Author: Patricia Larson, LVT
Published: July 21, 2023
Fresh foods are an important and essential part of the diet of pet birds. Fresh fruits and vegetables in particular are rich sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help the support whole body health of our feathered friends. Foraging for these foods provides mental stimulation and promotes and mimicks the same physical activity birds would engage in throughout their natural, wild environment.
We’ve outlined the best fresh fruits for birds in a separate article. But, what are the best veggies to feed your parrot?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best veggies for birds.
The Best Fresh Veggies For Birds
So, what are the best veggies to feed your parrot? Some of the best fresh veggies for birds include:
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Snap peas
- Green beans
- Squash and zucchini
Can Birds Eat Artichokes?
Artichokes are a great addition to the daily diet of pet birds. These nutty, flavorful thistle buds are a popular choice among larger parrots especially. The heart, leaves, and stems are all edible and parrots enjoy actively peeling them apart.
Can Birds Eat Spinach And Other Leafy Greens?
Spinach, kale, dandelion, and turnip greens are all wonderful fresh options for birds. Packed full of beneficial vitamins, these greens are great for adding enrichment to your bird’s daily routine. You can even wrap them around other items to provide a tasty puzzle. Just be sure to avoid higher-iron greens and veggies during molting.
Can Birds Eat Sprouts?
Sprouts are a flavor-packed and easy way to offer greens to your bird. Sprouts are fun and easy to grow on our own as well. Just scatter sprout seeds between damp paper towels and keep them in a cool dark place for a few days. Voila! Fresh sprouts for your feathered friend!
Can Birds Eat Asparagus?
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin B12 that many birds enjoy. This herbaceous perennial plant can make your bird’s droppings smell stronger than normal, so offer sparingly.
Can Birds Eat Carrots?
Carrots are great for supporting your bird’s eye health. These crunchy, nutrition-packed veggies are great for helping your bird exercise their jaw. Carrots are best offered raw when washed and peeled.
Can Birds Eat Snap Peas?
Snap peas are great interactive veggies that offer a satisfying crunch that birds enjoy. Birds can peel them open and find the peas inside – a great option for enrichment!
Can Birds Eat Green Beans?
Green beans make a great fresh addition to your bird’s diet. Like snap peas, these fun little morsels are full of Vitamin K and offer a satisfying crunch!
Can Birds Eat Broccoli and Cauliflower?
Broccoli and cauliflower are chockful of nutritional goodness for birds. Offer these healthy veggies either raw or steamed. Birds have tons of fun breaking broccoli and cauliflower apart! Chock full of goodness for your bird, both are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants.
Can Birds Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are a great choice for parrots. When parrots eat sweet potatoes, they especially benefit from the beta-carotene content. Sweet potato skin is rich in nutrients, so don’t worry about peeling! Offer sweet potatoes steamed or raw depending on your bird’s preference.
Can Birds Eat Squash and Zucchini?
Squash and zucchini make a healthy addition to bird diets. You can offer these versatile veggies steamed, raw, warm, or cold.
Can Birds Eat Bell Peppers?
Birds can eat peppers of all kinds. The bright, fun colors of bell peppers are a particular draw for your feathered companion. Bell peppers are full of great vitamins like Vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene. Offer your bird bell peppers today for an immune system boost!
Can Birds Eat Hot Peppers?
Did you know that parrots have no taste sensors for spicy flavors? Birds benefit from capsaicin and vitamins and minerals in spicy peppers. Birds can eat spicy peppers – just don’t overwhelm them.
Vegetables To Avoid For Birds
As you’ve learned, there are many wonderful veggies to choose from for your feathered friend. When it comes to providing a safe and nourishing diet for your birds, there are some veggie varieties to avoid altogether. The veggies on this list present health dangers for birds
Veggies to avoid for birds include:
- Avocadoes and avocado-based foods
- Tomato leaves and stems
Avocado and Avocado-Based Products
Some species of avocado are toxic to birds. Avocado poisoning is serious and can be life-threatening. Avoid avocadoes and products like guacamole to keep your bird friend safe.
Tomato Leaves and Stems
Keep tomato leaves and stems away from your bird as they are highly toxic. Tomatoes are acidic and can cause diarrhea in birds. Offer tomatoes in small amounts or avoided in favor of other bird friendly fruits and veggies on the list.
Garlic and Onions
Small amounts of garlic and onions aren’t usually a problem for birds, but larger amounts may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Excessive amounts of garlic and onions can lead to serious health issues like hemolytic anemia. All things considered, it’s safest to pass on garlic and onions altogether.
Veggie Safety Tips For Birds:
There are a few important safety tips to keep in mind when offering veggies to your birds. The following recommendations will help you keep your feathered friend healthy and happy when adding fresh foods to their daily diet:
- Avoid canned veggies. These foods often have added salt or sugars that make them unhealthy. If canned veggies are your only option, rinse them well before offering to your feathered friend.
- Check the food you offer daily and wash the dishes to prevent bacterial infection or mold growth.
- Make sure to keep dishes away from the bottom of the cage and their droppings.
- Cut fruits and veggies into appropriate-sized pieces. Don’t make the pieces too small to prevent your bird from swallowing them whole. This gives your birds something to do and prevents choking.
This article is designed to offer general guidelines and recommendations and is not an exhaustive list of appropriate and inappropriate veggies for birds. If you have questions about a specific food that wasn’t addressed in this article, be sure to reach out to your bird-savvy veterinarian.