As I was out for a drink with a few friends one night, I saw “Lychee Mimosa” on the menu.
“What on earth is a lychee mimosa?” was my first thought.
Never before had I ever heard of a lychee, let alone a drink with Lychee in it.
So I tried it, and I have to admit – it was pretty good.
But it got me thinking, are lychees just for people, or can parrots eat them too?
So I did a little research, and today I’d like to bring that research to you.
So without further ado, let’s answer the question “can parrots eat Lychee?”
The answer to this question is yes, parrots can eat lychee. Careful preparation of the lychee is necessary to keep your parrot safe because, like some other fruits, certain parts of the lychee can be toxic to your parrot.
As long as you are willing to put in the effort to prepare the lychee properly, then yes, they can be a delicious, safe, and nutritious snack for your parrot.
But what exactly is a lychee, does it hold any nutritional value, what parts of the lychee can a parrot eat, and are there different ways to feed your parrot lychees?
Today we will take a look at each of these questions and more as we dive deeper into the topic of lychees for parrots.
So let’s not waste another minute:
What is a Lychee?
Before we talk about more about whether or not your parrot should have lychees, why don’t we first define what a lychee actually is (for people like me).
As it turns out, lychees are a type of fruit.
The fruit is native to Southern China, and isn’t usually found in a typical grocery store (which is why I’ve probably never heard of it before).
Rather, lychees are most commonly purchased in Asian grocery stores.
The Lychee is closely related to the longan and the rambutan.
They are red in color and roughly the same size as a golf ball.
Once you peel them, they are milky white inside.
Defining the exact taste of the lychee is difficult and many people have very different definitions.
Some people describe lychees as tasting like a stronger, more acidic grape, while others define it as tasting like a watermelon or pear.
Whatever the case, most people can agree that the lychee is a little bit sweet and a little bit tart at the same time.
While you can’t find fresh lychees in most local grocery stores, you may be able to find them in cans.
In the summer months lychees are commonly grown in Florida, Texas, and California.
Most Asian grocery stores throughout the US do carry fresh lychees.
Are Lychees Nutritious for your parrot?
Yes. In fact, lychees hold several nutritional benefits:
Vitamin C is important for strong cell walls and blood vessels
Vitamin B is important for regulating metabolic processes and generating proteins.
An absence of B Vitamins within the system can lead to nervous disorders, irritability, and spasms.
It can also lead to growth disorders.
Folic Acid helps to produce amino acids and antibodies.
An absence of folic acid can lead to a variety of immune disorders.
Magnesium plays a significant role in the health and appearance of your bird’s feathers.
Magnesium also helps bones to grow strong, aids in the coordination of muscles, improves brain functioning, and increases heart health.
Iron helps to manufacture hemoglobin (which in turns helps oxygen to flow through the blood).
Can Parrots eat Lychee seeds/stones?
Lychee seeds and lychee stones are often used interchangeably, and refer to the brown part in the middle of the fruit.
This part of the fruit is not edible for humans or parrots, and can lead to some adverse side effects such as low blood sugar, fever, and in severe cases, even death.
As such, it’s important that you take the proper precautions to carefully cut the stone out before feeding the skin to your parrot.
Here’s how to properly cut a lychee away from the stone:
Pierce open the hard outer shell of the lychee
Gently peel back the skin, just as you would do for an orange
Score the fruit in half until you can see the stone
Remove both halves of the fruit, just as you would do for an avocado
Dispose of the seed, as well as of the outer skin.
Can Parrots eat unripe lychees?
The answer to this question is no, parrots should never eat lychees that are unripe, nor should you.
In fact, for many years many Indian children were dying from mysterious diseases.
Research later revealed that these deaths were related to eating unripe lychees.
According to scientists, unripe lychees contain two different types of toxins – methylenecycloproplyl glycine and hypoglycin A.
For many children that ate unripe lychees, the result was extremely low blood sugars, fever, encephalopathy, and even death.
And if an unripe lychee can do that to a human, just imagine what it could do to your parrot!
How can you tell if a Lychee is ripe?
When selecting a Lychee, you should look for a fruit that is at 1 inch in diameter.
Ripe lychees will be bright red, and should give a little when pressed upon.
If a lychee is too hard, it’s probably not ripe yet.
Ripe lychees also tend to have a floral scent, and tend to taste on the sweeter side.
If it tastes sour, it probably isn’t ripe yet.
Ripe lychees will also peel nicely, and the inner flesh will be easy to remove from the shell.
How can I tell if a Lychee has gone bad?
Just as you don’t want to eat a lychee that isn’t ripe enough, you also don’t want to eat a lychee that has gone bad.
When selecting lychees, you want to ensure that they are free from cracks or bruises.
It should also not be leaking, and if it smells funny, it’s probably already gone bad.
Note: Lychees can go bad quickly, so always make sure that you eat them shortly after bringing them home from the grocery store.
If you wish to store lychees before you use them, be sure to buy the canned version instead.
Can Parrots have lychee juice?
Again, as long as you have done your diligence to remove the seed and ensure that your lychee is ripe enough (but not overripe) to eat, then you can give your parrot lychee juice.
Here’s how to create lychee juice at home:
Select, peel, and rinse your lychees.
Cut your lychees into very small pieces and place the pieces into a juicer
Add desired amount of water and blend until lychees have been turned into liquid.
What’s the difference between Rambutan and Lychee?
While Rambutan and Lychee are extremely similar in appearance (white flesh, large seed, bumpy red skin), they are actually quite different in many other ways.
While the Lychee comes from the soapberry family of fruits, the Rambutan comes from the Sapindaceae family.
Lychees are native to China, while Rambutans are native to Malaysia and Indonesia.
In terms of taste, Lychees tend to be sweeter than Rambutans.
Rambutans are also slightly thicker, which makes them more challenging to peel.
Though both the Lychee and the Rambutan hold their own nutritional values, Lychees are usually the healthier choice, and hold fewer calories than the Rambutan.
Having said that, when prepared properly, both the Lychee and the Rambutan can be delicious and are both very nutritionally valuable.
In conclusion, yes, you can feed your parrot lychees as long as they are ripe, have not yet gone bad, and have had the center stone removed.
Having said that, because unripe lychees and lychee seeds can be so toxic and dangerous, I don’t recommend feeding them to your parrot unless you know what you are doing.
While there are many nutritional benefits that your parrot can gain from eating lychees, it may not be worth the risk.
Many other fruits hold the same nutritional properties, and will not be toxic to your parrot if something goes wrong.