Quinoa is an extremely versatile food.
You can use it in salads, you can use it as a replacement to rice, you can use it to make buddha bowls, or add it to soups and stews – and you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
It’s very high in protein content and is cooked much the same as rice.
But when you’re eating quinoa, is it okay to share some with your parrot?
The answer to this question is yes! It is okay to share quinoa with your parrot. In fact, quinoa has a variety of nutritional components that are not only beneficial to humans, but that are also beneficial to our birds.
What are these nutritional benefits?
Is it okay to feed your parrot raw quinoa?
What about cooked quinoa?
And what is the best way to serve quinoa to your parrot?
Today we will answer all of these questions and more – so let’s not waste another minute!
What is quinoa?
Before we dive into the nutritional benefits of quinoa, why don’t we first establish what it is (just in case you’ve never heard of it before).
Firstly, let’s talk pronunciation.
If you have not heard of “quin-o-a” before, it could be because that’s not actually how quinoa is pronounced.
It’s actually pronounced “keen-wa”.
Quinoa is a type of seed that is considered to be a superfood for it’s high nutritional content.
Originally forged in South America, the Inca once referred to this food as the “mother grain” (even though it’s not actually a grain).
Quinoa comes from a plant known as the “Chenopodium quinoa” plant.
In order to harvest quinoa, the flower is first sprouted.
Once the leaves all fall off, then the seeds are removed.
What does it taste like?
To be honest, there’s not one single definition to define the taste of quinoa because it can be cooked and eaten so many different ways.
Many people, however, define it as a cross between brown rice and oatmeal.
Depending on how it’s cooked it can be fluffy, creamy, crunchy, or nutty.
What are the health benefits of quinoa for parrots?
One of the biggest health benefits of quinoa is that it is 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.
What happens if your parrot doesn’t get enough protein?
Protein deficiencies can result in:
Fatty liver disease
Stunted growth and poor development
Heightened risk of mortality
Of course, since Quinoa is considered a superfood, there’s no surprise that protein isn’t the only benefit it holds.
Other nutritional benefits of quinoa for parrots include:
Essential for heart health, bone development, and metabolism functioning.
Iron helps to produce hemoglobin and is essential for feather pigmentation.
It also helps to carry oxygen from the lungs and into the body.
Required for the production of glucose and the protein metabolism
Stored in the skeletal system,
Calcium is essential for bone strength and new bone growth.
It’s also essential for a normal metabolism, as well as for fertility.
Required for bone formation, metabolism, and egg formation
Essential for healthy skin, eyes, and immune system
What types of quinoa can my parrot have?
There are many different types of quinoa, as well as different ways to cook it and eat it.
The first thing you should know is that parrots can eat all different types of quinoa.
This means they can have yellow quinoa, brown quinoa, purple quinoa, red quinoa, and even black quinoa.
But does it matter how it’s prepared?
Let’s try answering some common questions about quinoa preparation for parrots:
Can parrots have raw quinoa?
Yes, parrots can have raw quinoa.
By “raw”, we are referring to quinoa that is “as is” and has not been soaked or cooked.
If parrots were to come across quinoa in the wild, it would be raw.
And yes, it is safe to eat.
Can parrots have cooked quinoa?
Yes, parrots can have cooked quinoa.
In fact, most people prefer giving their parrots cooked quinoa over raw quinoa.
Though parrots can have either or, cooking the quinoa releases beneficial enzymes and it is often considered the healthier option.
Can parrots have sprouted quinoa?
When you soak quinoa in water, rinse it several times, and spread it on trays, it will begin to sprout.
The entire process takes about 48 hours, but sprouting is considered a relatively easy process.
Many people like to sprout their quinoa for use in salads.
And yes, parrots can safely eat sprouted quinoa too!
Can parrots have quinoa leaves?
Yes. Parrots can have the leaves off of quinoa trees.
Such leaves are highly nutritious and can be served much like spinach or kale leaves.
How do I serve quinoa to my parrot?
There’s actually many different ways that you can serve quinoa to a parrot.
Firstly, you can just serve it raw.
Because quinoa seeds are already so tiny, you don’t need to cut them or chop them for your parrot.
Just put them in a bowl and let your parrot enjoy.
If you decide to cook the quinoa, you can also serve it to your parrot as is.
With that being said, avoid adding anything to your quinoa if you are feeding to your parrot.
Some people like to add spices for flavor, but this could cause harm to your parrot.
If you are going to share your quinoa, keep it basic.
What you can add to your quinoa, however, is other fruits, seeds, and vegetables.
A nice blend of quinoa and other fruits like apples, kiwis, and strawberries can make a delicious treat for your parrot.
Or, if you prefer to serve quinoa as part of a meal, you can blend it with other seeds, as well as vegetables like chopped-up peas and carrots.
How much quinoa can my parrot have?
While quinoa is an extremely nutritious addition to any meal, it’s also high in carbohydrates.
One cup of cooked quinoa contains approximately 39 grams of carbs.
In moderation, carbohydrates will not harm your parrot.
In fact, some carbohydrates are essential for the production of energy.
It’s when our parrots eat too many carbs that they become a problem.
When you overfeed your parrot too many carb-filled foods, the end result will be a problem with obesity which, as we all know, comes with a long list of health complications itself.
In return, it’s best to feed your parrot quinoa in moderation.
Avoid feeding your parrot quinoa as a main meal.
Rather, add some quinoa to your parrots mix to give it some variety a few times a week. Use it to compliment their diet as opposed to using it as a main meal and your parrot will be just fine!
Adjust the amount given to the size of your parrot.
What is a good quinoa recipe to try?
Here’s one of my favorite quinoa recipes for parrots (it’s excellent for a breakfast option):
You will need:
1 cup quinoa
Here’s how to make it:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add your 1 cup of quinoa.
Simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
Add your corn, carrots, raisins, and cinnamon stick
Continue to cook until quinoa starts to turn clear (approximately 5 minutes)
Remove cinnamon stick, let cool, and serve to your parrot in a small bowl.
Don’t be afraid to try a bite yourself – it’s delicious!
And yes, you can cook larger amounts of quinoa to store in the freezer and serve later down the road.
In conclusion, yes, parrots can have quinoa and they can have quinoa of all colors and kinds.
No matter how you cook or serve it, quinoa can make a nutritious addition to your parrots diet.
Don’t be afraid to mix up the recipes – because there are lots out there.
Just make sure that all ingredients are parrot safe before you share.