You may notice your parrot eyeing a juicy piece of steak on your plate at dinner time. Like most bird owners do, you want to share. But before you cut up a slice for your feathered friend, it’s important to know if your bird can eat meat in the first place.
Can parrots eat meat? Yes, parrots can eat meat, but it should be served as a supplement to meals and not as a diet staple. In the wild, parrots mainly eat a plant-based diet. However, they are omnivores and enjoy eating insects occasionally. It is safe for your parrot to eat meat as long as you do not overdo it.
Being knowledgeable about your parrot’s diet is essential for your bird’s well being. Continue reading to learn more about how to properly feed your parrot meat and incorporate other nourishing food items into its diet.
How much meat should I provide to my parrot?
When it comes to meat, there is potential for this food to be a healthy addition to your parrot’s diet. The good thing about meat is that it is high in protein.
Parrots need to consume plenty of protein for optimum health since it supports muscle and tissue development. An insufficient intake of protein can result in muscle loss and be harmful to organs.
Luckily, most birds have no trouble getting enough protein in their diets since seed is high in protein. But parrots that eat a majority of fruits and vegetables may have a harder time getting adequate protein.
For these birds, the addition of meat to meal times a few times a week can be beneficial.
To sum it up, how much meat you should feed your parrot largely depends on what its diet consists of. Parrots that consume more seeds and pellets should consume less meat than parrots on a fruit and vegetable-based diet.
It is always a good idea to pay attention to nutrition labels on your bird’s food to ensure your bird is getting a proper mix of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Also, you want to make sure to not overfeed your parrot when adding meat to the diet. Obesity can lead to health problems quickly.
On the other side, parrots can’t go long without food since their metabolism is so fast. So if you need to leave for a while, you can’t rely on your parrot’s fat storage. In this regard, we recommend reading our article on how long parrots can go without food.
The risks of too much meat in your parrot’s diet
If you give your parrot meat, odds are it will eat it every time. Similarly, if you give your parrot oatmeal raisin cookies often, it will probably eat that every time too.
It is important to remember that just because your parrot loves to eat a certain food, it does not mean it is good for it. Know that too much of a good thing isn’t always good. Listed below are potential risks of overindulging your bird’s taste for meat.
- It’s high in calories. Meat is a calorie dense food. If your parrot overindulges, it can be at risk for becoming overweight. While a chubby bird sounds adorable, excess weight is harmful to your parrot’s health.
- It can be high cholesterol and saturated fats. Cholesterol and saturated fats are not common to a parrot’s natural diet. Too much of these substances and your bird is at risk for developing health issues like high cholesterol and heart disease
- It can be too much protein. While adequate protein is necessary for your bird, too much protein can cause harm. If your bird takes in too much, it could cause kidney damage.
- It can be too fatty. Meat does not just contain protein, it also contains fat. Excess fat in your bird’s diet leaves your bird at risk for hepatic lipidosis- an excess of fat stored inside the liver.
- It can contain antibiotics. Factory farmed meat is often loaded with antibiotics. This can have an adverse effect on not only your bird’s health but your own. When possible, purchase high-quality antibiotic-free meat for both you and your parrot to enjoy.
Do not let this list deter you from giving your parrot a meaty treat once in a while. Moderation is the key.
The best types of meat to serve your parrot
If you are going to incorporate meat into your parrot’s diet, you’ll want to provide your bird with what’s healthiest. Listed below are the best options when it comes to giving your parrot some extra protein.
- Poultry. This is the best option when it comes to serving your parrot meat. Poultry is a lean protein, meaning your bird will get the benefit of extra protein without a lot of additional fat. Roasted chicken, turkey, and duck are all perfect options for your bird buddy.
- Fish. Fish is also fine to feed your parrot. It is often rich in healthy fats which is difficult to obtain in a fruit and vegetable-based diet. If you would like to feed your parrot some seafood opt for low mercury fish like sardines, mackerel, and trout.
- Egg. While not technically meat, egg made it in this list because it is a favorite of parrot owners. It is inexpensive, easy to prepare, and contains plenty of nutrients. Plus, parrots love eating eggs. It is best prepared scrambled or hard-boiled without excess fat or salt added. We show you more on how to serve eggs and why eggs are okay for parrots in this article. Eggs are just so easy to prepare!
- Chicken bones. Your parrot’s favorite part of a chicken dinner may not be the tender breast, but the nearly stripped bare bones. This is because birds love cracking into the bones to get to the soft, nutritious marrow inside. Always monitor your bird when it is crunching down on a bone. It can fragment and you do not want your bird to eat pieces of bone.
Meat to avoid serving your parrot
Unfortunately, some meat is very unhealthy for your bird to consume, even in small quantities. Listed below are different types of meat to avoid giving your parrot.
- Cured meat. Anything that you’d find on your breakfast plate is a big no-no when it comes to your bird’s diet. Cured meat is often high in sodium, fat and harmful nitrates. This includes bacon, sausage, and ham steaks.
- Cold cuts. Cold cuts should also be avoided. They are usually loaded with fillers and preservatives. Cold cuts tend to contain a lot of sodium as well. If you wish to give your bird some sandwich meat, opt for low sodium turkey or chicken breast. Avoid all pink meats like ham and bologna.
- Fatty red meat. Red meat can be okay to feed your parrot. They especially love bones. However, steak should be consumed rarely because it is high in fat. While marbled rib eyes and skirt steaks may look delicious, they pack a high-fat punch that’s no good for your bird.
- Anything fried. Yes, fried food is delicious but it is certainly not a natural part of a parrot’s diet. Fried foods are loaded with fat, which is not recommended for your bird to consume.
Preparing meat for your parrot
If you are going to feed your parrot meat, it’s important to prepare it properly. As previously stated, fried meat is not recommended for birds. Also, avoid serving your parrot meat served in sauces or with spices on it.
The best way to cook meat for your parrot is to prepare it plainly. Boiling, baking, and broiling are the best cooking methods to use. Do not add any extra ingredients like salt or fat in your cooking. Keep it as natural as you can.
Also, it is not recommended to feed your parrot raw meat. Uncooked meat can harbor dangerous bacteria like salmonella. Always cook meat for your parrot to the appropriate temperature to avoid any foodborne illness.
What can’t parrots eat? Lots of foods can be dangerous to feed your parrot because they are toxic to birds. Common vegetables that should be avoided include mushrooms, onions, garlic, and avocado. Other foods you should keep away from your bird include alcohol, chocolate, high sodium products and anything with caffeine.
Can parrots eat bread? Parrots can eat bread, but they shouldn’t eat too much of it. It is not a part of their natural diets. Bread can be high in sugar and carbs, meaning it is not nutritionally ideal for your bird. Bread as an occasional treat is safe.