Many dried fruits and vegetables can be part of a healthy parrot diet. Feeding a balanced, nutritious diet that is rich in natural foods is one of the best things you can do to give your parrot a healthy, happy life. Though the exact dietary needs differ for each type of parrot, including fruits and veggies in your bird’s diet is important whether you have an African grey, amazon, eclectus, macaw, parrotlet, or any of the other 300 some odd species of birds in the Psittacidae family. Here are some tips that will be helpful for anyone considering adding dried fruits and vegetables to your parrot’s diet.
Don’t Completely Replace Fresh with Dried
Fresh fruits and vegetables should definitely continue to be part of your parrot’s diet. But, dehydrated vegetables and dried fruit can be a healthy and convenient addition to your parrot’s food plan that that will add vitamins, minerals, and variety. In the wild, parrots forage for a variety of fresh foods, including fruits, nuts, seeds, and berries. These intelligent birds have keen senses of smell and taste and they get bored easily. They may develop a variety of health and behavioral problems if they don’t get a variety of flavors and textures in their diets.
Do Try these Dried Fruits and Vegetables for Snacks, Treats, or Meals
Offer freeze dried fruits and berries such as apples, strawberries, blueberries, apricot, banana, cranberry, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, peach, pear and pineapple.
A list of good dehydrated vegetables to try feeding your parrot includes: carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, mixed peppers, broccoli, butternut squash, and corn.
Don’t Feed Dried Foods Preserved With Sulfur Dioxide
Sulfides are preservatives found in many kinds of commercially dried fruit that may be harmful to your parrot’s health. Sulfur dioxide is the most commonly used sulfuring agent. Many parrots (and people) have been known to have dangerous allergic reactions to these chemicals. When you feed dehydrated fruits to your parrot—always check the labels carefully to make sure that sulfur dioxide is not on the ingredient list.
At Harmony House we use no sulfuring agents, or any other kind of preservative, in any of our products. Many parrot owners purchase their dried fruits and veggies from Harmony House because they like the fact that we don’t add any salt, preservatives, chemicals, or extra sugar. All of our products are also non-GMO!
Don’t Give Fruit Seeds or Pits!
One of the advantages of using dried fruits for parrot treats is that they never contain seeds or pits. Certain fruit seeds and pits can be toxic for your bird. The flesh of apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, and peaches are healthy for your parrot—but never give your bird the seeds or pits of these fruits because they contain cyanide.
Don’t Feed Your Parrot any of These Foods
Onions, garlic, chives, leeks, rhubarb, and mushrooms are vegetables that can make your parrot sick, whether they are served fresh or dried. Here are a few other foods you should never feed your parrot because they are toxic to birds:
- Avocado and guacamole
- Milk, cheese, ice cream or other dairy products
Do Use Dried Food to Introduce Picky Parrots to New Flavors
It is a well known among parrot owners that some birdies can picky eaters. Many parrots simply refuse to try new fresh fruits and vegetables, and it could take a long time (and some sneakiness) to get them to try something new. Dried fruits and vegetables can make this process easier. Mix dried veggies and fruits into your bird’s seed mix. As your parrot goes rooting around in the dish for the tasty seeds it craves—it will get a few bites of fruits or vegetables too. Pay attention to the types of dried fruits or veggies your parrot likes and then try introducing them to those foods in a fresh form.
Do Make Your Own Bird Food
You know your parrot better than anyone else. Formulate your own bird food mix that is tailored to your parrot’s tastes, nutritional needs, and health history. Many premade mixes include additives and preservatives you may not want to feed your bird. When you make your own blend, you have total control over the ingredients in your bird food mix.
Experiment with small batches of dehydrated fruit, dehydrated vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other healthy dried foods. Because these ingredients store well, once you have a formula that works—you can buy ingredients in bulk and make a large batch. If you buy in bulk you may save money in the process! This mix can be fed along with pellets, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables.
Do Carry Dried Food When Traveling
Dried fruits and vegetables are the perfect parrot snack for long car rides. It can be difficult to prepare or store fresh foods while on the road. Freeze dried fruit and vegetables are lightweight, won’t spoil, and can be easily broken into pieces.
Do Use Foraging Toys
In the wild, parrots spend most of their waking hours foraging for food. If a parrot’s instinctual need to search for food is not satisfied, a bird can develop problem behaviors such as over preening. Foraging toys are one solution to this issue. You can hide a mix of their favorite foods in foraging toys that they must find or get open. This activity will help your parrot get physical exercise and mental stimulation that will improve their quality of life. Dried fruits and vegetables are perfect for foraging toys because they are dry and will not spoil if they are not found or extracted right away.
Don’t Make Dietary Changes Without Talking to Your Vet
The most important tip is to talk to your vet before making any changes. A sudden change in diet can cause stress that can trigger health problems. Your vet will be able to recommend the best type of diet for your specific bird, based not only for the size and species of your bird, but on factors such as exercise level, physical condition, and health history.