Budgies are small, popular pets that belong to the parrot family. There are two types of budgies: Australian and English. You might also know them as parakeets! In the wild, budgies eat seeds, berries, vegetation, and fruit. If you own one of these cute little birds, you might have noticed that they love to snack on lots of different kinds of food. You should know that it is perfectly safe for these birds to eat watermelon and most other kinds of fruit—in moderation. In this article, we will discuss this bird’s nutritional needs, how much watermelon is considered safe, and foods to avoid feeding to your pet budgie.
Budgie Nutritional Requirements
Like all animals, budgies need to eat a balanced diet that includes an appropriate amount of fat, protein, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. While budgies eat seeds in the wild, it is important to note that budgies in captivity should not eat only seeds. Many commercial seed mixes are high in fat and lacking in the vitamins your budgie needs to stay healthy. Because budgies are prone to obesity, a diet based solely on commercial seed mixes can cause weight gain, ultimately leading to poor health.
Luckily, formulated bird foods such as fortified pellets can make feeding your budgie simple. Choose brands made from whole foods that are specifically made for parakeets. The pelleted food should make up the majority of your budgie’s diet because it is the most nutritionally complete food you can offer. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to supplement your budgie’s diet with nutritious treats such as fruits, vegetables, millet seed, grains, and even proteins such as hard-boiled eggs. Not only can these foods offer additional nutritional benefits for your bird, but they can also be very useful when you are trying to train your budgie to learn a certain behavior.
How Much Watermelon Should a Budgie Eat?
Although watermelon can certainly be a nutritious part of your budgie’s diet, it’s important to understand that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. As discussed, watermelon and other supplementary foods cannot offer your budgie a nutritionally complete diet. As such, watermelon should be considered a treat, not the main course. A general rule of thumb is that treats should make up no more than 10% of your budgie’s diet. Stick to small portions and only feed your budgie watermelon or other treats when it has eaten most or all of its main course.
One way to tell that your budgie is eating too much watermelon is by paying attention to its stools. Since watermelon has a high water content, it can lead to diarrhea in your bird. If you notice looser stools than normal, it’s time for you to cut back on feeding your budgie watermelon.
What About Watermelon Seeds?
Some fruit seeds, such as apple seeds and pear seeds, are toxic to birds because they contain a compound called amygdalin, which breaks down in the stomach and releases cyanide. Thankfully, watermelon seeds are not considered toxic to birds; in fact, they can be just as much of a tasty treat for your budgie as the watermelon itself. Something you should consider before giving your budgie watermelon seeds, however, is the size of the seeds. If they aren’t soft enough, they can present a choking hazard for the bird. One way that you can make sure they are safe for your budgie to eat is by soaking them in water ahead of time to soften them and make them easier to swallow.
While watermelon seeds are fairly harmless, you should be wary of feeding your bird the watermelon rind. The rind tends to be coated with pesticides. You can mitigate any harmful pesticides by rinsing your watermelon before feeding it to your bird.
What Foods Should You Avoid Feeding Your Budgie?
While there are many foods that budgies and other birds can safely snack on, there are certain foods you should never give your feathered friend. In addition to apple and pear seeds, birds cannot eat stone fruit pits, avocado, onion, garlic, chocolate, candy, or really any human food that is laden with fat, sugar, or sodium. All cooked fruits and vegetables should be steamed or baked without oil or seasoning before you give them to your budgie.
Generally speaking, watermelon is a perfectly fine snack that even has nutritional benefits for your budgie. However, you need to make sure you only give your bird small amounts of this juicy fruit to avoid stomach problems. It’s a good idea to mix up the kinds of treats you feed your budgie; not only will a varied diet be more interesting for them, but it will provide the greatest nutritional benefit.
Featured Image Credit: Katerina Graghine, Shutterstock