In the wild Conures forage for seeds, fruits, vegetables, berries, and nuts combined with some insects and their larvae. This variety gives them all the nutrients they need for survival. In captivity as pets, the owner dictates what the conure eats. I did some digging to find out which nuts they can eat without any health issues and what are the benefits of nuts.
So, What nuts can conures eat? Conures can eat the following nuts walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, shelled peanuts, cashews, almonds, monkey nuts, macadamias, pistachios, and brazil nuts long as they are unsalted. However, nuts are rich in fats that can lead to obesity to conures. Nuts are also poor in other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that conures need on daily basis. Therefore conures should be fed nuts sparingly to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
One or two nuts are safe to feed to conures, they might show a preference to nuts and seeds so do not get carried away.
Almonds has the highest amount of dietary fiber, protein and calcium making them one the best option nut to feed conures as snacks.
Most Avian experts recommend feeding nuts as treats and not as the staple diet. Most first-time bird owners fall into the trap of thinking that birds should survive on nuts and seeds only.
This fact alone has to lead to a very serious trend in the pet birds industry. For instance, birds or parrots fed an all-seed or nuts diet suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies and most specifically vitamin A.
Nuts and seeds can make a good treat when bonding or training your conure new tricks which they are always eager to learn. Check this mixture of conure-safe nuts from Kaytee on Amazon, Remember these should only be offered as a treat and not as the main diet.
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Nutritional Benefits of Nuts to Conures
In the wild birds have access to an arsenal of nuts and seeds, and as the season changes different nuts become available and some disappear.
As a result, there is a variety of nuts that are available and some that are absent in equal measures.
Nuts and seeds are a good source of fats and energy that birds need either in the wild or in captivity. Some of the most important fats include omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
However, given that most captive parrots such as conures or cockatiels among others do not get enough exercise compared to their wild counterparts most of the calories they consume are not burnt out.
These calories get stored in the body and expose conures to health issues such as obesity. For instance, conures are highly susceptible to obesity.
Therefore, feeding them an all seed or nuts diet exposes them to obesity.
The table below shows the fats concentration [saturated, mono-saturated, and poly-unsaturated] in various nuts that conures can eat source
|Nut||Total Fat (grams) per ounce|
How do Nuts help conures?
As we have stated above nuts and seeds are a good source of fatty acids. In this case we will be concentrating on omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Birds need energy for flight and to keep up with playful nature. Given the playful nature of conures, you will need to provide them with enough source of energy.
Feeding conures commercially made pellets will provide them with all the nutrients they need, commercially made pellets have a blend of nuts, seeds, veggies, and fruits plus they are fortified with minerals and vitamins.
Therefore, you will not worry about feeding nuts and seeds to provide energy, you should use them as treats when training, and at the same time, you will provide them with energy.
A proper balance of the omega fatty acids will help in improving the immunity of all birds including conures. High levels of omega 6 acids, when compared to omega 3, promotes inflammation.
While high levels of omega 3 compared to omega 6 promotes anti-inflammation. This means that getting the concentration of the omega acids right is crucial to promoting the immune system.
Most commercial pellets are made with this fact in mind such as the Lafeber conure pellets.
Diets high in fats have been associated with atherosclerosis, a condition that leads to hardening of the arteries.
High fats and lack of enough exercises are some of the causes of atherosclerosis in most pet birds.
Omega 3 fatty acids help in preventing atherosclerosis by inhibiting the inflammation of the blood vessels and reduce the formation of plaque.
Fatty acids also act as antioxidants that help fight the effect of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress damages cells and intereferes with functions such as reproduction and immune response.
Improved growth and productive performance
Research shows that Fatty acids improves the growth of birds and their productive performance. The omega improves birds utilization of the feeds that they eat.
Omegas help improve the food conversion ratio that promotes proper growth and development. This means that if you are looking into breeding conure a diet that has enough omegas is very essential.
Omegas are also essential in promoting the quality and nutritional value of the eggs which translates into healthy chicks.
Fatty acids also improve the quality of semen that ensures production of healthy eggs and chicks.
Given that omegas help with the improvement of food conversion ratio, this will help with the metabolism of minerals that promotes bone formation.
Fat supplementation in the diet of conures will improve the metabolism of calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Calcium is very essential in the formation of the skeletal structure of birds.
It is needed in high quantities among birds that are young, laying, injured, or molting to replenish the levels used up through these processes such as the formation of eggshells.
Risks of feeding too many nuts to conures
Risks of excessively feeding nuts to conures include obesity due to lack of enough exercise. Conures fall into the category of birds that are highly prone to obesity.
The next risk is vitamin A deficiencies which are very common even among other birds that are fed an all nut or seed diet.
Seeds have a high-fat content but poor mineral and vitamin content especially vitamin A. That why avian experts recommend weaning your parrot of a seeds diet to a pellet diet.
What nuts are bad for parrots?
Any salted flavored or seasoned nuts are bad for parrots and they can even kill parrots when offered in excess. While parrots can deal with a small amount of salt, in the long run, salt and the seasoning ingredients will harm the kidney of the parrot.
Can Conures eat walnuts?
Conures can eat walnuts and they are rich in antioxidants, omega 3, and a small amount of protein.
can conures eat pistachios?
Conures can eat pistachios and they are a good source of potassium for conures. Potassium is lost in high amounts when any parrot including conures is stressed. Therefore, if you realize your conure is stressed a pistachio nut will help boost their levels of potassium.
can conures eat almonds?
Conures can also eat almonds as part of a balanced diet. Almonds are a good source of calcium and dietary fiber for conures. Almonds are also rich in protein slightly higher than pistachios.
can conures eat cashews?
Conures can eat cashew nuts and they are good source of trace minerals such as copper and zinc.
Conures like all parrots have a special liking for nuts and seeds, they will even show some preferences for some nuts and seeds while shunning others. Nuts and seeds are a good source of fatty acids but have a poor vitamin and mineral content. This means that a conure fed an all-seed diet will suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Nuts and seeds should be offered sparingly while a large percentage of your conures daily diet should be made of high-quality pellets. If you are looking for nuts for your conure you can check these Kaytee nuts at amazon or these pellets that are made with a range of food items including nuts and have all the nutrients that conures need.