“I’m just throwing bread to the birds”
Perhaps this is a saying you’ve never heard of before, but it’s a saying that was a staple in my childhood.
Often at times, it was true – we were throwing bread to the birds.
Any leftover bread that we had, or bread that was nearing its expiry date would always go straight out to the birds.
As a child, I never really thought much about whether or not it was actually “healthy” for the birds.
I simply thought that by feeding them I was doing them a favor.
As I grew older, however and started to gain interest in parrots, I started to wonder “is it actually good to feed bread to the birds?”
Which further got me wondering, “can I feed bread to a parrot?”
So I investigated.
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, you can feed bread to your parrot – but only certain types of bread. Some breads are loaded with salt which can damage your parrots health, so you need to be careful in your bread selection if you are going to feed it to them.
With that being said, bread should never be a staple of your parrots diet because it doesn’t hold any nutritional value to them.
It should only be provided as an occasional treat.
So how do you know which breads are okay to feed your parrot and which ones can be harmful to their health?
Well, that’s what I’m here for!
Today I’ll share which breads are okay for parrots and which breads to avoid.
We’ll also talk about the health concerns associated with salty breads, as well as any nutritional benefits that they can receive from the right breads.
So let’s not waste another minute:
Nutritional benefits of giving your Parrot bread:
The truth is, there are actually no nutritional benefits of feeding bread to your parrot.
In the wild, bread is not something that a parrot would regularly eat.
Therefore, feeding them bread in captivity really doesn’t do a lot for them in the way of nutrition.
White bread, for example, is full of excessive calories and carbohydrates, yet lacks the essential vitamins and nutrients that a parrot needs to thrive.
You can slightly increase the nutritional value of bread by selecting a whole grain bread, which then at least provides small amounts of fiber, minerals, and vitamin B.
In general, however, bread doesn’t offer much nutritional value to your parrot.
So even if you select a bread that won’t hurt them, you’re not adding any value to their diet by feeding it to them either.
This is why even safe breads are only suggested as occasional snacks.
If your bird fills up on bread regularly, they won’t have enough room in their stomachs to reap the benefits of other foods that will provide them with the nutrition that they need.
The problem with most breads
The majority of bread should not be given to your parrot.
The reason for this is because most bread is heavily processed and contains chemicals and preservatives that can wreak havoc on your parrots system.
Furthermore, bread is full of carbohydrates.
Yes, these help to curb your parrots hunger, but they don’t provide any nutritional value.
In return, your parrot is full, but no longer has room for the foods and nutritional elements that they need to stay healthy.
To make things even worse for bread, most breads are loaded with high salt content which is extremely bad for parrots.
In fact, too much salt intake can actually be toxic to parrots and can cause extreme health concerns.
More specifically, too much salt can throw off your parrot’s electrolyte balance.
The result can be excessive thirst, dehydration, kidney dysfunction, and in severe cases, death.
In return, anytime you feed your parrot bread you should always double check the salt content.
Small amounts of salt may be okay, but if your bird is getting too much it could cause them harm.
So what types of bread can you feed your parrot?
If you’re going to feed your parrot bread, choose a low sodium bread.
Preferably the bread should be whole grain or multigrain and organically produced with a limited number of preservatives.
You can increase the nutritional value of the bread by:
Adding a little bit of peanut or nut butter
Adding some jelly or marmalade
Pressing birdseed or other seeds into the bread
Pressing insects into the bread
Adding cranberries, raisons, or other dried fruits
Can parrots eat toast?
When feeding your parrots bread, it doesn’t really make a difference whether it is toasted or not.
Toasting your bread does change the nutritional value of your bread slightly, but not enough to be concerned about.
Bread doesn’t have much nutritional value for birds or parrots in the first place, so it really doesn’t make a difference as to whether it is toasted or not.
Enjoy your bread the way you like it and share a small piece with your parrot.
Can parrots eat white bread?
No. White bread is one of the main culprits of high salt content, carbohydrates, chemicals, and preservatives.
It is highly processed and should not be fed to your bird under any circumstances.
Though small amounts of salt or carbohydrates are unlikely to do any harm, chemicals and preservatives cannot be properly processed by parrots and can be extremely dangerous for their health.
Can parrots have brown bread?
Brown bread often gets a better reputation than white bread, but the truth is, darker isn’t necessarily healthier.
In fact, you can look at brown bread as white bread in disguise.
They’re basically the same thing and one is not healthier than the other.
Both brown and white bread are heavily processed and both contain chemicals and preservatives that can be harmful to us and our birds.
Even more interestingly, brown bread contains higher sugar content than white bread.
More specifically, one slice of white bread contains approximately 1.64 grams of sugar, while a piece of brown contains 3 grams.
Sugar is not something that we should be feeding our parrots, and therefore brown bread is off of the “Safe” list.
So why does brown bread get such a good reputation?
Probably because most people confuse it with whole grain bread.
Whole grain bread is much darker than white bread, and is therefore often confused with brown bread.
The two are not the same.
Whole grain bread is far healthier, and when made organically doesn’t contain the same amount of processed preservatives and chemicals.
Can parrots eat multigrain breads?
Yes. If you are going to feed your parrots bread, multigrain is the way to go.
Remember however, that depending on the brand, some multi-grain breads can still be heavily processed.
To ensure that you are reaping all of the benefits of the bread without the processing, always choose an organic brand.
Still, while organic multigrain bread will not harm your parrots, it’s important to remember that it will not benefit them in any way either.
You can add some peanut butter, nuts, or other alternatives to increase the nutritional value, but you should still limit multigrain bread to an occasional snack.
Can Parrots eat rolls and baguettes?
No. Rolls and baguettes are just another form of white or brown bread.
They look different, but the contents are the same.
What should you do if your parrot got into a bag of bread?
Parrots can be sneaky and when we’re not looking they could get into things they are not supposed to.
If your parrot has gotten into your bread, monitor them closely.
As mentioned previously, small amounts of bread are unlikely to cause any harm.
Watch for signs of:
Loss of interest in daily activities
Loss of appetite
Change in droppings
Lack of energy
Dull or plucked feathers
Or any other sign of illness
In other words, watch your parrot closely for signs of anything abnormal.
If you notice anything out of the norm, call the vet immediately to have them checked.
In conclusion, yes you can feed your parrots small portions of bread, just make sure they are whole grain breads that are organically produced.
You do not want to feed your parrot any processed breads or breads that may contain high amounts of sodium content.
Also, keep the feeding of bread to a minimum.
It’s okay to bond over sharing a small piece of toast at the breakfast table, but don’t make it a part of their daily diet.