What kind of food do you give your parakeet? Is it enough to just offer seeds, or should you be feeding them fresh fruit and vegetables, too? Read on for a list of parakeet diet guidelines and what not to feed your parakeet.
This blog post will share some tips on what kinds of foods are healthy for parakeets, as well as what types they should avoid.
What Do Parakeets Eat In The Wild? Is It Enough For Your Pet?
In the wild, parakeets typically eat seeds from several Australian types of grass. When food becomes scarce, parakeets will also glean other things to survive—though they don't typically eat anything else usually. Seeds provide wild parakeets the fat they need to hunt for food and water.
Technically, if given in good variety with a broad-based vitamin supplement, high-quality seeds could serve as a stable diet for your pet parakeet.
However, it is important to note that most store-bought seeds today are not healthy for these little birds; they may be old by the time you buy them or contaminated with mold or insects.
Many of these seed mixes sold at stores offer only red millet and, in many cases, rice, which parakeets very rarely eat. Although your parakeet could survive on just seed, he won't be as healthy or live as long without certain proteins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients.
What Can Parakeets Eat?
We will break this down further, but here is a basic list of food groups parakeets love to eat and need to eat for a balanced diet.
What Pellets Are Best For Parakeets?
Your parakeet's diet should include a mix of pellets which will provide the parakeets with all the necessary nutrients. It is not recommended to feed them only seeds because they are deficient in protein, carbohydrates, and fats without these important food groups. With pellets, all of your parakeet's nutritional needs are taken care of.
Continue feeding your parakeet the pellet mix he was given at the pet store you bought him from or what he was fed at his previous family. Pellets are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can also purchase parakeet pellets in seed mixes, which are a combination of seeds and pellets.
It is crucial that you introduce new food slowly into your parakeet's diet to avoid digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation. Too much change at once could stress him out as well, so make small changes over time until the parakeet is fully transitioned to the new food.
Pellets are important to your parakeet's diet, but you should also give them fresh vegetables and seeds.
What Seeds Are Best For Parakeets?
Remember to still provide good quality, organic and non-GMO seeds at each meal. At first, seeds should be about 50% of the total given to your parakeet, and then you should reduce this amount over two to four weeks, slowly transitioning into a pellet-based diet.
A safe and healthy diet for parakeets is 85-90% pellets, 10-15% seed/treats. However, if you visit an avian veterinarian, they can assist you in developing a dietary regimen for your individual parakeet based on its current weight and general health.
The best seeds for parakeets are:
|Low-Fat Seeds||High-Fat Seeds|
|Millets (or Spray Millet)||Rape Seed|
The seeds above are typical in most birdseed mixes. These are a parakeet's favorite food, but some are very fatty, and if allowed to, parakeets will overeat them!
In fact, seeds that parakeets love are usually either very high in fat or very low in fat, but neither is superior, and your parakeet should have a balance of the two.
What Fruit Are Best For Parakeets?
Parakeets like a variety of fruit, including apples, bananas, and grapes.
What Vegetables Are Best For Parakeets?
For a healthy, varied diet, your parakeet should be offered daily portions of greens and vegetables. This can be as easy as hanging up a carrot top or fresh leaf of spinach, kale, or dandelion from the cage.
Parakeets can also be fed various fresh vegetables, such as shredded carrots, broccoli, cucumber, and green beans. You can also give them other veggies from your diet occasionally but never let them eat from the same one you have bitten as human saliva can carry a parakeet's worst enemy: bacteria!
What Vitamins Do Parakeets Need (Pellet Diet)?
If your parakeet is eating 80-85% pellets and eating the majority of what you give him, he is consuming enough vitamins from the pellets. This is because pelleted diets already have added vitamins and calcium.
Often, adding a supplement will only upset the parakeet's stomach. Overdosing on vitamins could result in your parakeet suffering from a condition called hypervitaminosis. Hypervitaminosis can be fatal.
What Vitamins Do Parakeets (On A Seed-Only Diet) Need?
If you're feeding a parakeet exclusively seeds, it is vital to offer him fresh greens or vegetables every day for vitamins C and K while ensuring he receives enough direct sunlight for vitamin D.
Similarly, adding in some mealworms now and then also provides additional protein as well as vitamin B12.
Lastly, adding a mineral block to your parakeet's cage can help ensure he is getting all the calcium necessary. If he isn't getting enough micronutrients, you may have a case of your parakeet eating his own poop!
How Much Should I Feed A Parakeet Per Day?
You should feed your parakeet twice a day. It is best to feed him on a schedule similar to his natural feeding pattern. The feed you provide in the evening should be significantly larger than that of the morning. A teaspoon is approximately the right amount to feed your parakeet per feed.
After an hour, check for seed hulls and remove them. But be sure to leave some food in the cage at night to make it easier for your parakeet if he wakes up hungry.
What NOT To Feed A Parakeet?
The parakeet diet list is extensive in what these little birds can eat, but there are some things that should not be fed to a parakeet for various reasons. Unfortunately, one of the most frequent mistakes by novice parakeet owners is not knowing what parakeets should or shouldn't eat.
You should never feed your parakeet processed food, and honestly, most of the food we eat or consider to be regular staples of our diet. Many of these foods are toxic, so it is best to steer clear and stick to your parakeet's natural diet.
Human Foods That Are Toxic To Parakeets
- Avocado (Pits especially)
- Salty/sweet food
There's a lot to learn about parakeet diets! This is just the tip of the iceberg. As we said, there are many other things you should be considering when it comes to your pet bird's diet and wellbeing that will help them live longer and happier lives. This post was intended to provide you with some helpful tips for ensuring your pet parakeet is eating a healthy and well-balanced diet.