the packaging and the bag to determine that the seed mix is fresh, void of rodent droppings and bugs. Also, try to look for a product that is light on high-calorie sunflower seeds.
- Pellets are available in many shapes, flavors, and sizes, as well as qualities. However, many of them also contain preservatives that make up for more than the nutritious ingredients. Therefore, always read on the ingredients or ask an avian vet to recommend you a quality pellet brand for your little monk pal.
- And if you think that something might be harmful, the proper rule of the thumb is, it probably is. So, never feed your pet bird anything you are not sure about.
- And, if you feel concerned about your Quaker parrot’s diet, then talk to a vet without, get a balanced diet plan and follow the diet instructions properly.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
If you are providing your parrot a well-balanced diet built on formulated foods supplemented with a range of nutritious home-made foods, you may not need it. However, if you find that the current menu is not a proper source of calcium, you can add a cuttlebone in your bird’s cage.
However, always remember that additional supplements like extra vitamin and mineral supplements should only be given on the advice of a veterinarian.
Like a human, parrots also need UVB lighting for the natural production of Vitamin D3, the insufficiency of which can lead to rickets in birds. Therefore, getting your bird some daily dose of light is vital for bone health. You can provide your little feathered friend the benefit of light by placing the cage in an area that receives sunlight or by placing a broad spectrum UVA/UVB bulb about 12-18 inches above the cage.
Freshwater is essential
Yes, you must make sure that you provide your parrots with plenty of clean and fresh water. Also, make sure to keep the feeding bowls, and dishes clean especially if you have more than one parrot in a cage as the uncleansed feeding bowls can lead to the transmission of diseases.
How to get your pet bird to eat fruits and vegetables?
Okay, so, now you know what should be included in a Quaker parrot diet and what should not, but you do not know how to get your bird to eat these fruits and vegetables. Obviously, a diet is not a diet unless it is consumed. So the topic does not end with just listing the foods that are safe for your pet bird, but it must include how to get the bird to eat a healthy, nutritional diet.
Well, it is a tough part for many bird parents. Sure, there are many lucky ones that have birds that eat everything put in their bowls, but most birds are apprehensive of new things. Therefore, some may not identify the fruits and veggies as food.
So, it will take persistence, patience, and creativity to get your parrot friend to eat fruits, veggies, and other newer items. It is especially with a bird that is older and set in its ways.
Here are some methods recommended by an avian veterinarian that would be helpful in dealing with your picky bird.
- Eat little portions of food in front of your bird to make him see it is safe to eat. Make a big deal about how awesome it is like you do in front of picky children, and your bird might become interested enough to take a bite.
- You can also tempt the bird by chopping the food into different sizes. Many birds fancy large chunks while many favor tiny pieces.
- A great way to get your bird to eat fresh food is by sprinkling pieces of food that the bird likes on top of the vegetables or fruits. For example, you can sprinkle some millet on veggies or mix the vegetable puree into the cooked grains.
- If your Quaker parrot already likes to eat treats from the palm of your hand, try offering the bits of fruit and vegetables from your hand instead of putting them in a bowl. It may make your bird think that it is a treat and give it a try. However, he may spit it out, but getting the bird to taste something new is usually the hardest part. And if the bird likes it, you are all set, at least with that particular food item.
- You may or may not know, but most birds like the taste of corn. Therefore, you can use it to get them used to the feel of fruits and veggies making it an excellent vegetable to start with. However, don’t forget to get organic corn to minimize your pet bird’s experience with GMOs and pesticides.
- Like corn, broccoli and peas are also good “starter vegetables.” Peas are actually seeds that most birds love, and a lot of birds enjoy tearing the broccoli heads.
- Fresh food is best, but if your Quaker parrot is resilient to raw produce, you can always try cooking it because cooked vegetables are better than having no veggies at all. Many foods like sweet potatoes have to be cooked before being served anyway, and some vegetables have more antioxidants after being cooked like carrots.
- You can also add pureed or finely cut veggies to the bread batter before baking if your pet bird likes bird bread. Sweet potatoes are an excellent choice for this.
Quaker Parrots are beautiful, joyful, and energetic birds that keep you laughing with their adorable antics and mischiefs. However, like every other living soul on the planet, they require love, care and a healthy diet to stay and live a healthy and long life. Like humans, an imbalanced diet is a common issue with pet birds and is a fairly common cause of illness.
Therefore, you must take proper care of your Quaker parrot diet and give them healthy foods so that they stay healthy, and you enjoy their beautiful companionship. An ideal diet for Quaker parrot should include a variety of nutritious freshly prepared foods and fruits and vegetables in addition to a formulated diet (pellets) and a small percentage of seeds.
Disclaimer: The lists do not comprise all things SAFE or LETHAL to your bird. These are aimed towards giving you an idea and fair start to take care of your feathered little companion.
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