Most people have heard of kumquats or seen a sign for them as they pass by in the grocery store, but few people know exactly what they are, beyond being a word that is surprisingly fun to say.
As few people have had the chance to try a kumquat, they may be surprised to find out that a kumquat is a tiny citrus fruit that closely resembles an orange.
If you’re planning on finally trying one of these funny named fruits, you may be considering giving some to your parrot to try as well.
As a responsible parrot owner, you’re probably aware that some fruits are not suitable to be feed to them, and it is essential to know what food to give and not to give to your parrot.
You’re likely wondering, can parrots eat kumquats?
The answer to this is… Yes, your parrot can enjoy kumquats, and in fact, they are surprisingly healthy fruit for them to consume, especially considering how few people ever buy them as a treat. However, as with all citrus fruits, moderation is key when giving your parrot kumquats.
This article will be delving into everything kumquat!
We will be looking into exactly what a kumquat is, why it’s a great addition to your parrots’ diet, the nutritional benefits, how many kumquats your parrot can eat and often, and how to serve your parrot kumquats.
Let’s dive into it!
What exactly is a kumquat and will my parrot like it?
Despite being a funny word to say, kumquats are actually healthy little fruits.
They essentially look like tiny baby oranges in shape and color and are about the size of a large olive.
In fact, in Chinese, kumquat means “golden orange.”
For most parrots, they love fruit and often eat many different fruits it in the wild, and so they may thoroughly enjoy being offered a bit of a golden orange to eat.
Kumquats are citrus fruits that have rather think skins, much like oranges.
However, rather than peeling them, like you might when you serve oranges to your parrot, the skin should stay on.
And unlike most other fruits, the kumquat’s peel is surprisingly delicious.
In fact, the peel is the sweetest part of the fruit in comparison to the fruit flesh which is actually quite tart.
Your parrot will likely enjoy the citrusy flavour of kumquats that is both sweet. sour and tangy.
There are actually a few different varieties of kumquats, and all are suitable for your parrot to consume.
What are the nutritional benefits of kumquats for your parrot?
Kumquats, like many other fruits, are a great addition to a healthy parrot’s diet.
Though quite tiny, the kumquat is packed full of nutrients and is relatively low in calories.
Kumquats are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is vital for the immune system, helps with bone growth, wound healing, and creating a healthy metabolism.
Vitamin C specifically helps to prevent parrots from engaging in self-destructive behaviors such as excessive chewing, tearing, and preening.
Because of their thick skin, kumquats are a great source of fiber for your parrot.
In fact, there is a high serving of fiber in every tiny kumquat, even more fiber than most other fresh fruit.
Fiber is an important part of a healthy parrot’s diet and helps to reduce cholesterol in your parrot’s heart and may even low the risk of heart disease.
Omega 3 Fats
Many people wonder about their parrots consuming seeds, and with kumquats, the seeds are edible and provide a small amount of omega-3 fats.
These fats are helpful for a bird who pulls its own feather or nips, as they will soothe and heal the skin.
Kumquats may help to activate immune cells called natural killer cells.
Natural killer cells help to defend from infections.
They have also been shown to destroy tumor cells and prevent some cancers.
Healthy Immune System
The kumquat has been used since ancient times in folk medicine in some Asian countries.
They have been used to treat colds, coughs and other inflammation.
Today we know that kumquats contain certain compounds that supports the immune system, including vitamin C.
Many wouldn’t think that kumquats could help with weight loss, but if you have a parrot that is a bit on the chubby side, adding the occasional kumquat into their diet may help combat obesity.
Plant compounds in kumquats may help fight obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
As with other fresh fruits, kumquats are very hydrating and around 80% of their weight is just from water.
It is the high water and fiber content of kumquats that makes them a very filling snack.
They are also low in calories so they will not cause weight gain.
Kumquats are also filled with smaller amounts of B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, and plant compounds, including flavonoids, phytosterols and essential oils.
If a kumquat is a citrus, can parrots eat citrus fruits like kumquats?
When it comes to giving citrus fruits to your parrot, there are a lot of different opinions from parrot owners, and in fact it is a spot of tension.
Some people say not to feed your parrot any citrus fruits at all.
This is usually because citrus is acidic and therefore can cause diarrhea in some birds.
As well foods that are rich in Vitamin C such as citrus-like kumquats can cause some issues with birds.
For the most part, consuming a lot of vitamin C is not a problem because excess vitamin C is expelled through urine, but for some birds too much vitamin C can cause iron overload.
Iron overload is very rare, and likely not a concern, but too much iron can be toxic.
A buildup of iron in the body can cause damage to your parrot’s liver, heart, and pancreas.
Another issue with citrus fruits is that they are often high in sugar and may cause yeast infection in your parrot and so they should not be overeaten.
Most people disagree with the idea that parrots cannot have any citrus like kumquats.
Instead they say that giving your parrot acidic citrus fruits like kumquats, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit are just fine in moderation.
A kumquat can be a healthy treat for your parrot, one that they will likely enjoy.
How many kumquats can my parrot eat?
Moderation and variety is key to feeding your parrot kumquats.
As an acidic citrus fruit, it is important to be aware of the effect acids have on a parrot’s body.
That isn’t to say you can’t feed them fruits like kumquats, but more as a reminder that moderation is the best way to ensure your parrot is healthy.
As well variety in their diet is important, which is often where kumquats are introduced, as a fun new thing for your parrot to try.
Remember your portion sizes when it comes to fruits, and so 1 or 2 of the small kumquats 2 or 3 times a week should be okay for them to enjoy.
How should I serve kumquats to my parrot?
Kumquats are best eaten whole and unpeeled, especially because the sweet contrasts the sour tart.
The best way to begin giving your parrot kumquats is by peeling one and taking off a small piece to give to your parrot.
That way you can monitor if there are any issues, and you can see their reaction to such a sour fruit.
It is also helpful to gently roll the whole fruit between your fingers before serving to your parrot to help mix the flavors of the sweet peel and sour flesh.
Your parrot will probably enjoy pulling at the sweet peel themselves, much like sheeling a nut, before diving into the tart inner flesh of the kumquat.
Some birds like to peel off the skin of fruits without eating them, and so you may be in for some entertainment if your parrot gets rid of the sweet outer layer before diving into the sour inner flesh.
Of course, also be sure that your parrot is not allergic to the peel of citrus fruits.
If they are, you will need to peel off the outer skin of kumquats before giving them to your parrot, a slightly tedious task as the fruits are so tiny.
Also remember to thoroughly wash all fruit, but especially kumquats if your parrot is going to be eating the skin.
This is often the part of the fruit that could come into contact with pesticides, unless they are organic.