I was out for a walk in the countryside recently and came across a field full of cows, munching their way through the grass surrounding them.
This left me wandering, can parrots eat grass?
They are omnivores so surely some grass is not harmful to your parrot.
Well, without any more delay, I have the answer for you.
Generally speaking yes, your parrot can eat grass. It depends which type of grass but it won’t harm your birds. In the wild parrots do eat types of grass, however, some grasses are more nutritious than others.
So as long as your parrot is getting a health mix of food, a bit of grass won’t hurt it.
But it is not recommended to regularly let them eat grass from your lawn.
That being said, there are specific types of grass that can be very healthy for your parrot.
Let’s have a look at grass in more detail.
Are there different types of grass?
Grass is a catch-all term for a family of plants whose formal name is Poaceae or Gramineae.
There are over 12,000 species within this family, they are mostly perennial (annual) herbs.
It is one of the most widespread group of plants on earth with some variants found on every continent, including Antarctica.
What grass would a wild parrot eat?
Depending where your parrot originates it may eat some wild grasses that are native to the area.
However, these will not be the main source of food for the wild parrot who, like domesticated birds, will have a diet that consists of nuts, seeds, and fruit for the most part.
A wild parrot is less likely to run into the type of grass that is used for lawns so the grass they eat will be safe for them as it is untreated by chemicals.
This is all part of a balanced diet though for a parrot and not their sole food source.
Does grass have any nutritional value?
Thinking back to the cows, you would think that if an animal much larger than a parrot is getting enough nutrition from grass then your parrot would too.
However, cows aren’t eating grass for its inherent nutritional value but instead for the bacteria living on it.
So what does that mean for our feathered friends?
Well, strictly speaking there is slight nutritional value to be gained from eating lawn grass but it is so low it’s barely worth your parrot eating it.
That being said there are a few types of grass that are nutritional for your parrot.
What about the wonders of Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass has been making headlines as a superfood for a while now, the key to its success being the juice within it.
For humans, this means juicing it or adding it to smoothies but luckily birds have a natural juicer – their beaks!
The key ingredient here is chlorophyll which flows through all plant life.
It is said to help regenerate and detoxify the liver, making it good for birds with fatty livers.
It can be really helpful in getting an overweight parrot back in shape.
This benefit comes directly from eating the grass itself so don’t be tempted to buy liquid chlorophyll as the effect is not as nutritious.
This type of grass is also full of vitamins for your parrot.
Loaded with Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, with B Complex and E vitamins too.
It is also a good source of calcium which is good for breeding birds as this can be hard to regulate.
This super important vitamin helps eye health, bones, feathers, skin, and even hearing.
A crucial vitamin for keeping your parrot happy and healthy.
A really good all-round vitamin that helps boost immune system, lower blood pressure, keeps their heart healthy, and aids with healing.
The benefits of Vitamin C are numerous so a good addition to your parrot’s diet.
Vitamin B Complex
This is a good category of vitamins to help the body break down food and nutrients.
These have to be regularly fed to your parrot as they are regularly excreted from the body.
A brilliant little antioxidant that can also improve fertility in birds if you’re looking to breed your parrot.
This also helps the overall metabolism for your parrot.
One of the most important minerals and many parrots are actually calcium deficient.
This helps structural strength such as bone growth and can help with some of the internal biochemical reactions.
Is there a downside to Wheatgrass?
The main worry with Wheatgrass is mold.
Obviously a moldy dinner is not advisable to be feeding your parrot.
You can buy flats of Wheatgrass from many Eco-friendly or health-orientated shops or even grow it yourself.
You need to make sure it is fresh and not growing any mold, the best way to do this is to make sure you don’t water your grass until it begins to wilt so as not to drown it and encourage a damp environment.
If you see any mold cut it out and rinse your Wheatgrass.
If there is still an issue after this then the best thing to do is to throw it away.
What about feeding your parrot Lemongrass?
Lemongrass, similarly to Wheatgrass, is safe for your parrot to eat.
It has a woody flavor rather than a lemony one as the name suggests and is used mainly as a seasoning in Thai cuisine.
Cut up some with other herbs into your parrots meal and it will be a healthy addition to their diet.
It doesn’t have the same superfood connections as Wheatgrass but it is certainly better than basic grass from your garden.
What’s so dangerous about lawn grass for parrots?
Lawn upkeep is a major industry with hundreds if not millions of lawn treatment products available on the market.
There is a lot of debate around the harm of pesticides on humans.
There is a big movement towards ‘organic’ lawns that are free from chemicals so we are not breathing them in or touching them.
Now imagine you’re a parrot actually ingesting these pesticides.
You’re probably not going to feel too well after. So whilst grass itself is not harmful, be mindful that other things lurking in the grass may not be beneficial to your parrot.
Preparing grass for your parrot to eat.
Whether lemongrass or wheatgrass, you should make sure this is added to an already varied diet.
Chop up the grass into smaller pieces for your parrot right before serving or leave it as a full stem for your parrot to peck at itself.
Root vegetables, seeds, nuts, herbs and even flowers should all be part of your parrot’s meal plan.
Make sure you’re mixing an assortment of these items and that there is at least some fresh ingredients included.
You can of course feed your parrot pellets too, this is a good option for new owners who aren’t sure of the dietary requirements for their new pet.
As with anything you feed your pet making sure it is safe is the key point here.
The grass itself is not the issue but if there is anything untoward on the grass then you should consider avoiding it.
Mold and pesticides are possibly the two biggest health hazards for your parrot when eating grass.
Making sure your parrot is eating a varied diet full of nutritious foods should be a priority when owning birds.
Feel free to give your parrot a little snack of Wheatgrass or Lemongrass if you wish.