Can Parrots Eat Rutabaga?

My green-thumbed friend brought me rutabaga from his garden this week.

I usually use rutabaga in stews; however, it seemed more of a bbq day.

I didn’t want to waste my rutabaga, and I decided I’d let the parrots try it.

 I wasn’t sure how my parrots would tackle the thing, so I decided I best check.

Can parrots eat rutabaga?

The answer is yes, parrots can eat rutabaga. It is on the safe, non-toxic food list for parrots and is considered to be part of a parrot’s healthy diet plan. Ensure the rutabaga is washed thoroughly before offering it to your parrot.

Rutabagas are closely related to turnips.

They are classed as cousins, actually. 

Also known as the swede turnip.

They are a mix of a turnip and a cabbage but look much more like a turnip.

Rutabaga comes from an old Swedish word: rotabagge— which means ‘root bag.’

Parrots can eat them raw or cooked, but it is advised to peel them first.

This article will discuss what a rutabaga is, how to prepare a rutabaga, the benefits of rutabaga for your parrot, and much more.

Let’s investigate all the answers about rutabaga and our parrots.

What is a rutabaga?

The rutabaga is a sweet and nutrient-packed root vegetable.

Rutabagas look very similar to turnips, but they’re not the same.

Rutabagas are large, a hint of yellowish color, and grow in cool climates.

As turnips are small, they usually have a reddish hew and grow in many different climates.

The rutabaga is slightly bitter in flavor, and that’s similar to cabbage.

However, rutabagas are sweeter and milder when eaten raw.

When cooked, rutabagas become more savory yet still hold their sweetness and have a texture almost like a rich potato.

Is the entire rutabaga safe for my parrot?

Yes, the entire vegetable is safe for your parrot to eat.

As always, with any fruits and vegetables, thoroughly wash the vegetable to ensure any pesticides are removed from the production process, and no soil is present on the rutabaga’s surface.

The rutabaga is a large vegetable and is tough to tackle for us owners, let alone our parrots.

It is easier if reduced to small sections for your parrot to eat.

How do I prepare rutabaga for my parrot?

Your parrot can eat the rutabaga raw, but they do have a reputation of being tough to peel because of their waxy skin.

The best way to remove the peel is to cut off the top and bottom with a knife, then cut the rutabaga into halves and quarters.

Place the sections flat-side down on a chopping board and remove the peel with firm strokes, peeling away from you.

You can also grate the rutabaga to give a different texture for your parrots to enjoy.

What are the health benefits of rutabaga for my parrot?

Rutabaga is jam-packed with nutritional benefits.

They include; carbohydrates, protein, fats, fiber, Vitamin C and E, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Let’s see how these things benefit our parrots.


Carbohydrates are an energy source.

The amount needed varies depending on your pet’s physical activity, environmental conditions, and fat levels.


Protein is necessary and essential for the body and is required for muscles and all over body tissues.

They also provide a much-needed source of nourishment for your parrot’s feathers.


Fats are another vital energy source and utilize the storage of fat-soluble vitamins.

Recommended levels of fat depend on your parrot’s species.

Some parrots like macaws or the African grey will need much higher levels than a cockatiel.


Fiber helps with a parrot’s digestion. Fiber stimulates the movement through the gut and helps absorb other much-needed vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is part of the bone structure, blood vessels, connective tissues, and muscles. It also aids the absorption of iron, which encourages red blood cell production.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is the combined name for a group of fat-soluble complexes with antioxidant properties. It is needed for strong immunity and healthy skin and eyes.


Potassium is needed for maintaining membrane tissues. Too much potassium can affect the kidneys and is a reason for it to be given in moderation.


Magnesium is needed for bone formation, heart health, carbohydrate metabolism, and many enzymes’ activation.


Calcium is required for a healthy skeletal system. It is absorbed in the small intestine.

Rutabagas are known to provide several health benefits while also effectively treating a number of diseases.

Can I cook rutabaga for my parrot?

The rutabaga is relatively versatile and can be microwaved, boiled, steamed, or mashed for your parrots.

The average cooking time is around 10 minutes, and this should leave the rutabaga tender but still hold its form.

You must only feed your parrot cooked rutabaga without any other elements added in.

You can’t add things like salt and pepper, milk, or butter.

We commonly will in a human diet, but parrots should have it plain.

Are there any negative side effects of rutabaga for my parrot?

There are no known side effects to parrots eating rutabaga.

Always ensure your parrot has a full, balanced and varied diet.

The rutabaga has fiber and potassium, which, if there is too much of this in your parrot’s diet, can cause upset stomachs and or kidney issues.

This will only be applicable if your parrot digests a large amount of rutabaga, which wouldn’t follow the guidance of a full and varied diet.

Can all parrot species eat rutabaga?

Yes, all parrots can eat rutabaga safely.

It is a large vegetable so if you have a small breed of parrot, ensure you cut it down into manageable size chunks.

Large parrots will be able to tackle more significant portions.

Use your own judgment; if your parrot seems disinterested in the rutabaga, it could be due to the portion size being too great for them.

Where can I buy rutabaga for my parrot?

You can buy rutabaga from most supermarkets, grocers, or sometimes the farmer’s market.

Rutabaga can go by different names depending on where you are in the world, and this sometimes causes confusion when trying to find it for our parrots.

Names to look out for are;

  • Rutabagas
  • Neeps
  • Swedes
  • Baigies
  • Snadgers
  • Narkies


Rutabagas are best during October through March, but they’re best enjoyed in the winter months.

Look out for ones that are firm, roughly 4 inches in diameter, and have a purple hew to the skin.

If you scrape the surface with your fingernail, you should see yellow flesh.

Rutabagas are a savory yet sweet treat for your parrots, and they will enjoy the texture and flavor of the root vegetable.

We have discussed the benefits of rutabaga, how to prepare the vegetable, and it has no adverse side effects.

It seems to be an all-around win for you and your parrot.

If you are ever concerned about your parrot trying new food, always contact a professional vet who can discuss your parrot’s individual needs.

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