I was out at a Mexican restaurant with some friends the other day and we got chatting, as we often do, about our bird’s diet—we are all parrot lovers!
I’ve always enjoyed spicy food, but I’ve never shared any of it with my cockatiels because I assumed the spice would be too much for them.
One of my friends, however, was telling me that he has been feeding all sorts of peppers—including jalapenos—to his cockatiel for years and it always loved them.
This really intrigued me, so I decided to look into it.
Can cockatiels eat jalapenos?
Yes, they can! Birds actually cannot sense the heat of jalapenos, and so have no problem eating them. Cockatiels just don’t have the receptors to register spiciness, so a jalapeno registers for them the same way any other vegetable would. Cockatiels, despite their small stature, love spicy peppers!
I was really quite amazed to learn this, and so I decided I would finally share some spicy food with my cockatiel.
There are a few caveats but essentially a jalapeno is a great snack or treat to feed to your cockatiel that it will love.
Read on to find out more.
Are jalapenos good for cockatiels?
Yes, in many ways they are.
Broadly speaking, cockatiels should have some amount of fresh vegetables in their diet, and they love jalapeno peppers.
You should always keep moderation in mind, in both short and long term.
Swap it out for other treats and don’t feed them too much at once otherwise they will become sick.
Particularly, jalapenos are rich in many healthy nutrients.
They are packed with lots of vitamin B6, A and K. Vitamin A is really important for overall health and digestion.
Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and healing wounds, as well as keeping the skeleton nice and strong.
They are also rich in minerals, like folate and manganese.
Minerals are again essential to overall health and wellbeing, and particularly the strength of bones and blood again.
Finally, jalapenos are rich in fiber, which is an essential cornerstone of a cockatiel’s diet.
It will keep its digestion in top shape and help it process all of its other foods.
As I said, though, moderation is key for the very fact that they are so nutrient-rich.
They don’t need very much to get all the benefit they need, so keep that in mind.
Are jalapenos too spicy for cockatiels?
They aren’t spicy for cockatiels at all.
As mentioned, cockatiels, and indeed birds in general, lack the receptors necessary to sense spiciness in this way.
Though it’s hard to believe, our sense of the ‘spiciness’ of something comes from our sense of touch, not taste.
Birds do not have a sense of touch as developed or sensitive as ours, so they lack any faculty to detect spiciness.
So, no, jalapenos are not too spicy for cockatiels—even if they’re too spicy for you!
Can cockatiels eat green jalapenos?
Green jalapenos are the most common and widely available, and are perfectly safe for your cockatiel.
These will likely be the variety that your cockatiel enjoys the most, as they are most widely cultivated and therefore you will have the best choice.
Green jalapenos are a great snack for your cockatiel, and indeed one they may be more naturally drawn to.
Despite their lack of spice receptors, they are still somewhat cautious of brightly colored foods in some cases.
Can cockatiels eat red jalapenos?
Red jalapenos are not far behind green ones in terms of availability.
Again, they are totally safe for your cockatiel, and in fact do not really differ in any fundamental way from green jalapenos.
It’s just the color and how they are cultivated.
As I said, the only reason you may want to go for green jalapenos rather than red ones is that your cockatiel may be a bit hesitant to eat something so brightly colored.
Not all the time, certainly, and pet cockatiels are much less likely to be cautious in this way than wild ones.
Nevertheless, it’s a possibility, so where possible just get green ones.
Can cockatiels eat yellow jalapenos?
Yellow jalapenos are much rarer and less widely cultivated.
They are considered something of an exotic curiosity, in some ways.
Again, though, they do not fundamentally differ from typical jalapenos in any way that will make a difference to your cockatiel.
Yellow jalapenos can be hard to find, so there’s no sense in seeking them out for your cockatiel.
Again, they may have an aversion to the bright color anyway, so you’re better off just buying green jalapenos where ever you can.
Whatever the color or variety, jalapenos are totally safe for your cockatiel and it will love eating them.
For me, I don’t think it will ever stop making me wince, to watch such a small animal eat a spicy pepper like that.
Just remember they can’t taste the spice! Jalapenos, for that reason, make a great treat to feed to your cockatiel that will have great dietary benefits at the same time.