The other day I treated myself to a grilled apricot salad that was to die for, with plenty of crumbly feta and a generous sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Savouring these tangy summer fruits got me wondering: would my parrot be able to join in with my apricot appreciation session?
The simple answer is yes, parrots can eat apricots. If they are eaten as part of a balanced diet and are carefully prepared to remove the pit, which is toxic, apricots can be a safe and tasty treat for your parrot to enjoy.
Would it be ok to feed apricots to her on a regular basis? So, off I went on a little research expedition to find out. If, like me, you’re questioning whether these juicy orange fruits are safe for your parrot, read on below:
Are apricot pits toxic to parrots?
Apricot pits contain a cyanide compound that is toxic for parrots. The same is also true of the pits of a range of other fruits, including plums, cherries, nectarines and peaches. Apple seeds contain this cyanide compound too and therefore are also toxic. In some cases, consuming too many of these pits or seeds could prove deadly. If you are unsure whether the pit or seed of any fruit is toxic to your parrot, the safest thing to do is to ensure that they are thrown away safely before serving the fruit to your bird.
How do I prepare the apricot for my parrot?
To prepare the apricot, cut it open and take out the pit. Make sure you have removed the pit completely from inside the apricot, as this is toxic to parrots. Throw away the pit or place it somewhere that your parrot will not be able to access it to keep things safe. All of the fruit of the apricot other than the pit – both the velvety skin and the orange flesh inside – is perfectly safe for your parrot to enjoy. Next, chop the apricot skin and flesh into small pieces that will be comfortable for your parrot to eat, before serving.
How do I serve apricots to my parrot?
You can simply serve your parrot their small chunks of apricot directly into their dish. You might, however, like to serve the apricots to your parrot as part of a mini salad of assorted chunks of fruits and vegetables. You may want to include a few pieces of green vegetables and some citrus fruits, perhaps with a few seeds also thrown in, as well as the apricots. This is a good way to make sure that your parrot is receiving a balanced diet for the day.
What nutrients are found in apricots?
Like all loving parrot owners, you’ll be wanting to make sure your parrot has a varied and healthy diet. The good news is that as well as being a very tempting treat, apricots contain a range of different vitamins and minerals which are highly beneficial to your parrot. These include:
Apricots are a great source of vitamin A, which comes from the beta-carotene that the apricots provide. Vitamin A is an important nutrient for parrots; it helps to protect their eyesight and plays a significant role in their bone health and development. Vitamin A also plays a role in the maintenance of the parrot’s mucous membranes. Not having enough vitamin A in their diet can contribute to parrots developing bacterial, viral or fungal infections.
Also found in apricots, vitamin C is a great addition to your parrot’s diet. Vitamin C, well known for its benefits in human diets, is important to your parrot’s health too. It’s great for boosting their immune systems and also very beneficial to their cardiovascular system; removing plaque from the blood vessels and acting as an anti-inflammatory. Should your parrot have been injured in some way, vitamin C can help to heal these wounds as well as preventing some other medical issues such as cataracts.
Calcium is an essential mineral for all animals to consume regularly in their diets. Calcium is crucial for the development and maintenance of the parrot’s bone structure. Without enough calcium, it’s common for parrots to suffer from hypocalcaemia. This can cause a range of issues including infertility in female birds and harm to the bones. Apricots are a source of calcium, as are dark leafy green vegetables (such as broccoli and kale) and dairy products like milk and cheese.
It’s important to find a balance in how much iron your parrot consumes. Too much iron can cause Iron Storage Disease, while not enough iron can cause anemia and impacts on the parrot’s ability to produce haemoglobin, which is used by the blood to carry oxygen. The small amount of iron found in apricots is safe for parrots, as long as they are not fed an excessive amount of them. The amount of iron provided by apricots will be fine for your parrot if he or she is served them as part of a varied diet.
Apricots also contain Vitamin B-6. This little vitamin does wonders for your bird’s plumage, giving it a healthy shine. As well as generally being helpful to support healthy plumage year round, it’s a particularly important vitamin for parrots to consume during their molting periods.
Magnesium serves a range of important functions for parrots. It’s great for their muscles, helping in the production of proteins and in helping muscles to contract and relax. Magnesium also plays an important role in the conversion of various nutrients, such as carbohydrates, into energy.
Potassium helps to regulate your parrot’s nerve signals, and the ways their muscles contract. Potassium is also a key mineral to promote growth. As well as being found in apricots, potassium can also be provided to your parrot via citrus fruits, root vegetables like sweet potatoes and leafy greens such as spinach.
Fiber is also found in apricots and is a crucial component in any parrot’s balanced diet. Found in fruits and vegetables as well as grains such as oats, eating enough fiber is crucial to ensure your bird has healthy digestion. Make sure your parrot enjoys plenty of vegetables and fruit as well as their seeds and pellets to be confident that their diet is rich in fiber.
Can parrots eat dried apricots?
Yes, parrots can eat dried apricots, and these chewy morsels are good cut up into small pieces as a snack. However, because dried apricots are easy to eat in higher volumes than fresh apricots, you should be careful not to give your parrot too many as this could lead to them eating an excessive amount of sugar.
You will need to be cautious, too, when buying dried apricots for your parrot as it’s not safe for parrots to eat fruits which have been preserved using sulfur dioxide. Always check the label before buying dried fruits for your parrot to make sure that they have been preserved without any sulfides. One good way to be sure that the dried apricots you are feeding to your bird are prepared safely is to dehydrate them at home. This is most easily done using an at-home dehydrator, but can also be achieved by slowly drying them using a conventional oven.
How often should I feed my parrot apricots?
Apricots can definitely be a feature of your parrot’s diet, but you should avoid serving these to them too regularly. Aim to give your parrot 3 different types of fruit daily, avoiding fruits which are very high in sugar. It’s important to give them a mixture of different fruits so that they are eating a range of different vitamins and minerals. In an average week, it’s healthy to serve your parrot apricots once or twice, as part of a varied diet including pellets, seeds and other fruits and vegetables.
So there you have it: apricots can be a great way for your parrot to take in some very important nutrients while enjoying a sweet snack. Apricots are good for parrots as long as they do not consume any of the apricot’s pit, which is toxic, and eat them as part of a varied healthy diet. Why not serve your parrot a dish of these tasty orange treats today? Here’s hoping your parrot enjoys chowing down on an apricot as much as mine does!