What Can Budgies Eat? 19 Budgie Snacks Already In Your Pantry!

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What Can Budgies Eat? 19 Budgie Snacks Already In Your Pantry!

Budgie parakeets can eat a very wide range of foods, and offering them a varied diet is extremely important to their health. But how do you know which items are safe for them, and which are best avoided?

If you’ve run out of normal budgie food or are looking to make your bird’s diet a little more interesting, you’ll be happy to know that your cupboards are likely already full of suitable budgie snacks! You can discover 19 of them below.

Human foods for budgies

As you’ll read in the full budgie care guide (which you should definitely check out for a wealth of tips and tricks if you’re a new budgie owner), variety is the key to a healthy bird. The guide already mentions a whole bunch of suitable foods, but there’s always more!

You probably have more budgie-appropriate foodstuffs in your cupboards than you think. Some of these household staples should only be offered to them as occasional treats, while others can be made a part of their regular diet.

Below, let’s have a look at 19 budgie snacks you probably already have at home. A lot of these come in handy in a pinch, like if you’ve run out of your regular budgie pellet food and seeds.

We’ll also discuss 9 foods that you should avoid feeding your bird.

Tip: As you’ll see, your best bet for budgie snacks are natural, single-ingredient foods. Anything processed (chips, fries, pizza, cookies, etc. etc.) will be too high in salt, fat, sugar, and unhealthy preservatives.

Do be sure to check the (luckily quite short) list of explicitly toxic foods, such as avocado.

19 household foods safe for budgies

Can budgies eat bread?

Yes, budgies can eat bread. However, it’s not my top choice among the foods mentioned on this list.

If you buy whole-wheat bread that isn’t laden with sugar and/or fat like a lot of supermarket white bread, brioche bread, etc., you may go ahead and offer small pieces if your bird seems interested (and it likely will be!).

If the bread you’re having contains sugar, a lot of salt, or other additives, it’s best your budgie doesn’t indulge. You can share any seeds that it may have on top, though, like sesame or poppy seeds.

Can budgies eat sunflower seeds?

Sure can. In fact, it’s kind of their favorite food.

The catch? The salted sunflower seeds we tend to buy for our own consumption are unfortunately not a good option. You should refrain from feeding your feathered friend salty foods.

Also remember that sunflower seeds are high in fat, so they shouldn’t form part of your budgie’s daily meals (avoid any seed mixes that have them). As a training treat, though? Perfect!

Can budgies eat peanut butter?

Yes, if it’s natural peanut butter.

Something like Jif, with its high sugar content and hydrogenated vegetable oils, doesn’t really make for a healthy budgie snack. However, more and more folks are opting for peanut butters that are just peanuts and a little salt—those are fine.

Like sunflower seeds, peanut butter is very high in fat. This means it shouldn’t form a part of your budgie’s daily means. But here’s a little tip: PB a great tool to help you entice your bird to check out new objects or foods.

Just smear a tiny dollop of PB on anything you want your budgie to get used to. It probably won’t be able to resist, and it’ll realize the new item isn’t scary as it goes for its snack.

Can budgies eat boiled eggs?

It sounds a little odd, but yes, parrots such as budgies can indeed eat (boiled) eggs.

In fact, boiled egg is commonly fed to budgies that are laying eggs. The reason is that their bodies are using up a lot of nutrients to produce their broods, so they can definitely do with a little extra protein.

If you’re having a boiled egg, feel free to share a little with your budgie. You can also share any other egg preparation, like scrambled eggs, as long as it’s free of oil and salt.

Can budgies eat chia seeds?

Oh, yeah! And they’re quite healthy too.

Budgies are seed eaters. Although wild budgies wouldn’t come across chia seeds in their home country of Australia (chia is naturally found in Mexico), they can definitely eat them.

Your budgie can eat water-soaked chia seed pudding, but I personally don’t bother with soaking. Whenever I add chia to my meals, I just sprinkle about 1/4 tsp in my budgies’ food bowl to enjoy.

Can budgies eat wheatgrass?

Absolutely, and it’s another example of a “human food” that can actually form part of your parakeet’s daily diet.

Both wheatgrass seeds and sprouted wheatgrass are suitable for budgies. I regularly sprout some wheatgrass for mine—demolishing the nutritious greenery is a great form of enrichment for them.

It’s best to offer wheatgrass sprouted through mesh. Otherwise, your budgie may try to eat the soil, which can contain unhealthy additives as well as mold and bacteria.

Wheatgrass makes for a nutritious budgie snack.

Can budgies eat cashews?

Yes, cashews are safe for budgies.

You’ll see me mention it when discussing all sorts of nuts, though: only feed your budgie cashews if they are free of salt. Roasted is fine.

And as always, don’t overdo it! Cashews are very high in fat. 1/4 of one crushed cashew nut is more than enough to cover budgie snack time.

Can budgies eat Cheerios?

It’s OK to share half a Cheerio with your budgie from time to time.

Unlike many other cereals, which are absolutely laden with sugar and other additives and should therefore not be considered a budgie snack, the ingredient list for Cheerios is relatively basic.

The loops are made of whole-grain oats and corn starch. This being said, they do contain sugar and salt, so don’t make this a daily thing. Only offer small bits.

Can budgies eat pumpkin seeds?

Yes, they can.

For pumpkin seeds, everything discussed in the section on sunflower seeds applies. Due to their larger size, I do recommend only offering half a pumpkin seed at a time.

While budgies can shell sunflower seeds themselves, they may have more trouble with pumpkin seeds. You can offer them in the shell and see if your bird can work with it, but you may have to help out and open them yourself.

Can budgies eat almonds?

Indeed they can!

Like cashew nuts, almonds are suitable for budgies to eat. Just avoid salted and flavored almonds, and be sure not to overdo it. A quarter of one almond chopped into small bits is more than enough.

Oh, and if you like eating raw almonds and other nuts, did you know these can be sprouted? It makes them much more nutritious for our feathered family members.

Can budgies eat chicken?

As with eggs, this may sound a little odd, but budgies can indeed eat chicken.

Our parakeets usually don’t need much in the way of extra protein in their diet, but if yours is showing interest in plain cooked chicken breast or thigh, it can have a nibble.

Laying hens can benefit from small pieces of chicken a few times a week. Just be sure to skip the seasoning and oil.

Can budgies eat dried fruit?

As with something like peanut butter, which comes in more natural and more processed versions, it depends.

If you’re having some dried fruit without any additives (sugar, preservatives), yes, you can share with your budgie. Candied fruit or other variations with sugar should be avoided.

If you own a dehydrator, you can dehydrate fruits for your bird at home. Just don’t overdo it, as the natural sugars are pretty concentrated in dried fruit!

Can budgies eat hemp seeds?

Yes. In fact, hemp seeds are often included in bird seed mixes.

Hemp seeds produced for consumption by humans or birds are free of the psychoactive components found in cannabis seeds (like THC). What they do contain are healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, so they make a great choice.

Can budgies eat pasta?

Yes, although I don’t mean your budgie can get its own plate of spaghetti bolognese.

Plain pasta is made of flour, eggs, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. You can give your budgie one or two pieces of boiled unsalted pasta, or you can offer it dry. I love making edible budgie toys with dried pasta! Whole-wheat is ideal.

Alternatives, like pasta made with lentils, corn, peas, and the like, are also fine.

Can budgies eat pine nuts?

Yes, pine nuts are OK for budgies to eat.

Stick to the same rules we established for other nuts: very small amounts, and no salt, please!

Can budgies eat peanuts?

Peanuts are the subject of much discussion in the bird world, but they’re actually safe.

In the past, there have been problems with improperly stored, low-quality peanuts in the shell leading to aspergillosis (a disease caused by mold spores) in parrots.

However, high-quality, human-grade unsalted peanuts are fine for a budgie in small amounts. You can make a small opening in the shell to encourage foraging behavior.

Can budgies eat popcorn?

Oh yes! Budgies can eat corn, so they can also have plain popcorn. Most really like the texture. Like dried pasta, popcorn is a nice option for homemade edible budgie toys.

You can find everything you need to know, plus a recipe, in the full post on making popcorn for your parrot.

Can budgies eat quinoa?

Yes. Quinoa is part of the Amaranth family, the seeds of which are commonly fed to small birds like budgies.

You can offer this grain in its cooked or uncooked form. White, red and black quinoa are all fine and contain a range of healthy (micro)nutrients.

Can budgies eat rolled oats?

Rolled (and steel-cut) oats make a fine addition to your budgie’s daily meals.

You can offer oats plain or soaked in water. Even oatmeal made with unsweetened nut milk (such as almond milk) is fine, though keep in mind that it’s very sticky and might end up being difficult to remove from your bird’s beak once it dries.

So, for the folks who came here because they ran out of budgie food: as you can see, your bird doesn’t have to starve.

I’d recommend mixing suitable vegetables with a small amount of fruit, and then adding grains like oats, quinoa, pasta, and rice. You can also include hemp seeds and chia seeds. Top with a small amount of chopped plain nuts. A budgie feast!

Green budgie parakeet eating a mealworm off the floor.
Did you know? Budgies in the wild will eat bugs. You can feed yours the occasional mealworm.

9 unsafe foods for budgies

There are various foods out there that you shouldn’t feed to your budgie. We’ll start the list with explicitly toxic foods that you should avoid your bird getting into altogether.

After this, we’ll also highlight a few common pantry items that your budgie would love to eat, but can’t due to them being unhealthy!

Can budgies eat avocado?

No, avocado is one of the rare foods that is explicitly toxic to budgies (as well as most other pets).

It has been scientifically proven that larger amounts of avocado can kill a budgie. In fact, according to Clinical Avian Medicine, our parakeets are extra-sensitive to the toxic persin that avocados contain due to their small size.

If your bird has ingested avocado, you should call your avian veterinarian to ask whether you should bring the bird in.

Can budgies eat chocolate?

No. Don’t leave chocolate out if your budgie is out of its cage.

Chocolate contains both toxic theobromine and caffeine. These can cause serious health issues and even be fatal to your budgie in larger quantities. Call your vet if your budgie has consumed chocolate.

Can budgies eat honey?

No. Although it’s quite rare, honey (and corn syrup) can contain botulism bacteria. These excrete a toxin that can be deadly to budgies. You may have heard honey shouldn’t be given to young children—this is why!

And anyway, even if it weren’t for the botulism risk, honey is much too sugary for a budgie. Their food doesn’t need to be sweetened.

Tip: Other toxic foods and drink that you should avoid include any alcohol, coffee, tea (tisanes made with safe herbs, like chamomile, are OK), onions, garlic, apple seeds, and anything sweetened with xylitol.

Can budgies eat chips?

A budgie would sell its soul for one Dorito chip corner, but unfortunately, both potato and corn chips are terrible for them.

I probably don’t have to explain why: salt, fat, preservatives, flavoring agents. None of these belong in a parrot’s diet!

Can budgies eat Aloe vera?

As healthy as it sounds, budgies shouldn’t eat Aloe vera plant leaves.

Although the clear, jelly-like substance in the center of an Aloe leaf is safe for budgies, the leaves of this succulent also contain a layer of a yellowish substance called aloin. This compound has a laxative effect, which can cause health issues in your bird.

Can budgies eat ice cream?

No, budgies and other parrots are lactose intolerant.

Feeding your budgie ice cream or other dairy products won’t kill it, but it will cause an upset tummy. Additionally, ice cream is much too fatty and sugary for budgies.

Can budgies eat cheese?

Although some parrot owners like to offer their birds a small piece of hard cheese (which has low lactose levels due to the aging process) from time to time. However, I don’t recommend this.

Your budgie won’t keel over if it has some Gouda, but even hard cheeses are still too fatty and salty to make for a good birdie snack. Soft cheeses are even worse, as they’re high in lactose.

Can budgies eat crackers?

Savory unleavened crackers (sometimes called savoury biscuits in the UK) are not as bad for budgies as, say, chocolate. However, because they’re made with vegetable oil and sea salt, they’re not a very healthy option either.

There’s no need to worry if your budgie had a few cracker crumbs, but they’re definitely a food you should offer regularly.

Can budgies eat biscuits?

When I say “biscuit”, American readers will think of a leavened mini bread to have with savory dishes. UK and most other readers will think of flat cookies.

Whatever a biscuit is to you, you probably shouldn’t feed it to your budgie. Or not more than a few crumbs anyway! Both types are high in fat and usually contain sugar, salt, and unhealthy preservatives.

Green budgie parakeet eating a cookie.
As much as your budgie will enjoy munching on cookies, processed snacks are unfortunately too sugary and fatty for your bird to be able to enjoy more than a few crumbs.

Frequently asked questions

Why is my budgie eating paper?

Is your budgie shredding or actually eating the paper? It’s usually the former. They are very playful and love shredding things. You can provide some bird-safe paper for this purpose, as well as plenty of budgie toys.

Why is my budgie eating its own poop?

There are different reasons. If your budgie is on an all-seed diet, which isn’t good for it, it might be suffering from malnutrition.

Budgies can also appear to eat their own poop while they’re playing with it out of boredom, and some seem to like removing poop from their perches to keep them clean.

Can budgies eat cockatiel food?

Yes, they can. Budgie and cockatiel diet in the wild are quite similar, and most foods will be marketed for both anyway. You can feed cockatiel pellets and seed mixes to budgies and vice versa. Keep in mind that the former is preferable as a staple diet!

If you have any more questions about which household foods are okay for your budgie to eat, or if you’d like to share your own experiences with these cheerful parakeets, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

Sources & further reading

Harrison, G. J., & Lightfoot, T. L. (2006). Clinical Avian Medicine Vol II. Spix Publishing, Inc., West Palm Beach, FL, 18(222), 426.

Renner, T., Redon, C., Graziano, J., Ness, S., Barrett, A., & Young, E. Aspergillosis: A Respiratory Fungal Disease in Companion Parrots Authors in Order of Written Contribution.

  • Marijke Puts

    Marijke is a full-time niche blogger and pop science writer, founder of Psittacology, and overly enthusiastic bird mom. Originally from The Netherlands but living in sunny Spain, she spends her time wrangling cockatiels, writing about parrots, cooking, diving and hiking. About me | Contact me

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