According to board-certified avian vets, pellets must make up 70% of the bird’s diet, but the remaining 15 to 30% can be allotted to fruits and vegetables for birds.
But what fruit is safe for your avian pets, and what veggies are suitable for their needs?
In this article, we compiled a list of healthy fruits and vegetables your birds can feed on and benefit from. In particular, you’ll discover:
- Vibrant-colored fruits and veggies for birds that contain high amounts of vitamins and antioxidants
- Healthy leafy greens that help lower their sugar levels and prevent chronic disease development
- And fruits and vegetables that contain toxins birds should avoid
So, if you’re looking for highly nutritious foods that can increase your birds’ immunity and want to know what you should avoid, let’s dive right in!
Best Fruits and Vegetables for Birds
Aside from their main bird pellet diet, you can supplement your avian pets with fresh fruits and vegetables.
They’re excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, but as we said earlier, they must only comprise 15 to 30% of their diet.
What Are The Best Vegetables for Birds?
There are gazillions of food options for avian creatures, but the healthiest fruits and vegetables for birds are the deep-colored ones.
Vividly-colored fruits and veggies such as pumpkins, peaches, bell pepper, carrots, cantaloupes, and sweet potatoes are the best sources of vitamin A which is critical for birds.
They’re also high in other essential vitamins and minerals, making them terrific supplements for birds’ nutritional needs.
On the other hand, pale fruits and veggies like turnips and pears, on the other end, are low in nutrients.
But dark green veggies such as kale, broccoli, and dandelion leaves are rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Therefore, they can be excellent alternatives if your bird’s tastebuds can tolerate them.
But your birds can also benefit from the following vegetables:
Artichoke of the thistle family is a hit among parrots, who love to chew its heart, leaves, and stems.
It’s rich in phytonutrients and dietary fiber, which is the holy grail for bloating, cramps, flatulence, and digestive problems.
Additionally, it can help improve digestion thanks to its fiber and inulin content.
What makes asparagus special is it contains anthocyanins that reduce the damage caused by free radicals and a mineral called chromium that helps maintain blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, it also offers vitamin B12, also known as folate, which can prevent cognitive decline in birds. But the downside is it contains asparagusic acid that can make your bird’s droppings smell.
If you love broccoli, the good news is it’s safe and beneficial for your avian pet too! You can share a few broccolis with your bird because it contains antioxidants like glucoraphanin that convert into sulforaphane.
And it helps reduce oxidative stress, lowers blood sugar levels, and prevents the development of some chronic diseases.
Not to mention its fiber and antioxidant contents that promote better gut health in birds.
Ripe bell peppers are high in polyphenols such as lutein, capsanthin, and quercetin, and they’re also rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
In fact, the riper the bell peppers are, the richer in nutrients they become.
Broad Beans or Fava Beans
These beans are high in thiamine, folate, phosphorus, manganese, and copper, which can improve your bird’s bone health.
These sprouts belong to the umbrella of the brassica family, along with cabbages, kales, and broccoli.
So, we assure you they’re filled with essential nutrients, including Vitamin K, C, and A, Folate, and Carotene.
While not all parrots and birds do not approve of the taste of bitter gourd, some love its taste.
And it’s good to know that it’s high in vitamin C and antioxidants such as Catechin, Epicatechin, Gallic acid, and Chlorogenic acid, which is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Carrots are high in beta-carotene that supports optimal eye health in birds of all species and are flavorful and fun to eat!
Just wash and peel it, and they’re ready to serve. Carrots are healthiest when raw or uncooked, plus the crunchy texture provides an opportunity for birds to exercise their jaw.
Cauliflower is safe for parrots, whether steamed, boiled, raw, or roasted. In fact, it helps improve heart health and reduces cancer risk, thanks to its sulforaphane content.
Furthermore, it contains glutathione that protects that cell from inflammatory damage and balances hormones due to indole-3-carbine.
Another bitter-tasting veggie on this list is endives which is part of the chicory root family. It contains beneficial antioxidants, which include quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin.
These antioxidants are crucial for preventing the harm done by free radicals, which results in chronic illness.
Endive, commonly known as chicory, has a higher vitamin K content than most other vegetables, helping to strengthen bones and prevent fractures.
Birds like parakeets love the young and tender leaves of dandelions and are safe and extremely healthy.
They contain antioxidants like polyphenols, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, K, and E, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
According to The Review of Diabetic Studies, dandelions help improve liver health because their extract reduces excess liver fat.
Fennel is under the umbrella of the carrot family, and it has a strong aniseed flavor, which is enjoyable for some parrots.
It’s high in magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants like flavonoids, and its essential oil contains 87 volatile compounds such as Quercetin, Apigenin, and Rosmarinic acid.
This tasty bird treat can also help control your pet’s blood sugar levels and keep your bird in shape, thanks to its high fiber content and low glycaemic index (GI).
Like other kinds of beans, green beans are high in Vitamin K and A, low in fat, but rich in fiber.
They’re also loaded with antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol glycosides which help fight against free radicals.
Parrots have no receptors that can taste the heat in hot pepper. Still, they can benefit from the capsaicin compound it contains because it prevents colon cancer and relieves pain and arthritis symptoms.
On top of that, it offers loads of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, B6, A, and K1, Copper, and Potassium.
Did you know the gel-like substance in okra called mucilage is linked to a lower risk of heart disease?
Furthermore, it contains Vitamins A, C, K, and B6, Folate, Magnesium, and antioxidants such as flavonoids and isoquercetin, making it a terrific treat for birds. However, not all birds enjoy okra’s slimy and grassy taste.
In case you don’t know, lettuce is rich in vitamin K, which strengthens birds’ bones, and vitamin A, which helps improve eyesight.
But you have to know that iceberg lettuce has the least amount of nutrients, and overconsumption of lettuce can lead to gas, bloating, stomachache, and diarrhea.
Peas are Fabaceae or Leguminosae family members, so they’re legumes, not vegetables. But they’re abundant in iron and antioxidants.
Additionally, they contain 5g of fiber per 100g and are one of the best plant-based proteins, so they’re more filling than other veggies.
Pumpkins and their seeds are among the best food for birds because they’re high in vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Contrary to popular belief, parsley is safe for birds to consume. In fact, it’s packed with Vitamin K, sufficient vitamins A and C, and antioxidants such as luteolin, apigenin, and folate.
Raw snap peas can satisfy many birds, thanks to their intense flavor and crunch. Furthermore, they’re rich in Vitamin K, which is essential to a bird’s clotting system.
Like carrots, sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that supports optimal eye health and strengthens the immune system.
They’re healthier than white potatoes and contain fiber that benefits birds’ gut health.
Spinach and other leafy greens are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that boost a bird’s immune system.
Overweight birds can also benefit from spinach because it can make them feel full while you’re cutting back on the amount of calories they consume.
These leafy greens are another abundant source of vitamin K and A, which supports heart and bone health and is safe for birds.
What Fruits Can Birds Eat?
Since we’ve already discussed the best vegetables for birds, you may wonder if birds can eat fruits. Well, the answer is yes.
In fact, birds in the wild mostly feed on fruits and vegetables. But not all fruits are safe for avian creatures.
So, in In this section, we’ll answer the question, “what fruit is safe for birds?” Here’s a list of fruits your birds can safely gorge on:
You can offer your birds some apples but keep the pit or seeds away from them. Apple comes with vitamin C, an excellent immune booster for ill birds.
However, birds can produce their own vitamin C from their liver’s glucose. So, if you want more beneficial fruits for your feathery pet, check this out.
Juicy apricots are also safe for birds (except for their pits or seeds) and are excellent sources of fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
But never give apricot seeds or pits to your birds because they contain cyanide which is toxic to birds.
Bananas are a rich source of vitamins A, B6, and C, which benefit birds. Additionally, this fruit is a significant source of potassium and dietary fiber.
Bananas can promote a bird’s general health and well-being when given in moderation.
The sweet and sour taste, vivid colors, and soft texture of berries make them appealing to birds. But on top of that, they’re rich in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
There’s an array of berry options, including blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, strawberries, bilberries, and cranberries.
But the healthiest, with high antioxidant levels and fiber but less natural sugar, is black raspberry.
Some parrots may not like the taste of cantaloupe, but others love to indulge in this soft, tasty, fleshy, easy-to-tear fruit packed with vitamins B6 and C and potassium.
It helps boost immunity, strengthen the bird’s body, and aid in digestion when given in the right doses.
Bluebirds, cardinals, catbirds, finches, chickadees, jays, and mockingbirds are fond of cherries.
And you don’t have to worry about their safety because they’re safe for avian creatures except for their cyanide pits. Cherries are rich in essential vitamins but throw the pits away.
Birds like orioles, waxwings, bluebirds, catbirds, robins, thrashers, and thrushes love figs not just because of their fruit but because some of them want to eat the insects near the figs.
These fruits are also abundant in vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium, and they’re generally safe for bird consumption.
Guava has a lot of antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, and iron, all of which are good for parrots.
This delicious tropical fruit is packed with vitamins and nutrients and is available in various colors, sizes, and flavors.
Kiwi is low in sugar and fiber, vitamins C and K, selenium, and other beneficial nutrients to birds. It also contains vitamin B9, which is another benefit.
Kiwi is a fantastic fruit that is safe to feed to your lovely, feathered companion because it combines nutrients and antioxidants.
If you’re a fan of mango, you may share some chunks of the flesh with your birds. Birds like jays, bluebirds, mockingjay, robins, tanagers, thrashers, and woodpeckers would love to take a sip on its juice or take tiny bites.
Mangos are healthy, safe for birds, and high in folate, vitamins A, C, E, K, and B. On top of that, they’re rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols but must be given in moderation because too much sugar can cause adverse effects.
Birds eat fruit like oranges too, but since it’s highly acidic, it must be given in moderation and occasionally.
It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C, dietary fiber, and potassium. But too much consumption can cause gut discomfort.
Papaya dice that are chewy and tasty is an excellent natural treatment for cage birds. Your bird will love the tropical flavor in a morsel that is the perfect size.
Vitamin C and A are both abundant in papaya, which supports your birds’ immune systems and bones by boosting their levels.
Peach juice or the fruit’s meat can both be consumed by birds. Vitamins A, E, K, and C are abundant in this delectable fruit.
In addition, it gives birds traces of copper, manganese, and potassium. However, it must first remove the seeds and pits before being presented to birds.
We’re wrapping up this list with this sour-tasting fruit we love; the pineapple. Yes, birds eat fruit like pineapple too, and the good news is it’s rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
It’s also an excellent calcium source that boosts bone fiber and tissues to keep the body strong.
Toxic Fruits and Vegetables for Pet Birds
Some fruits and vegetables that are safe for human consumption contain toxins that are detrimental to birds’ health.
So, curating your bird’s meal, make sure to avoid the following toxic fruits and vegetables for birds.
What Vegetables Are Toxic to Birds?
A fungus, mushrooms have been known to disturb companion birds’ digestive systems.
Don’t allow your pet bird to eat raw or cooked mushrooms since some species’ caps and stems might cause animal liver failure.
Tomatoes’ stems, vines, and leaves are highly toxic to birds. Furthermore, their fruits are highly acidic.
So, even if they’re tasty, they’re not the best and safest option for birds.
A tiny amount of onion and garlic is acceptable for birds. But excessive consumption can induce vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive problems in birds.
Furthermore, prolonged exposure can cause hemolytic anemia, a blood condition leading to respiratory problems and death.
Peanuts are not toxic for birds but can harbor the mold called Aspergillus flavus that causes Aspergillosis, which is highly fatal in parrots.
But other nuts, such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts, are safe for your avian pets.
Cooked beans are healthy and safe, but raw or dry beans are extremely harmful because of highly toxic hemagglutinin that causes the agglutination of red blood cells.
What Fruits Birds Cannot Eat?
Although there is some disagreement over the extent of avocado toxicity, it is better to better safe than sorry.
The skin and pit of this beloved fruit have been known to cause cardiac discomfort and, ultimately, heart failure in pet bird species.
So, keep pet birds as far away from guacamole and other avocado products as possible.
Apple fruit is safe for your bird, but be mindful that pesticides may also be on the fruit’s skin and the toxic seeds.
Apples, along with other members of the rose family, such as cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears, contain traces of cyanide within their seeds.
To prevent your bird from being exposed to these chemicals, clean and core any apple pieces you give them thoroughly.
Pros and Cons of Feeding Fruits and Vegetables to Birds
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals beneficial for birds. Still, some owners are concerned about their pet birds developing diarrhea due to fruits and vegetables’ high water content.
But the truth is the increased urine output is contributed by the high moisture content of fresh produce, and it’s called polyuria. This condition could be normal for birds but also indicate a health problem or disease.
So, if you’re pet bird’s intake of fresh produce did not increase, but it’s suffering from polyuria, it’s best to consult your vet as soon as possible.
Cleaning up their wet droppings can be a hassle, so that’s another thing to consider before feeding your birds fruits and vegetables.
Tips When Feeding Fruits and Vegetables to Birds
Fruits and veggies are a surefire way to reward your birds because they’re healthy and delicious. You can offer them either raw, cooked, thawed, frozen, or canned, but cooking can deplete the nutrients. So, they’re better served raw.
Canned fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, are usually packed with salt and sugar. So, we recommend rinsing them well before feeding them to your birds.
And since your avian pets are sensitive to pesticides, chemicals, and sprays, it’s best to wash well all fresh produce and choose organic options.
Here are other tips to ensure you feed them with fruits and veggies the right and safe way.
- Always check and monitor the fruits and vegetables your chicken eats every day.
- Don’t forget to provide fresh and clean water.
- Clean the food and water dishes daily to prevent bacterial infection.
- Avoid putting your bird’s food at the bottom of the cage, where its droppings may fall. Otherwise, you’re setting your birds up for serious health problems.
You can give fruits and veggies all year round, but it’s best to give more during the breeding and molting season. However, you must control your bird’s consumption of the following:
- Watery veggies like watermelon, cucumber, grapes, and acidic fruits such as tomatoes and lemon.
- Veggies that contain iron, like spinach, because excessive consumption of iron-rich foods can lead to iron storage disease.
If your bird isn’t used to eating fresh produce or new fruits and vegetables, here are some tips to get them to try new things:
How to Get Your Encourage Birds to Eat Vegetables
- Give your bird a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in small pieces rather than one big piece. But make sure it’s not too small for your bird so they’ll have something to do. Food can be a source of entertainment for birds, and eating can keep boredom away.
- If your bird is fond of unhealthy food, try feeding less of it to encourage him to eat other healthier meals.
- Introduce the fruits and veggies slowly and preferably in the morning. Birds in the wild forage for food in the morning, and domesticated birds have kept that trait. So, start their day with a bowl of nutritious foods.
- If the previous tips didn’t work, try mixing the fruits and veggies with their favorite foods.
- Try offering your fruits and veggies in different forms to make them inviting for your avians. You may cook them or serve them raw, cold, or hot.
- If all of the tips above fail, try to pique your bird’s interest by eating fruits and vegetables in its line of sight.
Your birds see you as part of their flock. So, they might get intrigued when they see you eating something new and may want to join you in your meal.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fruits and Vegetables for Pet Birds
What are birds’ favorite vegetables?
Broccoli, yellow squash, and greens are popular among birds, but other avian favorites include kale, carrots, peas, bell peppers, and root vegetables.
But you can offer a wide range of veggies to your feathery companion.
What fruits should I feed my bird?
Most birds’ favorites are berries, including blackberries, beautyberries, blueberries, currants, raspberries, mulberries, juniper, and serviceberries but birds also like oranges and plums.
Birds also eat fruit like prickly pear, although grapes are easier to eat.
Can birds eat fruit every day?
You can feed your birds fruits and vegetables daily in addition to their main diet.
But you must avoid toxic fruits and veggies and ensure you don’t overfeed them because they may be nutritious, but they must only be 10 to 30% of your avian’s diet.
What fruits and vegetables are toxic to birds?
It’s widely known that avocados, garlic, onions, apple seeds, and pits contain harmful toxins to birds, but you should also avoid mushrooms and dried beans.
Since peanuts’ shells can harbor molds that cause Aspergillosis, it’s best to avoid feeding them to birds.
Fruits and Vegetables for Pet Birds: Final Takeaways
Veggies are healthier than fruits, but the latter taste better, so your bird may prefer fruits over veggies.
However, the rule of thumb for bird nutrition is to outnumber the fruits with veggies in a ratio of 10:1.
But it can vary depending on the species because Caiques, Eclectus, and Lories prefer and require more fruits than other birds.
Overall, the healthiest fruits and vegetables for pet birds are those in dark yellow, blue, green, orange, and red colors.
The general rule is the darker, the better. So, the best fruits and vegetables for parrots and other birds are bell pepper, carrots, squash, pumpkins, hot peppers, mangos, berries, and asparagus.
But you should avoid avocados, tomato leaves, onion, garlic, mushroom, dried beans, and peanuts.
Apple and peach pits contain cyanide toxins, so you should keep them away from your birds.
But if you are still hesitant about the fruits and vegetables for your pet birds, it’s always best to consult with your avian vet first.