I recently decided I would try going vegan for a few days, and that meant incorporating a lot of nuts into my diet that I didn’t normally eat.
With my kitchen cupboards stocked high with all sorts of nuts, I got to wondering if they were safe for my Eclectus parrot.
There is some conflicting information on the question, so let’s try to answer it here; can Eclectus parrots eat walnuts?
The short answer is yes, Eclectus parrots can eat walnuts. In general, seeds and nuts are a great source of a number of healthy vitamins for your Eclectus parrot, and would be a staple of their diet in the wild. The only caveat is that, where possible, walnuts fed to parrots should be produced as bird food, and not as a snack for humans.
Parrot owners online have said many times that they feed their Eclectus walnuts and that they enjoy them as a treat.
I’ve taken a deep dive into the topic to try to answer the question in as much detail as possible.
Which walnuts are safe for Eclectus parrots?
The most important thing is that your Eclectus parrot has a well-rounded diet.
Walnuts are great as a treat for your Eclectus.
Since parrots, like most birds, eat a lot of nuts in the wild, you can be sure walnuts would be a healthy treat.
Some parrot owners on forums have expressed concern that walnuts can be contaminated with certain chemicals which can be dangerous to parrots.
Walnuts are more vulnerable to attack by fungi called Aspergillus and A. parasiticus, which can produce carcinogenic (potentially cancer-causing) compounds.
However, the walnuts which reach store shelves are inspected for harmful chemicals to ensure they are free from anything dangerous.
Walnuts produced for human consumption therefore may contain higher concentrations of cleaning chemicals.
This is why it is always best to buy nuts that are produced as bird food and not as a snack for people.
Don’t share your own walnuts with your parrot!
What are the benefits of walnuts for Eclectus parrots?
Nuts are a great source of a number of healthy vitamins, so are great as a treat for your Eclectus parrot.
Walnuts in particular are a great source of manganese, phosphorous, and magnesium.
However, walnuts do contain a high-fat content, so it is important to remember to only give them in moderation as a treat.
Those fats are nonetheless very healthy in moderation.
Fats keep Eclectus parrots’ skin and feathers healthy while also providing plenty of energy.
Eclectus parrots do not need as many nuts as other parrots who may rely on them more heavily.
So, moderation is the key.
Can Eclectus parrots eat walnuts in the shell?
Another great thing about feeding nuts to your Eclectus parrot is that, if left in the shell, it provides an excellent enrichment activity.
The large, tough shell creates a problem for your parrot to excel at solving with its pointy beak.
So, that’s why it’s definitely best to leave the shell on for your parrot before feeding it a walnut.
Provide your parrot with a tasty treat and a fun foraging activity!
Which type of walnut is best for Eclectus parrots?
There are several types of walnut produced around the world.
Some of the most common are the Persian walnut, the English walnut and the black walnut.
Eclectus parrots would have a harder time with black walnuts as they have a much harder shell, making it harder for them to break open.
English walnuts are the most ubiquitous variety commercially available, with a much thinner shell making it easier for the parrot to break the shell.
Though their beaks have evolved to be able to break hard shells, even the softest shell can create a mild hazard for the parrot.
So, it is best to give your Eclectus parrot small walnuts, if you are going to leave the shell on.
How should I prepare walnuts before giving them to my parrot?
There are a number of ways to prepare walnuts.
In general, the only thing it is highly recommended that you must do is to wash the nuts before giving them to your parrot.
This will help clean it of any dirt and chemicals it has come in contact with.
Besides washing them, any other preparation is simply an added bonus.
One thing you can do to prepare them is to roast them.
This will make them even crunchier for your Eclectus parrot, but do be aware that it will increase their fat content.
You can also soak your walnuts in water, then allow them to dry again, in order to reduce their bitterness.
It is important in this case that you store them somewhere cool and dry after drying them out to prevent the growth of mold.
How often should I feed walnuts to my Eclectus parrot?
As I said earlier, the important thing to remember is to think of walnuts as treat.
They are high in fat and calories, so feeding your Eclectus parrot too many walnuts could cause health issues relating to the digestive system and your parrot’s weight.
How often to feed your winged friend walnuts will also depend on your individual bird’s weight.
However, in general, one walnut every other day would be plenty.
Remember, Eclectus parrots need less of the nutrients that walnuts provide than do other species of parrot.
Wrapping up, then, the answer is clear: Eclectus parrots certainly can enjoy walnuts as a treat.
As with any type of parrot, the important thing is that your feathered friend gets a good variety and balanced diet.
Walnuts can make up an essential part of this, providing a number of healthy vitamins in their diet.
Eclectus parrots do need less of the vitamins and minerals that are provided by nuts and legumes than other species, so it’s important to keep that in mind.
When buying any special snack or treat for your bird, it’s always better to buy food produced for animals, and not for humans.
This is very important for walnuts as they may be prepared in different ways and with different chemicals.
As long as you do this, and make sure to wash your nuts with clean water, you will have a very tasty snack for your bird companion to enjoy.