All pet owners want to ensure their animal is getting a nutritious and balanced diet.
For parrots, that means a mixture of seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Typically I like to feed my parrot fresh foods, but the other day I wondered: can my parrot have dried fruit?
Yes, parrots can eat dried fruit but do not entirely replace fresh with dried since fresh fruits preserve nutrients better. Parrot owners like dried fruits since they will already come without pits or seeds and are easy to prepare for your parrot. Certain pits and seeds from fruits like apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, and peaches are toxic to your parrot, so in these cases, dried fruit may be preferred for safety and convenience.
It is important to not only figure out the individual preferences of your parrot but also what kinds of foods they can and cannot have in general.
This article will discuss what types of dried fruits your parrot can have, if dried fruits are nutritious, as well as other pertinent information about feeding your parrot dried fruits.
Let’s not waste anymore time and jump right into it!
What kinds of dried fruit can parrots eat?
Keeping in mind you should not rely solely on dried fruits; parrots can eat any kind of dried fruit that they could eat fresh.
For example, peaches without the pit are nutritional for birds, so they can also eat dried peaches.
However, something like rhubarb that is toxic for your parrot should not be given to your parrot in fresh or dried form.
As mentioned, parrot owners like dried fruit because they come without pits or seeds, making dried fruits such as strawberries, pineapple, mango, orange, and papaya a convenient and popular diet staple for their pet.
Other parrot-friendly fruits, fresh or dried, include: coconut, guava, bananas, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, figs, pomegranates, star fruit, dragon fruit, lemons, tangerines, grapefruit, watermelon, apples, and pitted cherries.
The list goes on, but these are some of the most popular ones.
As you plan your parrot’s diet, keep in mind any dietary restrictions or preferences your parrot has, and be sure to continually switch up the fruits they eat so they can get a variety of vitamins and minerals from their foods.
Sometimes parrot owners use dried fruit as a treat or training tool since it will satisfy your parrot’s sweet tooth, and they may even like the texture and crunch it provides.
Is dried fruit nutritious for parrots?
Although your parrot will benefit from some of the nutrients and familiar taste, feeding your parrot dried fruit won’t provide all the same health benefits as fresh fruits.
The reason is that when fruits are dried, most of the moisture is sucked out of them along with some of the essential vitamins and minerals.
However, all the sugar is left in the fruit even though it has shrunk and lost other nutrients.
For these reasons, you do not want to switch out fresh fruits for dried fruits completely; rather, you should adjust based on things like cost, availability, and preferences of your parrot.
If your parrot is a picky eater, you could introduce a new fruit in the dried form alongside the rest of their meal and eventually try to graduate to giving your parrot that fruit in fresh form.
Do I have to order my parrot’s dried fruit from the pet store?
You do not necessarily have to order your parrot’s dried fruit from the pet store.
If the fruit is naturally-dried it should be fine, but always double-check the label to see that it does not have any sulfur-based preservatives such as salt or vegetable oil.
Also, make sure the dried fruit is unsweetened so you can avoid any artificial sugar additives.
An option as well is to make your own dried fruits by either baking or air-frying them.
To bake them, you need to slice the fruit into thin pieces, lay the pieces on a cooking sheet, and bake them until they are crunchy.
Making dried fruits at home is a good option so you can control exactly what your parrot eats and how everything is made.
What is the difference between dried fruit and freeze-dried fruit?
The difference between dried fruit and freeze-dried fruit is the process that the fresh fruit undergoes and how long it takes.
For example, dried fruit is often baked in an oven for anywhere between 4-12 hours, depending on what it is.
In contrast, freeze-dried fruit can take days, weeks, even sometimes months, to make in a freezer, vacuum chamber, or by using dry ice.
Another thing that will differ is expiration dates and how long the flavor will hold up.
If you purchase dried or freeze-dried fruit from the grocery or pet store, be sure to read the ingredients list to see how it was made and to ensure there are no undesirable additives that will harm your parrot.
Are there any fruits you cannot feed your parrot?
For the most part, you can feed your parrot almost all fruits.
There are only a few fruits that you should not feed your parrot, including tomatoes, avocados, and rhubarb.
Although rhubarb is technically a vegetable, it is often eaten sweet, and many people think it is a fruit.
Either way, the oxalic acid in rhubarb is toxic to your parrot and should not be fed to them.
You will also want to avoid giving your parrots tomatoes or avocados, as they can cause gastrointestinal problems in parrots.
If your parrot accidentally eats one of these things in a small amount, monitor them for signs of discomfort, and alert your local veterinarian clinic if you are worried or if they have adverse effects.
Some effects of food poisoning in parrots are lethargy, changes in appetite and water intake, shortness of breath, isolation, diarrhea, or weight loss.
If any of these symptoms occur in your parrot upon them eating these foods, call your veterinary clinic immediately.