I was making a nice dinner the other night and I decided to garnish it with some parsley on the side.
My cockatiel, who so far had not been interested in anything I was cooking, suddenly swooped over and started asking to be given some parsley.
I had never seen him this way about parsley before, so I’d never tried feeding it to him.
I wasn’t sure if it would be safe, so I decided to look into it and find out.
So, can cockatiels eat parsley?
Yes, cockatiels can eat parsley! They love leafy and herby greens like parsley, and will enjoy a little bit as a snack. It should only be an occasional treat, though, as too much will quickly become a problem. As long as you keep moderation in mind, you’ll have no trouble.
So, the simple answer is yes.
The slightly longer answer is that they should eat it, but you need to be very careful of moderation.
Too much will become problematic even in the long term for a wide variety of reasons which I will get into.
Let’s look further into this.
Is parsley good for cockatiels?
Yes, in lots of ways!
Plants and leafy greens like parsley are a great choice for your cockatiel’s diet, and come with a lot of benefits they may struggle to get from the rest of their diet.
Let’s look at a few of these benefits.
For one thing, leafy greens and herbs like parsley are a great source of fiber for your cockatiel.
There isn’t a huge amount in parsley, but there’s enough to make a difference.
Fiber is essential to healthy digestion, helping everything move smoothly.
Parsley is also rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals, which damage your cockatiel’s cells.
Antioxidants are essential for your cockatiel’s prolonged health, and parsley is a great source.
Parsley is also packed with vitamin K.
Vitamin K is essential to the health of your cockatiel’s bones, and will keep its skeleton as strong as it should be.
Finally, parsley contains many nutrients called carotenes which help protect the eyes and slow the degradation of their eyesight.
Not to mention that for the most part, cockatiels will just love parsley and will get excited about eating it!
That is, of course, one of the most important things.
But there are some important caveats to this question.
Is parsley bad for cockatiels?
Parsley is not inherently bad for cockatiels.
Indeed, it was once received wisdom that parsley was toxic for cockatiels and parrots in general.
This is far from the case.
That said, there are some caveats you need to be aware of when feeding parsley to your cockatiel.
First of all, moderation.
Your cockatiel should mostly be eating seeds and its regular feed, and fresh fruits, vegetables and leafy greens like parsley should make up only a small part of that.
Within that treat and snack section of their diet, parsley should occupy a still smaller position.
So, once or twice a week at most is plenty of parsley for your cockatiel.
Swap it out with other snacks during the rest of the week, so they get the best range of benefits.
In one sitting, your cockatiel should know its own limits, and won’t eat beyond what it needs.
However, you should still only give them a small amount of parsley on each occasion.
If they overeat, it will cause pain and indigestion.
As long as you keep all this in mind, parsley makes a great addition to your cockatiel’s diet.
But how to prepare it?
Can cockatiels eat raw parsley?
As with virtually any plant-based food, raw is always the best option.
The food you give them should be the best imitation you can manage of what they would eat in the wild.
Naturally, they wouldn’t eat much cooked food in the wild.
The taste and texture will be much better for your cockatiel, so you should definitely give them parsley in raw form.
What about if it is cooked?
Can cockatiels eat cooked parsley?
While cooked parsley doesn’t pose any specific threat, you will have to know exactly what it has been cooked with.
Often, if it is doused in oil or any other cooking substance, this can be bad for your cockatiel.
Don’t take the chance, just give them raw parsley.
Despite whatever old wisdom you may have received about parsley being toxic for birds, it’s actually the case that parsley is very good for them, in the right quantities.
There is nothing inherently toxic about it, and nothing dangerous as long as they do not eat too much.
The moderation is the most important thing, and you should never make parsley a regular part of their diet.
As an occasional treat, it makes a great choice.
Anything more than that, it becomes dangerous.