Like any kind of pet owner, parrot owners will want to be sure that it is safe to feed their bird a certain kind of food before it is done. Parrots can be one of the most enjoyable pets to own because of their sociable personalities! Parrots will often eat anything you give them, so it is up to you to be sure that you only give them foods that will be safe for your bird. This can be quite challenging for first-time parrot owners, especially, because of the important diet restrictions that you should follow to keep your parrot safe and healthy. Even the smallest quantity of certain foods can be harmful enough to cause severe illness or death to your parrot!
So, do grits fall under the list of foods that are safe for your parrot to eat or the list of unsafe foods for your bird? What are the advantages and disadvantages of feeding your parrot grits? Are there different types of grits and if so, which ones are best for my parrot? These are all common questions you may be asking yourself as a cautious pet owner! Be sure to read until the end to have all of these questions answered.
Here is some relief! Parrots can eat grits as long as you prepare them correctly. You should keep in mind when preparing the grits that they are for your parrot and not you. That means you will have to prepare them in a different way than you would to eat yourself.
When preparing the grist for your bird, you should prepare them in a specific way. Not to worry, we will cover all that in this article.
What are grits?
Similar to porridge, grits are made from boiled cornmeal. Several types of grits exist such as stone-ground grits, hominy grits and instant grits. Each type of grit is quite similar with a few differences which we will explain now.
This specific type of grit is made through an old-fashioned process. Stone-ground grits are made of whole dried corn kernels. These grits are made between the two stones of a grist mill. Unlike other kinds of grits, stone-ground grits are one of the less processed kinds of grits. With that being said, it is important to store them appropriately in a freezer to keep the good for as long as possible. Usually, these grits will have a spotted appearance as well as a richer corn taste.
As for hominy grits, this type of grit requires corn kernels to soak in a lime solution. Other kinds of solutions are also possible, however, lime is the most common. The purpose of this is to soften the outer hulls. This specific type of grit is usually sold in cans and will already be dried. Furthermore, people often use hominy grit in their soups and stews.
As convenient as instant grits are because of the fact that they are sold pre-cooked and only require boiling, these grits also lack the flavour that you can find in alternative kinds of grits. In other terms, these are grits “from a bag”. Depending on how much time you have to cook, instant grits can be used when in a hurry or if the flavour is not as important to you.
What kind of grits should I feed my parrot?
Even though it may be more convenient for you, it is strongly encouraged to avoid feeding your parrot instant grits. As you can imagine, you have less control over what is in the grits when you are cooking them from a package, therefore, you may be feeding your bird things that you wouldn’t want to be. If you can find it, the best type of grit to feed your parrot(s) is hominy grits.
As mentioned previously, hominy grits will have a softer exterior which allows for easier digestion and will in fact make for easier access to the vitamins within the grits. Not only are they the healthiest choice for your parrot, they are most definitely going to like them too!
How to prepare grits for my parrot?
As mentioned near the start of this article, it is important to be very cautious with the way you prepare the grits for your parrot. The correct way to prepare grits for your bird is not completely the same as the way you would prepare them for yourself. Because the actual grit is good for the parrot, it is incorrect to assume that anything you would add to your grits usually is also safe for them to eat.
To prepare your parrot’s grits, begin by pouring your grits in boiling water and wait for the water to hit a boiling temperature. At this point, you should slightly lower the heat and allow the grits to cook in the boiling water for approximately an hour. When the grits are ready to leave the boiling water, you can do so. Be sure to allow your grits to cool before feeding your parrot to avoid burning them.
It is very important to not add anything that was not mentioned in the simple preparation steps. Adding salt or butter is not necessary and is disencourage since this can be unhealthy for your bird. To keep a healthy diet for your parrot, stick to simple grits without adding anything else. If you feel the need to substitute butter, olive oil is fine for parrots to eat as long as the amount fed is reasonable. Other than that, there is no need to prepare a fancy meal. Your parrot won’t be picky, we promise!
Can I feed my parrot grits with milk?
Certainly not. Because dairy products are products with high fat content, they should be avoided in your parrots diet. You can substitute the milk with water if you would like since this is a healthier alternative for your parrot. While milk is not considered toxic to parrots, more milk than a very small amount can be harmful to your bird, therefore, it is best to avoid milk as much as possible when feeding your parrot.
Nutritional benefits of feeding my parrot grits
Like any food, if your parrot consumes an excessive amount of grits, it can be more harmful than beneficial to their health. However, with the right food portion, your parrot can meet their protein needs simply by eating grits!
Disadvantages of feeding your parrot grits
As much protein as grits have to offer, they are unfortunately lacking vitamins. For parrots, Vitamin A is especially important. Therefore, make sure to not be confused into thinking that grits will provide all the vitamins your bird needs, since that is incorrect. As long as you are sure that their need for vitamins is being met through other foods, there is no problem vitamin-wise if you feed your parrot grits. Although, you should limit grit portions when feeding your parrot since there is quite a bit of iron in grits. An excess of iron in the body of a parrot can lead to future illnesses such as iron storage disease which is an accumulation of iron in the liver. Since this can be fatal in some cases, don’t overfeed your parrot with grits, but don’t hesitate to feed them an appropriate quantity.
Are there different colours of grits?
The short answer to this question is yes. There are two common colours of grits which are white and yellow. The difference between these two grit colours is very minimal.
In fact, nor you nor your parrot will notice a difference in the texture of these two kinds of grits. The colour of grits depends on the colour of the corn kernels that were ground up to produce the grits. That being said, yellow corn will create yellow grits, and white corn will result in the grits being white.
The difference that does exist between the two kinds of grits is their nutritional values. Yellow grits are richer in starch, which you won’t be able to notice based on the taste. As for white grits, they are naturally higher in sugar which you will once again not taste the difference. Because of the extremely minimal difference between the two kinds of grits, if they are prepared appropriately, either colour of grits can be fed to your parrot.
With all of that being said, you can now safely feed your parrot grits without having to worry about causing them health issues! Now get to the kitchen and prepare those grits the right way!