There is no surprise that parrots love nuts. Cashews, almonds, walnuts – they’re all on a parrots favorite treats list. Nuts are a healthy and normal part of a parrots diet. In other words, they’re a natural food that you might find parrots eating in the wild. But just as not all fruits and vegetables are deemed “parrot safe”, neither are all nuts. Which leads us to the question – what about Pistachios? Are pistachios safe for parrots to eat?
The answer to this question is yes! Pistachios are safe for parrots to eat. In fact, pistachios hold several nutritional qualities that are beneficial to your parrot’s health. But, like anything else, the key to feeding your parrot pistachios is moderation.
Feeding your parrot too many pistachios can prevent them from receiving the nutrients that they need from other food. With that being said, as long as they are provided as a snack along with other healthy options, pistachios will do your parrot no harm.
But this leads us to several other questions as well. Can parrots eat the pistachio shell? What about salted and roasted pistachios? Can parrots eat pistachio meal or pistachio butter? Today we will answer all of these questions and more – so let’s not waste another minute!
What are Pistachios?
Before we jump into more about how pistachios are beneficial for parrots, let’s first talk a little about what exactly pistachios are.
As you already know, pistachios are a type of nut. More specifically, they are the seeds off of the fruit of the Pistacia Vera tree. They are from the same family as cashews, mangos, and poison ivy (don’t worry though – pistachios will not poison you!).
Pistachios are native to the Middle East and Western Asia, but the largest producers are the U.S., Iran, and Mediterranean countries. In raw form they are described as having a smooth, somewhat sweet texture.
Oh – and did we mention that parrots love them?
The nutritional benefits of pistachios for parrots
Aside from tasting great, Pistachios hold several health benefits for parrots.
One of the biggest health benefits of pistachios is that they are high in protein.
For parrots, protein is an essential part of their diet. Not only is protein what helps parrots to form their feathers, but protein is also required to help birds manage their body temperatures.
For this reason, more protein is necessary during molting season when parrots lose their feathers (and protection from the cold). Generally speaking, the larger the parrot, the more protein they require.
Other health benefits of Pistachios include:
Aids in bone growth and reproduction. Manganese can also help to prevent poor muscle coordination, perosis, and joint dislocation.
Required for bone formation, metabolism, and egg formation
Essential for healthy blood vessels, bones, and connective tissues. Copper also helps to prevent feather pigmentation problems, egg abnormalities, and amino acid deficiencies.
Required for the production of glucose and the protein metabolism
Downfalls of giving pistachios to parrots
The biggest downfall of pistachios is that they are high in carbohydrates.
A one ounce serving of Pistachios contains approximately 7.7 grams of carbs. This may not seem like a lot to the average person, but to a small bird, 7.7 grams of carbohydrates can be quite a bit.
Mind you, it would be unlikely that you would ever feed your parrot enough to intake the 7.7 grams because that would be equivalent to almost 49 nuts. In return, as long as you are only feeding your parrot a few nuts at a time, there should be no issue with feeding them pistachios.
With that being said, it’s important to note that a diet too high in carbohydrates can lead to obesity, which can lead to a host of other health issues. In return, if you are going to feed your parrot pistachios, be sure to provide other healthy, less-carb filled foods throughout the day.
Can parrots eat salted pistachios?
The answer to this question is no.
While raw, plain pistachios are considered to be a healthy addition to a parrot’s diet, salted pistachios are not considered so.
As common sense would tell you, salted pistachios are covered in – you guessed it – salt. Raw pistachios don’t contain a lot of sodium but a cup of salted pistachios can contain over 526 milligrams of sodium!
Some amount of salt is essential in your parrot’s diet. Like all living animals, parrots require salt to survive. Without enough salt, parrots can experience excessive fluid excretion, fatigue, weight loss, and stunted growth. Too much salt, however, can lead to what is known as salt toxicity.
When a parrot intakes too much salt they can experience things like kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver, tremors, neurological disorders, depression, heart failure, and even death. In return, you want to keep your parrot’s salt intake to a minimum.
This means avoiding salted pistachios and sticking to raw ones.
Can parrots eat roasted pistachios?
Again, the answer to this question is no.
While roasting your pistachios alone probably wouldn’t do much harm to your parrot, the reality is that most roasted pistachios also contain large amounts of salt.
As we just learned, too much salt can be harmful to a parrot. So while one or two roasted pistachios is unlikely to harm your parrot, we would avoid making them a regular part of your parrots diet.
Can parrots eat pistachio shells?
When you buy pistachios you can buy them with the shells already peeled off or with the shells on. Both options are safe for your parrots.
While it is unlikely that your parrot will eat the pistachio shell, they will probably use their beaks to peel it off and eat the nut inside. Both small and large parrots can peel off pistachio shells.
Just be sure to clean up the shells from the bottom of the cage when they are finished. If you aren’t comfortable with your parrot peeling the shell, just buy them with the shell already removed.
Can parrots eat pistachio meal?
Pistachio meal is just a fancy way of saying Pistachio flour. In order to make Pistachio flour, all you need to do is grind up some pistachio kernels in a food processor until they turn into a flour-like consistency. Given that pistachio flour does not contain any added ingredients, it is safe for your parrot to eat.
With that being said, it’s unlikely that anyone would feed pistachio meal to their parrot as is. It can be used in recipes, but just make sure that if you are sharing with your parrot, all other ingredients within the recipe are also parrot safe.
Can parrots eat pistachio butter?
Yes. Again, Pistachio butter doesn’t contain a lot of ingredients. In its most basic form, pistachio butter does contain some salt, but the amount needed to make it is so small that it would not cause any harm to your parrot.
Like pistachio meal, it’s unlikely that you would just serve pistachio butter to your parrot on it’s own. You can, however, add it to some of their favorite treats to give a little added flavor.
In conclusion, yes, parrots can eat pistachios.
You can provide your parrot with pistachios that have already been de-shelled, or you can let your parrot de-shell them itself.
With that being said, if you are going to be sharing pistachios with your parrot, opt for the rawest form. Salted and roasted pistachios can contain large amounts of salt which can be harmful to your bird.
As we always recommend, go organic whenever possible to avoid any chemicals or additives that could be harmful to your parrot.