If you just got your first parakeet or are researching in preparation of buying one, diet is one of the care aspects you’ll need to focus on.
A proper diet is extremely important to a domestic parrot’s health and well-being. Luckily more and more parakeet owners are catching on to the fact that their birds need more than just seed. So what else makes a good option? Can parakeets eat fruit?
Keep reading to find out all about whether you should be including fruits in your parakeet’s diet and a list of fruits that are safe to feed.
Can parakeets eat fruit?
They sure can. Although not all parakeet species naturally eat a lot of fruit, they can be offered most types of fruit in captivity.
Your focus should be on vegetables because fruit has a high sugar content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer some slices and berries on a regular basis. After all, fruit is packed with vitamins and important nutrients! Bird-safe food holders like metal skewers are perfect to place some fruit in and hang in a bird’s cage.
Below, we’ll go into the fruits that parakeet owners most commonly ask about, as well as some of the fruits that are a no-go (only a few, luckily).
Tip: Your parakeet might not be used to eating anything but seeds and turn up its nose at fresh fruit. Don’t let this demotivate you! Just keep offering fresh options. Eventually most birds will cave and go for a nibble.
What kind of fruit can parakeets eat?
If your parakeet is used to a varied diet it’ll likely go bonkers over many fruits, so it’s just a matter of finding out which.
Luckily there are many parakeet-safe fruits and barely any that you should really avoid. Heck, your bird(s) can even assist in getting rid of kitchen scraps. Where we turn our noses up at strawberry crowns, a parakeet might see it as a rare delicacy!
Can parakeets eat bananas?
Yes! Bananas are one of the more nutritious fruits and they contain plenty of compounds that are good for your parakeet.
As mentioned before not all parakeets will take easily to fruit if they were brought up on pellets. Banana is a good starter option if you’re trying to switch your bird to a more varied diet, as you can just mash it and maybe even mix some seeds in there. That way the bird has to go through the banana to get to the seeds, hopefully giving it a taste and taking a liking to it in the process.
Can parakeets eat grapes?
Yup! Grapes of any kind are a fine addition to your parakeet’s diet, so if you buy some for yourself be sure not to forget to give your bird one as well. Do cut them up if your parakeet is a smaller species like a budgie, as it might otherwise struggle to get to the juicy flesh.
And remember that ONE grape is really enough: this fruit is quite sugary and too much of it can cause obesity in your budgies.
Raisins are made of dried grapes. A parakeet can eat raisins as long as they have no added sugar, sulfites or any ingredients that aren’t natural fruits. Again, though, one or two raisins is plenty as dried fruits are very high in natural sugars.
Can parakeets eat watermelon?
Yes! Feel free to offer your parakeet some watermelon if you happen to be munching on a slice yourself. Because the water content in this fruit is so high, it’s actually a great way to help your parakeet stay hydrated during the hot summer months.
If you’d like to feed watermelon to your parakeet, omit the rind just to be on the safe side. Since the rind is not fit for human consumption it might contain pesticides on the outside that can be harmful to creatures as small as a parakeet.
Tip: Other types of melon are safe and often much appreciated as well. Honeydew, cantaloupe and all of our other human favorites can make a nice parakeet snack.
Can parakeets eat strawberries?
Yes to strawberries! Like many fruits they are quite sugary and shouldn’t be fed daily, but if you happen to have some lying around then your parakeet might greatly appreciate a piece. As mentioned before, there’s no need to remove the crown, as parakeets often appreciate any tender leafy snacks.
Disclaimer: your parakeet might look like it just massacred something after eating a strawberry. The juices can stain a bit.
Can parakeets eat blueberries?
Yes to blueberries as well! You might have heard blueberries being mentioned as a so-called ‘superfood’ and it’s true that they are packed with vitamin C as well as antioxidants. Not just great for us but also for our birds.
Really any berries that us humans like to eat will be just fine for parakeets as well. Think blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants… getting a frozen mix is handy since it lasts long and makes great smoothie material as well.
You can also feed dried cranberries as long as they’re 100% fruit. Just no more than one or two because, again, sugar content!
Can parakeets eat oranges?
Yup, peeled and deseeded oranges work.
Citrus fruits, even the sweet ones like oranges and clementines, are relatively acidic, though. Offer them in moderation to make sure your bird doesn’t get a tummy ache (or obesity due to the sugar content). Excess citrus appears to cause diarrhea due to irritation of the digestive system.
If I juice fresh oranges I tend to give my budgies a bit of the leftover pulp. Less waste!
Can parakeets eat pineapple?
Yup! Pineapple is high in vitamin C and other nutrients. If your parakeet is a fruit fanatic it’ll probably enjoy trying some pineapple as well.
Do keep in mind that pineapples contain a rather aggressive compound (ever felt your tongue burn after eating too much of it?). Although I couldn’t find any specific information on this matter I suspect that feeding it in moderation is therefore the best way to go, but you should already be doing that anyway due to the sugar content.
Can parakeets eat cherries?
Yes, a fresh cherry or two makes a great snack for your parakeet.
Like apricots, peaches, plums and other stone fruits, though, cherries should be offered without the pit as it contains a highly toxic substance on the inside. Most parakeets won’t be able to chew through the seed of any of these fruits but it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry!
Can parakeets eat apples?
Yes, and in fact, many parakeets seem to particularly enjoy the crunchy texture of apples. If your parakeet was raised on seeds and hasn’t seemed to enjoy eating fruit so far, a bit of apple is probably a good starter option to entice the bird with.
As with the stone fruits mentioned previously, apple pits can be toxic to budgies. Giving your bird apple cores is a nice way to reduce food waste but you should make sure you remove the seeds before offering them.
Can parakeets eat mango?
Yes! I like to give my budgies mango pits and eat the rest myself. The pit is not toxic and it’s difficult to get all the flesh off it to have yourself.
Your bird will likely enjoy scraping every last edible bit from the seed, keeping it entertained for quite a while. You can of course also offer normal mango flesh, though.
Can parakeets eat pomegranate?
As we’ve discussed, some fruit seeds can be harmful to parakeets. Pomegranate seeds are not among those, so your parakeet can eat them! In fact, many will go wild for this particularly juicy fruit.
Other fruits for parakeets
The list above includes the fruits that are most commonly asked about in regard to parakeet feeding. However, of course it doesn’t end at just those 11 options.
Your parakeet can actually eat most fruits that you’ll be able to find for sale, though most should be offered in moderation. So if you’re having a piece of fruit, don’t forget about your feathered friend!
Some fruits not mentioned above that are still fine include kiwi, papaya, plum, nectarine, peach, pear, apricot, carambola, lychee, cherimoya, figs, coconut, dragon fruit and more. Persimmons are the subject of some debate but the consensus appears to be that they are fine when fully ripe.
Fruits to avoid
Although most fruits are fine to feed to your parakeet, there are some you might want to avoid. In most cases this has to do with acidity: as mentioned before, excess (citric) acid can cause your bird a major case of upset stomach.
The following should be avoided as snacks for your parakeet.
- Lemon and lime (too acidic)
- Pomelo, grapefruit, kumquat (too acidic)
- Avocado (toxic to parrots)
- Sources disagree: passion fruit (quite acidic)
As mentioned earlier, some fruit seeds and pits can also pose problems. These include apple, pear and stone fruits like cherries and apricots.
What can parakeets eat (apart from fruit)?
As explained in this article, fruit makes a good addition to your parakeet’s diet. Other components that should be included to keep the bird healthy are fresh vegetables like leafy greens, sprouted seeds and seeds and/or pellets. Variety is what you should be going for here.
You can also supplement with a range of different options, like herbs, some weeds and grasses from your garden (clovers are a favorite here), cooked rice/pasta, cooked egg and even some herbal tea mixes!
If you have any more questions about fruits for parakeets or general parakeet diet, or if you want to share your own experiences with feeding a varied diet, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!