Can Cockatiels Eat Quinoa?

Recently, my son began asking for a pet.

I knew that he would thrive best with a pet that was relatively intelligent and he could teach a few commands too, but I didn’t think our lifestyle was suited best for a dog.

I work long hours, and he wouldn’t be able to care for a dog on his own yet.

So, we decided together that he should get a bird.

After some research, he had his heart set on a cockatiel — so that’s what we got!

Of course, we had done research to understand the basics of what cockatiels eat, but we soon began to wonder about other types of food that might be beneficial to the bird.

One day, while eating dinner, my son asked me: “Do you think he can eat quinoa?”

I did not know the answer, and we decided to look into it together. So, here is my research to answer the question: “Can cockatiels eat quinoa?”

The answer is yes, cockatiels can eat quinoa. In fact, birds love grains — and quinoa is one of the best that you can feed them because quinoa has a higher nutrient content than many other grains. Your cockatiel can get a ton of protein from eating quinoa.

In this article, we’re going to dive deeper into why quinoa is good for your pet cockatiel, how much quinoa you should feed your cockatiel, how to prepare quinoa for your cockatiel, and some other foods that may be safe (or unsafe) for your bird.

Let’s continue!


Why is quinoa healthy for birds?

Seeds and grains are essential to any bird’s diet.

You should make sure your cockatiel’s diet consists of about 60 percent to 70 percent grains and seeds.

The reason that quinoa, specifically, is beneficial to your bird is because of its high protein content.

Making sure your cockatiel gets enough protein is essential to help it maintain its body temperature and its shining feathers.

It also helps your cockatiel grow to its proper adult size.

In addition to a high protein content, quinoa contains other nutrients that will help your cockatiel thrive, including calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamin E.


How should I cook quinoa for my cockatiel?

This is an important question, because you aren’t going to be able to just grab some quinoa off your dinner table and feed it to your cockatiel.

Technically, your bird can eat quinoa in any form — raw, cooked, or sprouted.

The best method to serve your cockatiel quinoa is cooked, but you’re going to want to avoid a plethora of spices and seasonings.

Make sure you soak the quinoa in water before cooking, and avoid any flavor additives.


Can my cockatiel eat too much quinoa?

Luckily, no!

Remember, your cockatiel needs about 60 percent to 70 percent of its diet to consist of grains and seeds — and quinoa is one of the best grains you could feed your cockatiel.

Of course, you want to make sure that you are giving your cockatiel the proper portions for each meal.

Cockatiels should consume about 15 grams of food per day, meaning that about 9 to 10.5 grams should be grains and seeds.

You can feed your cockatiel primarily quinoa, if you’d like.

However, it is always good to include some variety in the seeds and grains you’re feeding your cockatiel to avoid any nutritional deficiencies and have the healthiest bird possible.


What other grains and seeds could I pair with the quinoa?

There are so many grains and seeds that can add value to your cockatiel’s diet! Some are: sunflower, safflower, thistle, millet, corn, and peanuts.

Make sure to avoid any fruit seeds, as those can be toxic to your cockatiel.


What else can I feed my cockatiel?

Cockatiels need a balanced diet that can include seeds, pellets, fresh fruits, and vegetables. In addition to seeds and grains, you can feed your cockatiel a plethora of other foods.

About 20 percent of their daily diet can consist of leafy greens and other vegetables, like sweet potatoes, sprouts, cooked beets, broccoli, carrots, carrot tops, corn, chard, endive, fresh sprouts, wax beans, parsley, pumpkin, red or green sweet peppers, watercress, yellow squash, and zucchini.

Every other day, you can treat your cockatiel to some fresh fruit, like berries, melon, papaya or kiwi.

And ONLY about once a month, you can offer an even more special treat like a honey stick.

Remember, pesticides and other chemicals can be fatal to a cockatiel.

Try to stick to organic fruits and vegetables where possible, and make sure to thoroughly wash any food before giving it to your bird.


Are there any foods that are poisonous to a cockatiel?

Yes, there are definitely foods that you should avoid feeding your cockatiel because they could make your avian friend sick.

First of all, a good rule to remember is that if it isn’t a great source of nutrients for you, it probably isn’t a great source of nutrients for your cockatiel.

And while it’s okay to treat your bird every once in a while, it is important to stick to a diet that is filled with nutrients.

There are also some foods that ARE nutritious for humans that should be avoided when feeding your cockatiel.

Foods that are poisonous to your cockatiel include: shellfish, avocadoes, mushrooms, rhubarb, tomato, and eggplant.

You should also avoid the pits of apples, apricots, organs, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums.

Lots of salt and sugar are also not good for your cockatiel to consume.


As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make sure that your cockatiel is getting the proper nutrients.

Lucky for you, if you love quinoa — so does your avian friend!

Quinoa is a great way to make sure that your cockatiel is getting a nutrient rich diet.

Just make sure that you are also introducing a variety of other foods into your cockatiel’s diet so that they can thrive!

The more nutrients you can pack into their 15 grams of food per day, the better!

A nutrient rich diet will help your cockatiel thrive and grow.

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