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Can Cockatiels Eat Apples? What You Need to Know!

Cockatiel eating strawberry

In the wild, cockatiels naturally feed on a wide variety of fruit, and in captivity, they enjoy eating fruit too. Fresh fruit should make up around 20–25% of your bird’s diet because it provides them with essential vitamins, minerals, and hydration. But what about apples? Can cockatiels eat apples?

Yes! Apples are great snacks for cockatiels, and since apples are so readily available, they are ideal additions to your cockatiel’s daily fruit intake. That said, moderation is key, and cockatiels should not eat apple seeds because they can be potentially toxic.

In this article, we look at the potential health benefits of feeding apples to your cockatiel and a few concerns to be aware of. Let’s get started!

divider-birdsPotential health benefits of feeding apples to your cockatiel

Since cockatiels can benefit greatly from having fresh fruit in their daily diet and apples are so widely available and easy to find, it makes sense to feed apples to your cockatiel on a regular basis. Plus, they love them! Apples are packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients and have various potential health benefits for your cockatiel, including:

  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is great for your bird’s immune system, tissue repair, and cardiovascular system. While vitamin C is not essential in a parrot’s diet because they produce it themselves from glucose in their liver, it can be especially helpful for cockatiels with liver disease and issues with plumage.
  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for skin and kidney health in your cockatiel and for healthy reproduction. Deficiency in vitamin A results in high mortality rates among juveniles and unhatched eggs, and it can cause breathing difficulty and faded unhealthy feathers.
  • Vitamin B6. B vitamins, notably B6, which is found in fairly high amounts in apples, helps cockatiels handle illness and stress, especially during molting and mating.
  • Fiber is essential for healthy digestion in your parrot and can help maintain a healthy digestive tract and in turn, improve the absorption of minerals and vitamins.
  • Apples are rich in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and speed up your bird’s metabolism. It helps with bone health too.
  • Magnesium helps keep your bird’s bones, feathers, and beaks healthy and helps with muscle coordination and nerve impulses.

Apples are also low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They are almost 90% water, making them a great source of hydration for your feathered friend.

Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

Are there any dangers in giving apples to your cockatiel?

While apples are healthy snacks for cockatiels, there are a few potential concerns to be aware of. Firstly, a large portion of the calories in apples comes from sugars, and while these are “good” sugars that are healthy for your bird, they can still be dangerous in excess, potentially causing diabetes and stomach issues.

Apple seeds are also potentially dangerous to your bird and should always be removed from apples being given to your cockatiel. Apple seeds contain cyanide in small amounts, and while a few seeds shouldn’t pose a problem to your parrot, they are best avoided. Lastly, make sure to wash the apples thoroughly before giving them to your parrot, as they are a part of the “dirty dozen,” a list of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables.

How many apples are safe for a cockatiel?

Too much of any healthy food can quickly negate its positive effects, and apples are no different. While apples are great occasional snacks for your parrot, the high sugar content can quickly cause issues in excess, so moderation is key. In general, one small slice of apple every 2–3 days is enough for a cockatiel or even less for smaller birds.

apples on white background
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

What other fruits are safe for cockatiels?

Besides apples, there are a handful of other healthy fruits to give your cockatiel:

  • Berries
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Melon
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Mangos
  • Orange

No matter the fruit that you give your cockatiel, make sure to remove the pits and seeds, as these can be potentially toxic for your bird. Also, remember that moderation is key.

Foods to avoid feeding cockatiels

Now that you know what fruits are safe for your cockatiel, here are a few foods that you should avoid giving your cockatiel, even in small amounts, because they can make them ill or be fatal or at the very least, cause a decline in their overall health over time.

  • Chocolate and cocoa powder
  • Avocado
  • Caffeine
  • Refined sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Foods high in salt
  • Processed vegetable oils

divider-birdsFinal Thoughts

Apples are healthy, tasty snacks to give your cockatiel, and chances are high that they’ll love this sweet, watery fruit! Apples contain many healthy vitamins and minerals, and they have a high water content that is great for added hydration on hot days. Just be sure to remove the seeds because they are potentially toxic, and only give apples to your cockatiel in moderation — one slice every couple of days is ideal.

Featured Image Credit: michael sheehan, Shutterstock

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