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Can Cockatiels Eat Bananas? What You Need to Know
Cockatiels require a small amount of fruit as part of their regular diet. These fruits should be varied to ensure that the bird consumes a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. So, what about bananas? Not only can cockatiels eat bananas – in moderation – these birds usually love them. They are rich in minerals and make a healthy snack, though they should be just that – a snack.
Out of all the fruits available out there, bananas probably require the least preparation. Cockatiels can quickly eat small amounts of peeled bananas. No cutting or prep is required! In many cases, these birds will also have a fun time eating the peel, which is often more of a long-term snack.
Are Bananas Poisonous to Birds?
No, bananas are not toxic to most birds – including cockatiels. They are entirely safe for them to eat in moderation. However, like fruits, they are somewhat high in sugar. Therefore, you shouldn’t provide them in high amounts.
The peel is not toxic either – and you don’t have to worry about seeds because bananas don’t have them!
Bananas are more accessible fruits to feed to birds since they require very little prep. You don’t have to cook, cut, or specially prepare bananas!
What Parts of the Banana Can Cockatiels Eat?
Cockatiels can eat both the soft, inner fruit and the peel of the banana. Both of these are nutrient-dense and non-toxic. They don’t provide everything the bird needs to thrive, but each piece can be used to supplement your bird’s diet.
It is essential to remember that bananas are rich in sugar. While a little bit of sugar is okay for us, it should be avoided for our birds. They are much smaller and can be overwhelmed by a small amount of sugar much easier than we can.
You don’t want your cockatiel receiving tons of calories from sugar!
You can provide both the fruit and skin in small amounts. Most cockatiels prefer the fruit, and this is where most of the nutrients are. However, the skin is entirely harmless and can also provide some extra nutrition.
How Much Banana Can a Cockatiel Eat?
We recommend using bananas as part of the bird’s regular fruit intake.
However, a cockatiel’s fruit and veggie intake should only take up 20% of their diet. The rest should be made up of high-quality pellets specifically formulated to meet this species’ needs.
Can Cockatiels Eat Dried Bananas?
We don’t recommend it. Dried fruits really shouldn’t be counted in the fruit category. They’re much more like candy – though a healthier type of candy than actual candy.
On the one hand, dried fruit contains 3.5 times the number of vitamins and minerals than hydrated fruit. This fact is because it is missing most of the water content. They are also higher in fiber and antioxidants by weight. Again, due to the lower level of water.
However, dried fruits are also very high in sugar. They have been concentrated and much of the water content removed. This sugar is the last thing that your cockatiel needs.
A dried banana’s calories almost come exclusively from sugar.
Cockatiels may also have a more challenging time eating banana chips and other dried banana products. They are often hard and a bit chewy.
Whole, hydrated bananas are a much better option. Your cockatiel likely won’t be harmed from eating a small number of dried bananas, but we wouldn’t recommend it in the least.
Things to Avoid When Feeding Cockatiels Bananas
If you decide to provide your cockatiel with a sweet banana snack, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Bananas may be healthy and nutritious, but they can overeat them as well.
We highly recommend keeping these three points in mind:
1. Keep Portions Very Small
You should keep portion sizes exceedingly small. Bananas should only be a portion of your bird’s fruit and veggie intake – and that intake should only make up about 20% of their diet. Usually, that looks like a piece or two of banana a week.
Bananas should not be a staple in your bird’s diet.
Too many bananas can lead to a higher sugar intake, leading to health conditions and obesity. You don’t want your cockatiel filling up on sugar and missing out on nutrients from their regular diet.
Many people don’t understand how little just one-fifth of a bird’s diet is.
2. Don’t Feed Too Many Peels
Peels are safe for parrots to eat in moderation. However, that doesn’t mean that you should allow your cockatiel to consume massive amounts of peels, though.
We do recommend only feeding a small number of peels. You want to feed your cockatiel mostly peeled banana. Nibbling in small amounts is fine, but we don’t recommend anything beyond that.
Banana peels are technically safe, but they aren’t the best option for your cockatiel.
3. Processed Bananas
You should avoid processed bananas. Everything we’ve discussed so far has been about fresh bananas. Processed bananas are a completely different beast. Often, they include added ingredients that aren’t necessarily good for your cockatiel.
Banana chips fall into this category, but so do other processed foods. Generally, processed foods aren’t going to be toxic, but they aren’t helpful either. A piece or two should be fine – but any more than that could potentially be harmful.
Of course, you should always check the ingredient list for anything potentially toxic. A lot of the things we eat are not appropriate for cockatiels.
Cockatiels can eat bananas in moderation. They’re an excellent snack to use as part of the fruit portion of their diet. However, they should eat relatively little fruit compared to pellets since fruits contain a lot of sugar and aren’t nutritionally balanced.
At the same time, they should also eat relatively little bananas in comparison to other fruits. You don’t want your cockatiel only to eat bananas.
They need a varied diet to remain healthy. You should offer other fruits alongside bananas and keep the general portion of each very tiny.
Featured Image Credit: t_watanabe, Pixabay
Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!