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Can Cockatiels Eat Almonds? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Almond nuts are healthy and nutritious for humans. These nuts are rich in fats, protein, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E. They help lower cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, promote weight loss, and reduce blood pressure.

As a cockatiel owner, you must wonder if the same benefits apply to your pet. Can cockatiels eat almonds? Yes, they can. Almonds add beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to your bird’s diet.

Here is everything you need to know.

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A Cockatiel’s Diet

blue cockatiel eating
Image Credit: Ines Porada, Shutterstock

The primary diet of a cockatiel should feature a blend of 75% pellets and 25% seeds. Your feathery friend also needs to consume leafy greens and fresh vegetables. However, these should not exceed 20% of their diet. In addition, include fresh fruits and clean water daily.

What about almonds? Nuts are a special treat for cockatiel and should constitute 10% of the bird’s diet.

Are Almonds Safe for Cockatiels?

Almonds have a great taste and are a delightful treat for cockatiels. They are safe to feed your pet but in moderation.

Nutritional Benefits of Almonds for Cockatiels

almonds
Image Credit: HVesna, Pixabay

Almonds are high in fat, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates, which makes them highly nutritious. One ounce of almonds contains 161 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, and 2.5 grams of carbohydrates.

The nuts are also rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin B2, Manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.

  • Proteins – Cockatiels need protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissues. It also helps with the formation of blood, healing wounds, production of hormones, and improved immune system support.
  • Since almonds are rich in protein, they provide energy for your bird, promote feather growth, and repair injured tissues.
  • Vitamin E – This fat-soluble vitamin helps maintain healthy cells and overall immune support. Vitamin E also improves how your bird responds to stress.
  • Vitamin B2 – Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, helps the cockatiel’s body convert carbohydrates into glucose. Lack of this vitamin can result in curled toe paralysis and deformity.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium improves your bird’s energy levels and lowers blood pressure. It also helps your pet cope with stress, particularly during molting. However, too much magnesium can be harmful to your cockatiel.
  • Manganese – Manganese found in almonds helps with metabolism, growth, reproduction, and clotting in birds.
  • Copper – Copper aids in the absorption of iron, maintains healthy bones, and improves immune support. In addition, it strengthens your bird’s skeletal support.
  • Phosphorous – Your cockatiel needs phosphorous for the normal development of bones and storage of energy. However, consuming too much prevents the absorption of calcium.
  • Fats – These nuts contain healthy and not-so-healthy fats. Overconsumption of fats can lead to increased weight gain for your bird. Therefore, serve them as an occasional treat. With that in mind, how many almonds are safe for your cockatiel?

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How Many Almonds Should a Cockatiel Eat?

Even though almonds are safe for your cockatiel, you should serve them in moderation. An almond may appear tiny from a human’s perspective, but it has all the nutrients that your little feathered friend requires.

To illustrate this better, when a cockatiel eats one grape, it is equivalent to human eating over 360 grapes. The same applies to almonds. One small-sized almond is healthy for your small-sized pet.

Therefore, offer one or two grams of almonds a day. Keep in mind that these nuts should only constitute 10% of your bird’s diet.

Alternatively, you can cancel the daily serving and offer the nuts as a treat, once or twice a week.

How to Feed Almonds to Your Cockatiel

Almonds have a hard shell that conceals the nutritious nut. So, when feeding your cockatiel, crack the nut and throw away the hard shell. Then, check that the nut is fresh but do not clean it.

Almonds have a brown outer skin that’s safe for your cockatiel. But not all birds are willing to try it. If your pet is a picky eater, you can remove this skin to reveal the white nut. You can also crush the almond into tiny, manageable pieces to make it more appealing for your pet.

What if your cockatiel does not touch the almonds despite your efforts? Try adding crushed nuts to your bird’s seed or pellet diet. Alternatively, add the chopped nuts to the fruits and vegetable mix.

Risks of Giving Almonds to Your Cockatiel

As great as almonds are, they still pose these risks for your cockatiel.

  • Choking – Almonds look tiny to humans but large for a cockatiel. Therefore, you should crush the nut into small pieces so your bird can swallow easily. Large sizes can choke an adult cockatiel!
  • Copper Is Toxic to Birds – Almonds are rich in copper, a potentially toxic component to birds. For this reason, it’s best to limit almonds intake to prevent your cockatiel from consuming too much.
  • Some Anti-nutrients Prevent the Absorption of Minerals – Almond shells contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid, which binds certain minerals to prevent absorption. This limits the amounts of calcium, iron, and zinc that your pet would enjoy. Therefore, remove the shells or dry roast them to lessen these anti-nutrients.
  • Salted Almonds Are Dangerous – You probably enjoy salted or seasoned almonds because they are tastier. However, salt is not tolerable for cockatiels. It can upset the bird’s electrolyte and fluid balance, cause dehydration, kidney failure, or death. Due to these reasons, it would be best to choose unsalted almonds.
  • Moldy Almonds Are Toxic – When almonds are stored in a moist area, they are likely to grow fungus and molds. Feeding moldy nuts to your cockatiel can be toxic.

For this reason, always store your nuts in a cool, dry area. Also, when you break the hard outer shell, confirm that the nut is fresh.

Which Other Nuts Can Cockatiels Eat?

Cockatiels can eat a variety of nuts as long as they are unsalted and human-grade. They include:

  • Cashew nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Beechnuts
  • Coconuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pecan nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Palm nuts
  • Gum nuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pili nuts

These nuts are highly nutritious but should be served in small proportions.divider-birdcage

Conclusion

Cockatiels can eat almonds. These nuts add nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to the bird’s diet. However, they should be offered in moderation. One almond or two are all your pet needs daily. Consuming too much can result in health problems.


Featured Image Credit: Remi Yuan, unsplash

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.