It won’t surprise you to learn that as long as I have been a parrot owner, I have also been an avid birdwatcher.
I’ve always had some kind of bird feeding station in my garden, after years of battling to keep squirrels away.
One thing that it never occurred to me to try, though, was feeding my outdoor bird feed to my cockatiels.
He came over the other day as I was unloading mealworms on to the feeder, so I gave him one to try.
He wanted more, but I wanted to be sure it was safe first.
So, can cockatiels eat mealworms?
Yes, cockatiels can eat mealworms and they will love them. Cockatiels do need a certain amount of protein in their diet which isn’t always easy to get—mealworms are a great option for this. they only need a very small amount, though, so moderation is really important.
So, the simple answer is yes.
It will probably come as no surprise to anyone who watches birds like I do.
If most other birds enjoy mealworms safely, why shouldn’t cockatiels?
In any case, let’s look further into this.
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Are mealworms good for cockatiels?
Yes, mealworms are good for cockatiels in many ways.
For one thing, like most birds, cockatiels will just love them as a treat and will enjoy the taste.
Indeed, for a pet cockatiel, a mealworm represents the kind of prey food they don’t normally get in a house.
Beyond that, mealworms are a fantastic source of protein.
As I said, the main way that most people get protein into their cockatiel’s diet is through nuts.
Many have difficulty finding a good source of protein, and while nuts are great too, mealworms are another good way to change up your cockatiel’s diet.
Mealworms are also rich in calcium.
Calcium is essential for the overall strength of the skeleton, and it too can be a bit tricky to get into their diet.
Fresh fruit is the main other way, so mealworms make another great way to do this.
They also contain a number of vitamins, such as vitamin C and A.
These vitamins serve a variety of functions, among other things serving as antioxidants, preventing the build up of free radicals.
Free radicals damage your cockatiel’s cells over time, which can lead to a variety of conditions.
So, mealworms are a great addition to your cockatiel’s diet.
However, moderation is the important thing, so let’s look at the caveats.
Are mealworms bad for cockatiels?
In and of themselves, mealworms are not bad for cockatiels.
They aren’t toxic or inherently dangerous in any way.
That said, how you get them into your cockatiel’s diet is an important question.
You need to be very careful of moderation.
Mealworms are quite nutritionally rich compared to, say, the seeds that should make up most of your cockatiel’s diet.
So, once or twice a week, in small amounts, will be more than enough mealworms for your cockatiels.
Any more, and they will become oversaturated.
They will essentially have eaten too many nutrients, and their body will struggle to break it down.
As long as you keep within these limits, mealworms are totally safe for your cockatiel.
Should you soak mealworms for cockatiels?
Many opt to soak mealworms before feeding them to their cockatiels, and there are certainly some reasons to do so.
You should be well aware that the source of the mealworms is reputable, first.
Soaking them does allow them an extra clean, and make them a bit safer.
Your cockatiel may well prefer them soft, too.
This will often come down to a matter of taste, though, but in any case, soaking before giving them to your cockatiels is certainly a good option.
Can cockatiels eat dry mealworms?
They can also just as well eat them dry, though.
Dried is usually how they are fed to the wild birds, after all, unless they get rained on.
So, dried mealworms are totally safe for your cockatiel.
Again, though, the important thing is moderation.
The temptation with dried mealworms, since you don’t have to prepare them, is to give your cockatiel a lot.
However, they are just as nutritionally rich if soaked or dry.
Either way you feed them, you should be feeding them mealworms once or twice a week at most.
Swap them out for other snacks.
So, however you prepare them, as long as you keep strict moderation in mind, mealworms make a great snack for your cockatiel and provide some much-needed protein.
They will almost certainly love the taste and texture, as well as being provided so many nutritional benefits.
Indeed, mealworms are one of the best ways to get protein into your cockatiel’s diet beyond nuts, and they will always appreciate having their diet switched up for variety!