Healthy snacks for your African gray parrot mimic the types of foods that he might eat in the wild: Fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. Experiment with different foods to see what your bird most enjoys eating. Treat these foods as a reward for training or a casual snack.
Rich, fatty seeds make a tasty treat as well as a diet component. Sunflower and safflower seeds are particularly high in fat, so reserve those for only occasional snacks. Other types of seeds that make a nice snack and are suitable for large parrots include pumpkin seeds, corn, thistle and pine tree seeds. Smaller seeds, such as millet, buckwheat and canary grass, are more suitable for smaller species of parrot.
Packed with natural sugars, fruit makes a sweet snack for your parrot. Peel the fruit, cut it into small chunks and place it in a food dish or make a fruit skewer or kabob for your pet. Fruits suitable for parrots include apples, oranges, persimmons, peaches, pears and pomegranates.
Calcium-rich veggies, including broccoli, swiss chard and kale, make a particularly good snack for African grays with low levels of blood calcium. Other veggies suitable for a snack include carrots, celery, green beans, zucchini, cucumber and corn. Wash and cut the produce and place it in a clean food dish. If cooked, you can also feed sweet potato and winter squash to your parrot.
Foods to Avoid
Prepared foods contain too much sugar and salt for birds, so don't share your chips or cookies with your African gray. Foods that pose a health risk for parrots include onions, aloe vera, avocado, chocolate, mushrooms, raw dairy and rhubarb. Also avoid feeding your parrot the seeds or pits of fruits, since these contain a compound that can convert to cyanide when eaten. Always talk over any concerns with your veterinarian regarding safe or unsafe foods.
- The African Grey Parrot Handbook; Mattie Sue Athan and Dianalee Deter
- Blackstone Aviaries: Diet Suggestions
- The New Parrot Handbook: Everything about Purchase, Acclimation, Care, Diet, Disease, and Behavior of Parrots, with a Special Chapter on Raising Parrots; Werner Lantermann and Matthew M. Vriends
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