Is Too Much Millet Bad for a Cockatiel?

by Jennafer Martin, Demand Media

    A tasty whole grain, millet spray is a treat your cockatiel will happily gobble up. But it's best served in moderation. Include millet simply as a treat within a balanced diet of pellets, fresh fruits and veggies and other whole grains. Your feathered friend will fill up on the healthier fare and enjoy the millet for flavor.

    Balancing Act

    Keeping your cockatiel healthy is a balancing act that hinges on a balanced diet. Mimicking the diet that cockatiels have in the wild -- a healthy combination of fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- and augmenting it with vitamin-rich pellets is the best way to keep your pet healthy. Because it's a whole grain, millet can be part of your feathered friend’s balanced diet. But because cockatiels love the taste of millet, they’ll snack on it over eating other foods rich in nutrition, so give them millet sparingly, such as once or twice a week, and give other whole grains, such as oats or shredded wheat, other days.

    Many Forms

    High in fiber, millet spray is a low-fat source of carbohydrates for your cute cockatiel. Most pet stores sell them in sprays that are easy to place in your pet’s cage to snack on at their leisure. You can also purchase millet in a health food store to cook or bake as a warm treat for your cockatiel. Add one cup of raw millet to three-and-a-half cups of water and either boil in a sauce pan for 10-15 minutes or bake at 350 degrees in a covered casserole dish for 45 minutes. Add a few veggies to a tablespoon of cooked millet to add texture and taste variety to the treat.

    Foods to Avoid

    Cockatiels can enjoy many other types of foods, but remember to keep foods that are difficult to digest or downright poisonous out of reach. Avoid giving your cockatiel milk products, raw cabbage or onions, chocolate, apple seeds or pits from stone fruits (like apricots, cherries and plums), anything containing caffeine, alcoholic beverages, eggplant, persimmons, green parts of tomatoes or potatoes, mushrooms and rhubarb leaves. Like other parrots, cockatiels live by a “if I see it and want it, it must be mine” motto, so keeping foods that aren’t good for them out of sight will help you avoid power struggles with your pet.

    Fruit Treats

    Aside from millet, share a little fruit with your cockatiel for a sweet treat. Berries, melons and grapes are common fruits your feathered friend will enjoy. Place a few slices of fruit on an unsalted pretzel stick for a sweet and crunchy treat. Or mix up some brown rice and berries in a romaine lettuce leaf for a small lettuce wrap. To limit your cockatiel’s sugar, make sure fruit only makes up five percent of her diet, and make sure there’s no sugar added to any dried fruit you serve her.

    About the Author

    Jennafer Martin has more than 14 years of experience in writing, editing and brand management for literary, business-to-business and consumer publications. She is a writer for Zoe Soul Spa and "Pets in the City" magazine.