What you feed your birds is critical to ensuring they are healthy and happy.
A pellet-based diet is recommended as the predominant meal for nearly all birds kept as pets, but most birds require much more beyond pellets.
I often get asked what to feed birds and wanted to explore that question, starting with parakeets.
Parakeets eat pellets, seeds, and nuts, but also love fresh fruits and vegetables, with a preference for leafy greens. Feeding them a well-rounded diet of all of these is the best way to keep your parakeet happy and healthy.
Much like humans, parakeets do best when fed a variety of food to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.
In the wild, parakeets eat nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, and insects and they like a similar diet as pets.
This article will explore what parakeets eat and why they need more than pellets and seeds in their diet, the best fruits and vegetables for parakeets, some signs your parakeet might be sick and how to keep them healthy, and other information about what’s best for your parakeet.
How many seeds and pellets should I feed my parakeet?
Seeds and pellets are a good foundation for birds – including parakeets – and can make up 70-80% of parakeets’ daily diet.
Depending on your bird’s size, they should eat 1/2-1 teaspoon of seeds per day.
Common seed mix includes millet, sunflower, and safflower seeds.
Pellets – which are typically made of grains – are good options to feed your parakeet when you’ll be away for part of the day.
You can leave a pellet or two in their cage and they’ll be satisfied, but they’ll still need fresh fruits and vegetables to get the vitamins and minerals for the day.
Nuts are also a good option if you are out of seeds or pellets.
Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios are all safe for parakeets, but avoid peanuts.
What are the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables for my bird?
Fresh fruits and vegetables help boost your bird’s immune system and ensure they have the strength and vitality to live a long life.
A bird that isn’t eating healthy may not live out its full life span or may become more susceptible to infections.
Fresh fruits and vegetables also contribute to healthier skin and healthier feather production in birds.
What are the best fruits for parakeets?
Fruit should be about 5-10% of parakeets’ daily diet.
Most fruit is safe for parakeets, but be mindful of pesticides and sugar content, which can be hard on the digestive system of small birds.
It’s recommended you purchase organic produce for parakeets if possible.
Some safe fruit for parakeets include:
- Tangerines or oranges
- Watermelon – remove the seeds
- Apricots and cherries – remove the pits
What are the best vegetables for parakeets?
Vegetables are some of the safest foods to feed a parakeet because they don’t contain much sugar and pack the vitamins and nutrients your bird needs.
Leafy greens are the most recommended vegetable for parakeets, but make sure the greens are organic, otherwise, they can be high in pesticides.
Make sure to finely chop or shred most vegetables to make them easier for your parakeet to eat and digest.
Some of the safest vegetables for parakeets include:
- Brussel sprouts
- Green lettuce
While vegetables are always safe, don’t overdo it – parakeets need about 20% of their diet to be veggies.
Can I cook for my parakeet?
Yes, birds love a home-cooked meal.
They’ll eat an egg or cooked vegetables like a sweet potato – just make sure it’s not too hot when you give it to them.
They also love bread, but it should be considered more of a treat than a regular staple.
Whole-grain bread is a better option for parakeets over white bread or bread that contains sugar.
What food is dangerous to parakeets?
Because of their small frame, it’s easy for parakeets to get sick from too much of something.
It’s best to feed them everything in moderation, however, there are some foods that are extremely toxic to parakeets and should be completely avoided, including: chocolate, dairy products, onion, garlic, avocado, peanuts, fried food, tomato leaves and stems, and coffee.
When in doubt, make sure to check before adding a new food to your parakeet’s diet and even if it’s determined to be safe, it’s best to start small to see how it agrees with your bird.
What if my parakeet won’t eat fresh fruit or vegetables?
There are some tricks you can try, like mashing up food or finely chopping it and mixing it into their seeds or pellets.
Don’t get discouraged if your parakeet isn’t interested at first – give them time and try different fruits and vegetables.
Every bird is different and while they may not like one kind of vegetable there may be others that they really enjoy so keep trying and be patient.
What are signs a parakeet might be sick?
Losing feathers or fluffed up feathers, drinking more or less water, loss of appetite, lack of activity or falling off its perch are all signs something could be wrong with your parakeet.
Parakeets can deteriorate quickly so make sure to take them to the veterinarian at the first sign of a problem.
Incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables into your bird’s foundational diet makes a big difference in their overall health and longevity.
Every bird is different and make sure you do your research when it comes to what you feed them outside of pellets and seeds.
In addition to a well-rounded diet, parakeets need exercise, regular interaction and socialization, and plenty of water to stay healthy.
All of these together contribute to a happy and healthy bird.