What fruit and vegetables can cockatiels eat? [Benefits and How to Feed]


If you have a cockatiel as a pet bird or you are considering buying one you should know that poor feeding exposes cockatiels to obesity, iodine deficiencies, egg binding, and feather picking.  We have compiled a list of veggies and fruits that are safe to feed to your tiel.

What list of fruits and vegetables can cockatiels eat? Fruits, vegetables, and greens should account for about 20-25% of your cockatiel diet. Fruits that are safe to feed to your cockatiels include bananas, apples, grapes, strawberries, nectarines, apricots, pears, peaches, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, guavas, melons such as cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapples, plum, raspberry, blueberry, and orange. Cockatiels can also eat the following vegetable cabbages, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumber, carrots, endive, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes among others. Fruits, greens, and vegetables should always be washed before being fed to cockatiels to remove chemicals.

Pale vegetables such as celery, iceberg, or head lettuce should be avoided or fed moderately since they have high water content and poor nutritional value. Avocadoes are toxic and should never be fed to cockatiels.

The best food for cockatiels is commercially made pellets, these pellets are made with all the nutrients that cockatiels need. In fact, a cockatiel that eats pellets does not need to be fed mineral or vitamin supplements.

Unless they are breeding or sick, or when they have been diagnosed with mineral deficiency by a vet.

If your cockatiel shows or develops preference to a particular fruit, green, or vegetable reduce that particular food item gently to avoid overreliance on one food item. Always provide variety to your cockatiel, as with variety you will be able to provide a balanced diet.

Benefits of feeding fruits and vegetables to cockatiels

The benefits of feeding fruits to cockatiels include providing various nutrition that cockatiels need in their bodies. These include water, minerals, and vitamins. The balanced diet of cockatiels should have carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water.

Promotes, Coloring, reproduction, and digestion in cockatiels

We all want our pet birds to look vibrant right? Well, the secret to your cockatiel looking vibrant is feeding them food that has a lot of vitamin A and beta carotene. Beta carotene and Vitamin A are associated with enhancing the color of your bird, be it red, yellow, green, or orange you name it.

Fruits, greens, and veggies are some of the best sources of beta carotene and vitamin A. Include fruits, greens, and veggies as part of a balanced diet and you will see your cockatiel colors become vibrant.

Vitamin A which is abundant in both fruits and vegetables also facilitates growth and development, hormone production, immune system response, formation of epithelial, vascular, and mucous membranes.

Its deficiency will manifest by affecting reproduction, digestion and respiration.

Which fruits are good for cockatiels?

Before we dive into this list of the best fruits to feed your cockatiel it is worth noting that fruits, greens, and veggies should only make about 20-25% of pet bird daily diet.

Remember to offer a variety of fruits, and most importantly, when your cockatiel refuses to eat a certain fruit, it does not necessarily mean they will never eat it, just keep on trying.

The following list of fruits will give you an idea of the benefits of feeding fruits to cockatiels and are easily available in any supermarket fruits section.

Apples

Cockatiels enjoy eating apples; even better apples are available all year round. Cut the apple into small pieces that are easily palatable by your feathered friend.

However, do not be tempted to feed apple seeds to the cockatiel, despite the fact that cockatiels come across seeds in the wild.

Giving cockatiels apple seeds may end up killing them since apple seeds contain cyanide that is very toxic to all birds including cockatiels. When offered as part of a balanced diet apples will help keep your cockatiel’s diet balanced.

Bananas

Like apples, bananas are an excellent fruit to add to the list of fruits that you can offer your cockatiel. Most cockatiels enjoy eating bananas and you can offer bananas as treats especially when you are training your cockatiel.

You can feed cockatiels the whole banana including the banana peel, just remember to wash it thoroughly.

Grapes

Grapes are another fruit that is available the whole year and a delicacy of cockatiels. Cockatiels will enjoy eating both red and green grapes.

However, like apples remember to remove grape seeds. Mixing them with other similar fruits can make it easier to include variety in your bird’s diet.

Strawberries

Strawberries fall in the category of berries that cockatiels love and enjoy eating. Are looking to increase the vibrancy of your cockatiels feathers? Well, strawberries are loaded with vitamin A and beta carotene that will help your tiel color up pretty nicely.

You may be wondering whether you are supposed to remove strawberries’ seeds, the good news is cockatiels are not affected by these seeds.

Pears

Like apples mentioned above, pears are another fruit that cockatiels enjoy eating. Like apples remember to remove the seeds and cut them into smaller pieces for ease of access. You can actually choose to mix pears and apples when feeding your cockatiel.

Melons

Cockatiels can enjoy all the fruits categorized as melon that are watermelons, cantaloupes, and sweet melons.

However, melons like celery and iceberg or head lettuce have a high water content compared to other nutrients. Melons also have a high sugar content, combined with high water content.

Over feeding these fruits may cause digestive issues and lead to loose or watery droppings. 

Oranges

Oranges are also great to add to your cockatiel diet, however, due to the acidity of the oranges. Remember to feed them moderately as overfeeding can lead to health complications.

Which Vegetables and greens are good for Cockatiels?

The best vegetables and greens to feed your cockatiels include kale, bell peppersOpens in a new tab., cabbage, broccoli, dandelion greens, Zucchini, mustard greens, bokchoy, rapini, collard greens, and parsley.

These vegetables and greens are loaded with calcium that is very essential in the growth and development and general wellbeing of a cockatiel.

As mentioned earlier veggies, fruits and greens should make about 20-25% of the cockatiels diet.

75-80% should be made up of commercially made cockatiel pellets, these pellets are made with the nutrition requirement of a cockatiel or any other pet bird in mind.

Avoid feeding canned vegetables and greens to cockatiels since they offer little or no nutrition, but lather provides a lot of calories. Given that cockatiels are highly prone to obesity, you should avoid feeding canned veggies and greens.

Let’s take a look at some of the best veggies and greens to feed your cockatiels.

Carrots

Carrots are loaded with vitamin A and beta carotene which as we have stated above helps with the well-being of your cockatiel.

If you are looking to improve the coloration of your cockatiel make sure to add some carrots to its diet. However, carrots should only form part of your cockatiel’s diet, not the entire daily diet.

Spinach

Spinach is safe for your cockatiel to eat in moderation since they contain a mineral that impairs the absorption of calcium known as oxalates. Other veggies that contain oxalates but are safe to feed to your cockatiel when offered in moderation include Swiss chard and beet greens.

When feeding vegetables and greens to your cockatiel remember that the darker the color the more nutrients it has.

How to feed fruits, vegetables, and greens to cockatiels

The best fruits, veggies and greens to feed to your cockatiel are ones that have been grown organically.

However, it can be hard to know whether a fruit or vegetable was grown organically especially if you are buying them from the supermarket.

In this case, make sure to thoroughly wash fruits and veggies before feeding them to your cockatiel to avoid food poisoning.

Foods to avoid feeding cockatiels

You should never feed your cockatiel avocado, chocolate, eggplants, caffeine, milk, alcohol, cream, raw potato, rhubarb. These feeds will end up poisoning and killing your cockatiel.

How many fruits, vegetables, and greens should a cockatiel eat?

As a general rule, fruits, vegetables and greens should not exceed 20-25% of your cockatiels daily diet.

Consider fruits and veggies as feeds to spice up your cockatiel’s diet, you can offer these feeds when you are just having some good time with your cockatiel or when you are training it.

In case your cockatiel has been diagnosed with low levels of minerals such as calcium and vitamin D, you can dust fruits and vegetables before feeding your bird.

If your cockatiel refuses a certain fruit or veggie but prefers another, limit the fruit or veggies that the cockatiel is showing preference and increase the supply of the one it is refusing.

With time your pet bird should be able to accept various fruits and veggies.

“Healthy molts, vibrant song and strong condition is achieved by feeding a balanced diet all of the time.”

How do I get my cockatiel to eat fruits?

The best way to encourage your cockatiel to eat fruits and veggies if it is used to eating seeds and pellets is by mixing small portions of fruits and veggies in its diet.

Start with veggies and fruits that are easy for your cockatiel to spot such as carrots or strawberries. Slowly wean your cockatiel into these fruits and veggies.

Generally, it takes trial and error, alternatively, you can use these fruits and veggies when you are training your cockatiel or hanging out.

You should avoid overfeeding seeds to your cockatiel or any pet bird; seeds are high in fat and low in other nutrition and may cause health problems such as obesity.

Does cockatiel need gravel or grit?

Based on the available research, it is not necessary to feed grit or gravel to cockatiels, contrary to popular opinion that birds need the grit to aid in digestion. In fact, health complications have been observed among birds that have over-eaten gravel or grit.

Summary of what fruits, greens and vegetables that cackatiels can eat

AppleCherries (not the pit)Pear
ApricotsChinese vegetables:Peas
Asparagus         i.e. bok choyPeppers (red, green & hot)
BananaCoconutPineapple
Beans (cooked) such as:CornPlum
        chick peaCucumberPomegranate
        kidneyDandelion leavesPotato
        lentilsEndivePumpkin
        limaFigRappini
        mungGrapesRaspberry
        navyGrapefruitRice (brown)
        soyKaleRomaine lettuce
BeetKiwiSpinach
BlueberryMelonsSprouted seeds
BroccoliMangoSquash
Brussel SproutsNectarinesStrawberry
CabbageOrangeSweet potato
CantaloupePapayaTomato
CarrotParsnipZucchini
Carrot topsPeaches

Bottom line

Fruits, vegetables, and fruits can help provide nutrients that your cockatiel needs and offer a balanced diet especially when mixed correctly. Remember to observe the 20-25% rule when feeding fruits and veggies to your cockatiel. Given that seeds have a lot of fats that may affect your cockatiel health negatively, you can replace seeds with veggies and fruits and only offer seeds occasionally.

Roberto

I run a local pet store, currently, we only sell aquarium fish. However, I am also fascinated by birds, during my free time I go bird watching and visit the local library and use the internet to learn as much as I can about birds. Hope in the future we will start selling pet birds such as Parrots. So that I can put my knowledge about birds into practical use.

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