I was chatting with some friends the other day and we were comparing notes on our cockatiel’s diets.
I said I only ever fed them an exclusive diet of fruit, veg and their regular seeds and pellets.
One of my friends suggested that they wouldn’t be getting enough protein in their diet—though I thought they would from the nuts!
He said he fed his cockatiels chicken and was convinced they were healthier for it, so I decided to look into it.
So, can cockatiels eat chicken?
In small amounts, yes, and it can be a good source of protein. It has to be cooked—raw chicken is very dangerous. But yes, cockatiels can eat chicken in small amounts. That said, they can quite adequately get the protein they need in their diets without eating chicken.
So, while cockatiels can eat chicken, and they may love it, there’s no necessity for it in their diets.
They do sometimes have protein-deficient diets, but this can be corrected without the use of chicken.
Remember, cockatiels are mostly herbivores in the wild.
So, if you’ve not been feeding your cockatiel chicken, don’t worry.
But if you want to, you certainly can.
Let’s look further into this.
Is chicken good for cockatiels?
This is the difficult part of this.
The simple answer is, apparently, yes, in small amounts.
Chicken is a good source of protein, and they will enjoy it most of the time.
The most important thing, though, as I’ll get into in more detail, is that it’s cooked.
I’m sure I don’t need to explain the dangers of uncooked chicken, but they’re the same for cockatiels.
So, yes, as a source of protein, chicken can be good for cockatiels.
However, for my money, there are much more convenient sources that tend to make a lot more sense in the wider picture of their diet.
Nuts are the best source of protein, really, since they have beaks designed to break and open nuts.
Furthermore, chicken is only a good source of protein because chickens eat plant matter.
So, in reality, your cockatiel is probably getting all the protein it needs from its regular diet.
So, while some would argue it’s a great way to get protein into their diet, I personally don’t see the advantage.
They will be quite happy with nuts and seeds, and plant food has a greater concentration of protein than our meat-eating society gives it credit for.
Is chicken bad for cockatiels?
Inherently, no, chicken isn’t bad or dangerous for your cocaktiel.
Again, as long as it’s cooked—raw chicken has a very high chance of killing your cockatiel in a short time.
Don’t ever feed them raw chicken.
That said, cooked chicken is also going to be problematic in the wrong quantities.
Even slightly too much will cause pain, indigestion, and diarrhea.
While this can be said of most things you might feed your cockatiel, it is going to be much more sensitive to chicken.
In the wild, cockatiels are exclusively herbivores.
They don’t eat meat, and certainly not chicken.
While it may be a good treat in a domestic environment, they won’t be struggling without it.
Can cockatiels eat raw chicken?
Absolutely, categorically not.
Raw chicken is one of the most dangerous and potentially infectious kinds of meat, for reasons I’m sure you’re already aware of.
Salmonella is just as much of a problem for cockatiels as it is for us, so there is no safe way for them to eat raw chicken.
The fact that you have to cook the chicken to make it safe just goes to show, in my opinion, how unnecessary feeding any kind of meat is to cockatiels.
They just aren’t equipped to process it.
Can cockatiels eat cooked chicken?
Yes, they can, and this is the safe way to feed them chicken.
If you have some left over after dinner, then slipping a bit to your cockatiel will not be a problem.
However, as I’ve said, I personally do not see any strong advantage to feeding chicken to your cockatiel.
They will get all the protein they need, if you’re feeding them properly, from the rest of the diet—they’re herbivores with no need to eat meat.
It’s a bit of a strange one, then. the simple answer is yes, cockatiels can eat chicken, and may even derive considerable benefit from doing so.
That said, they would never really eat meat in the wild, and for my money, the diet you give them should be your best approximation of their wild diet.
Chicken is a good source of protein for cockatiels, but so are nuts and seeds.
Whether or not you feed your cockatiel chicken is up to you, but only ever in small amounts.