By now, you probably know that vegetables are an important part of your parrots daily diet.
But not all vegetables are made equally and there are some that are more beneficial than others.
But where does kale fall into this spectrum?
We all know that kale is a superfood for humans (even if you hate the taste) – but is it the same for parrots?
And can parrots even eat kale?
Or is it on the list of toxic foods?
The answer to this question is yes, parrots can eat Kale. Kale is not toxic to parrots and is safe to feed them, in moderation of course. In fact, just as kale holds many nutritional benefits for humans, it also holds many nutritional benefits for our birds.
But what nutritional benefits does kale hold?
Are there any health risks associated with feeding your parrot kale?
And how is kale best served?
Today we will answer all of these questions and more, so let’s not waste another minute:
The health benefits of kale
So we’ve already established that kale is a safe food for your parrot to eat, but how healthy is it?
Dark green vegetables like kale are considered superfoods for a reason – because they are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Here are some of the many health benefits associated with feeding your parrot kale:
Is essential for the healthy functioning of every system in the parrot body.
Not only does vitamin A support cell and tissue growth, but it’s also essential for brain development, skeletal development, vision, and the growth of healthy feathers.
Helps to prevent blood clotting.
Without vitamin K, parrots can bleed excessively from minor injuries.
Essential for healthy bones, muscles, and blood vessels.
Vitamin C also helps with iron absorption and the production of red blood cells.
Aids in bone growth and reproduction.
Manganese can also help to prevent poor muscle coordination, perosis, and joint dislocation.
Essential for healthy bone growth and the maintenance of bone strength.
Essential for healthy blood vessels, bones, and connective tissues.
Copper also helps to prevent feather pigmentation problems, egg abnormalities, and amino acid deficiencies.
Essential for heart health, bone development, and metabolism functioning.
As you can see, kale really is a superfood – for both humans and parrots.
It’s packed full of essential vitamins and minerals that help to keep our bones, heart, and systems healthy.
But is there such a thing as too much kale?
Can you feed your parrot too much kale?
Yes. Even though kale is a superfood, it needs to be served in moderation (like everything else).
The first reason for this is because no one food should make up the bulk of your parrots diet. I
n order to stay healthy, parrots require a healthy balance of seeds, fruits, mixes, and vegetables.
As a general rule of thumb, the more colorful your parrots diet, the healthier it is.
In return, while leafy greens like kale and spinach can be a great addition to your parrots diet, they need to be served with other colorful fruits too.
The more colorful your parrots diet, the more nutrient rich it will be.
The other reason that kale needs to be given to your parrot in moderation is because kale can actually block calcium absorption.
So let’s talk about calcium for a minute:
Why is calcium essential for your parrots diet?
Calcium is required for a variety of functions within your parrots body.
Not only is it essential for healthy bone growth, but it also helps the bones to maintain their strength as a parrot ages.
Calcium also helps to transmit nerve impulses, stabilize the metabolism, and increase fertility.
Without proper levels of calcium, parrots can be subject to a variety of diseases including orthopedic diseases, metabolic bone diseases, bone fractures, leg deformities, skeletal abnormalities, and beak demineralization.
Vitamin C deficiencies can also cause overgrown beaks, seizures, feather and skin abnormalities, and the list goes on and on.
The point here is that calcium is an essential part of every parrot’s diet.
And even though kale contains small amounts of calcium itself, it can actually block the absorption of it.
This means that if you are feeding your parrot kale along with another food that is high in vitamin c, your parrot might not actually reap the benefits of the vitamin.
For this reason, kale should only be fed as part of your parrots diet, along with a variety of other nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
How do I feed my parrot kale?
When it comes to feeding your parrot kale, you want to make sure that it is well chopped up so that your parrot does not choke.
You can chop your kale up finely, and then add it to your parrots mix for them to enjoy.
Depending on the size of your parrot you may be able to feed kale to them in full leaf form (and some parrots prefer this), but it really depends on each individual parrot as to whether this is safe or not.
Remember that your parrot needs variety to stay healthy, so kale should never be the only meal option for your parrot.
You can feed it to them as a snack, or add it into a healthy mix for a meal.
Kale can be given to your parrot as part of their meal 2-4 times per week.
Kale – Raw vs Cooked – which is better?
You can feed your parrot kale raw or cooked as long as you don’t add any extra ingredients like garlic when cooking it.
With that being said, most people cook kale with oil, and oil intake should be limited for parrots.
While parrots can have oil in moderation, it is very high in fat content which, when eaten in excess, can cause obesity and other health concerns.
For this reason, the consumption of kale cooked in oil should be limited.
Furthermore, research has shown that nutrient content can be diminished when vegetables are cooked.
So while your parrot can still have cooked kale, it won’t have the same nutritional benefits as raw kale.
So when it comes to the war of raw vs. cooked – raw wins.
Can Parrots eat Kale Chips?
Again, it really depends on how you are cooking them.
If you are cooking kale chips at home and keeping the ingredients simple then yes, your parrot can have a kale chip or two.
But if you are adding ingredients like garlic, you should keep them away from your parrot.
It’s also important to note that you can buy kale chips from the store.
Before serving these to your parrot, always take a look at the ingredient list.
A lot of kale chips contain ingredients like garlic or added salt which can be toxic to your parrot.
Also, if you are going to buy kale chips from the grocery store, do your best to find organically made chips.
Organically made chips are made without the addition of any preservatives or other ingredients that can be poisonous to your parrot.
Some avian stores also make and sell kale chips that are safe for your bird.
How do I make Kale Chips for my Parrot?
Baked kale chips are super easy to make and all you need is kale and olive oil.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Step 3: Wash and dry kale. Cut into bite-size pieces
Step 4: Cover kale with 1 TBSP Olive oil
Step 5: Bake in oven approximately 10-15 minutes or until edges are brown.
Making kale chips for your parrot really is that simple – and homemade chips are always healthier for your parrot then storebought ones because you control exactly what goes into them.
So the next time you are enjoying some kale, share a bite with your parrot – kale is healthy and nutritious!