Can Parrots Eat Gooseberries?

There is a lot of controversy surrounding a new fad food, known as the gooseberries. If you’ve heard of them, these berries are all the rage right now and you may have recently purchased them to either try them yourself, or to give to your feathered friend. But can parrots safely eat and enjoy gooseberries?

The answer to this is… yes. Even though there is controversy surrounding the health and possible risks of these little berries, parrots can eat ripe gooseberries safely. If you avoid giving your parrot any of the gooseberry plant, they should be safe and only get the enormous health benefits from gooseberries.

The gooseberry, also known as tomatillos, Chinese Lanterns, the rasbhari, Amla, ground cherry or golden berry. Despite their many names, and some of the controversy around them, the gooseberry is a very healthy little fruit especially for parrots. This article will dive into everything gooseberry, such as if parrots can eat them unripe, why parrots should eat exotic fruits like gooseberries, and the nutria benefits.

Let’s dive right in!


Can parrots eat unripe gooseberries?

This is a question that many have debated, but the answer on the safe side is no parrots should not eat the unripe gooseberries.

Though the berries themselves may be fine, it is best not to take a chance when it comes to your feathery friend.

Unripe gooseberries can also contain alkaloids which may cause allergic reactions. However, ripe gooseberries are known to be safe, and therefore your parrot can happily eat them.

It is the rest of the gooseberry plant such as the stems and leaves that likely have more cause for concern when it comes to your parrot.

The reason for this is because the plants contain a toxin called solanine, which is a glycoalkaloid poison that is found in nightshade plants.

The same solanine is found in tomatoes as well. Because of this, parrots should not ever be allowed to eat the plants, as it could cause death, or at the very least a badly upset stomach, even in humans.

In fact, one of the reasons gooseberries are so controversial and discussed so thoroughly about whether or not parrots should eat them, is because the plant is believed to have caused illness and death in a herd of cattle in Australia.

Even though it may be true that cattle died from eating the plant in Australia, there has never been any clear associations with the ripe berries themselves causing any harm.

As well, some parrot owners shy away from all plants in the nightshade family because of their bad reputation, but not all are bad for parrots.


Do parrots enjoy eating gooseberries?

Yes! Many parrots love snacking on ripe gooseberries.

They are known for their exotic, tart, tangy taste.

Many humans can’t stand the tartness of gooseberries, but parrots don’t mind at all, and actually seem to prefer it.


Why should parrots be given gooseberries?

Gooseberries are a plant that is naturally found in the wild with parrots in South America.

They come specifically from Peru, where parrots live in abundance in their natural habitat. Because of this, parrots would naturally come across gooseberries in the wild and eat them there, which means despite parrot owners fears, they are a fruit that is okay for them to consume.

Parrots don’t differentiate about whether or not the plant is a nightshade and will happily gobble them up when ripe and yummy.

Beyond simply not being a harmful fruit, it is important that parrots are fed foods that are indigenous to them in the wild.

Though most parrots that we buy to own in our homes grow up in captivity, that doesn’t mean that their diet should mainly come from seed mixes, and in fact, their diets should be as close as possible to replicating their natural diets in the wild.

Trying to feed your parrot tropical fruits that are indigenous to their areas they are from, or similar to what they would be able to find and eat in the wild will make sure that they are happy and healthy.

Even making sure that they get foods that are similar in overall nutrition is important, including the kind of protein, fat and fiber as parrots might eat in their homelands.

As well, these foods trigger their instinctive behaviors such as foraging, and it’s much healthier for their natural body systems.


How to serve gooseberries to your parrot?

The best way to serve gooseberries to a parrot is by buying them fresh, whole and ripe. Most parrots seem to love chomping away at the little round fruits whole so you can serve it right to them. Of course, as with any produce, make sure that you thoroughly clean them before you give gooseberries to your parrot to get rid of any germs of pesticides.

As with anything, moderation is key and so gooseberries are best served as a yummy snack alongside a nutritious diet.


What are the nutritional benefits of gooseberries for your parrot?

Gooseberries have tons of nutritional benefits for parrots all packed into the tiny fruit. They contain phyto-chemicals such as carotenoids which can help regulate a parrot’s blood pressure levels. Gooseberries also contain lots of soluble fibre like fructose which can help lower a parrots blood sugar levels. They also have high levels of pectin fibre which can prevent constipation and be a great natural laxative.

Gooseberries Are Full Of Antioxidants

One thing that gooseberries are known for is their high rate of antioxidants per tiny fruit. Did you know that gooseberries actually contain more antioxidants than broccoli, apples, and pomegranates? Because of the antioxidants, gooseberries have been claimed to be able to improve blood sugar and strengthen your parrot’s immune system.

Fiber Found In Gooseberries

The fiber found in gooseberries is soluble fiber, which means that it is perfect for a parrot’s digestive tract.

Soluble fiber helps in slowing down the digestion of food in order to allow nutrients to be absorbed. The kind of fiber found in vegetables actually can stop nutrients from being absorbed as it is non-soluble.

Because the digestive tracts of parrots are short and narrow, it is important they eat foods that help to aid their absorption of nutrients. Without foods like gooseberries with soluble fiber, and with too many vegetables, parrots can develop something called “avian leaky gut syndrome” which could potentially lead to them getting auto-immune disorders.

Fiber also helps with calming a parrot’s upset stomach and helps overall in the digestive processes. As well, the dietary fiber in gooseberries is a great addition for a parrot that is a little overweight and may even help them loose weight as it will help boost digestion. Both protein and fiber are very important qualities in a happy, healthy bird’s diet.

Natural Sugars Found In Gooseberries

Gooseberries are surprisingly low in sugar for a fruit.

This makes them a great snack option for your bird as they will not be getting the natural sugar rush that they may get from other fruits.

For a parrot, they eat large quantities of fruit in the wild and so though it is always good to monitor how much sugar they are consuming to keep them as healthy as possible, the natural sugars found in fruits like gooseberries are fine for them to eat.

Gooseberries have lots of Vitamin C

Gooseberries are filled with vitamin C, even more than lemons!

Vitamin C specifically helps to prevent birds from engaging in self destructive behaviours such as excessive chewing, tearing and preening as it is good for their skin and will soothe and heal any cuts.

As well, a few gooseberries will fulfil a parrot’s daily vitamin C requirement and help with their immune systems.

Good for your parrot’s eyes

As well as vitamin C, gooseberries are also rich in vitamin A, which is known to help improve eyesight, as well as their immune systems and actually prevents cataracts. Just a few gooseberries provide all of a parrot’s daily requirement of vitamin A. Gooseberries also have high iron levels, which further helps to improve a parrot’s vision.

Gooseberries help your parrots bone strength

Gooseberries are high in both calcium and phosphorous, and so these berries help to make a parrot’s bones stronger.

Gooseberries promote weight Loss

As they are low in fat and calories, a few gooseberries can be a great snack for parrots as they will feel full without eating as many.

Gooseberries prevent inflammation.

Gooseberries are rich in anthocyanins which are known to prevent inflammation caused by any pain, swelling, and redness.

If your parrot has an injury, or you’ve noticed that they are a little stiffer than normal, try feeding them a few gooseberries for the anti-inflammatory affect.


Even though some parrot owners hesitate when they hear the word gooseberries, they are a great nutritional snack for your parrot, and a yummy one they will recognize from the homes of origin. Be sure to feed your parrot ripe gooseberries and you’ll have no problem!

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