An unhealthy diet can lead to a host of health problems in captive birds, especially those who are not used to or adept at eating anything other than seed. It is important that you provide your monk parakeets with the proper nutrition and supplementation for them to remain healthy.
Like most breeds of parakeets, monk parakeets in the wild and in captivity eat a diet of;
In many cases, monk parakeet owners do not provide their birds a balanced diet which is specific to their bird's needs. This can result in serious health issues, such as fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver disease is caused by the excessive intake of grains in the diet, rather than a diet higher in seeds, fruits and vegetables. This disease can be fatal, so it is important to make sure your birds are eating the right way.
Below we will discuss the answer to ‘what do monk parakeets eat?', in depth. We also discuss what foods are toxic to monk parakeets. Let's take a look at what types of food should be on their menu!
What Do Monk Parakeets Eat In The Wild?
In the wild, monk parakeets usually feed on a variety of leaves, buds, sprouts, seeds, and fruit. Among fruits, guava is the monk parakeet's favorite. They also like to eat larvae and other insects.
What Do Monk Parakeets Eat In Captivity?
In captivity, monk parakeets need to be fed a balanced diet to avoid any health-related issues and even more so if you plan on breeding them. I recommend the following:
1. Pellet-based diet
Most pellet food available for pet birds provides balanced nutrition to your bird and keeps your bird healthy. Some bird owners will feed their bird an exclusive diet of pellets and find that they do not need to supplement.
Depending on the age of your bird, different sizes of pellets are available in different colors and have different nutritional values. You should consult a veterinarian for the selection of the best pellet for your monk parakeet.
If your monk parakeet predominately seeds, and you wish to change their diet, you will need to slowly wean them onto pellets.
This will be much easier for baby monk parakeets, however, mature birds will require a lot more effort.
Start by feeding it 3 tablespoons of pellet per day along with a sufficient quantity of water.
Fruits are among the favorite foods of monk parakeets. Some parakeets favorites include apple, kiwi, berries, grapes, and guavas. These will provide vitamins to your monk parakeets.
Bacteria can grow in fruits so uneaten fruits should be removed.
Parakeets eat vegetables as well. Among their favorite vegetables are kale, romaine lettuce, dandelion leaves, and spinach. They can also eat cabbage, sweet potatoes, and corn. Corn will provide proteins and vegetables will provide vitamins.
Just like fruits, uneaten vegetables should also be removed.
As wild birds fly for most of the day so they can utilize the energy from seeds. But the captive birds can not utilize the energy from seeds which results in different diseases of birds like fatty liver disease and inability to breed due to fat deposition in the reproductive organs of your bird.
Seeds are the sole source of fat and lack nutrients. When you will provide seed as the sole source of diet to your monk parakeets, it will lead to health issues. As a result, your parakeet will die early due to any disease related to fat deposition. Furthermore, fat can also increase blood cholesterol level which will result in cardiac failure and ultimately death.
When you provide a mixture of seeds, parakeets will select only 1 or 2 seeds from them. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are chosen as they are favorites to them, however, these seeds are deficient in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients and contain a high quantity of fats. Lack of minerals and nutrients in seeds leads to an unbalanced diet.
As seeds are deficient in nutrients, they must be only a little part of the diet. You can feed one tablespoon of seeds to your pet monk parakeet. This amount of seed will provide a sufficient amount of energy to birds.
At different ages, birds need different minerals to be fed. In the growing period, birds need calcium and phosphorus. In the laying period, birds need specifically calcium.
Though I would not typically class this as a diet staple, monk parakeets will happily eat your table food. You can offer a very small amount of fish, egg, and meat. Parakeets can also eat dairy products such as cheese but in very small quantities as they are lactose-intolerant (probably better not to give them cheese, then?).
What Foods Are Toxic To Monk Parakeets?
Some foods are toxic to your monk parakeets;
- Stone fruit pits
- Apple seeds
These foods can cause serious health issues so keep them away from your parakeets. Additionally, products containing caffeine should be avoided as they are toxic to birds.
It is your responsibility to provide your captive monk parakeets a balanced diet to keep them healthy. Provide them sufficient and freshwater supply. Don’t offer them rotten fruits and vegetables. Not offer too many energy products to them.
Monitor the intake of food and if there is a reduction of intake then take them to a veterinarian.
Bird mom, blog writer and children's books author. My first ever pet bird was a parakeet, and now I am a proud “bird lady” and even enjoy writing about them!