Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Birds > Can Cockatiels Eat Bread? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Info

Can Cockatiels Eat Bread? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Info

PetKeen_Can Cockatiels Eat_bread

Vet approved

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cockatiels are playful, friendly, and social little birds. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to provide your bird with a balanced and nutritious diet.

If you’re wondering if cockatiels can eat bread, know that yes, they can safely consume certain types of bread, though it isn’t recommended as a dietary mainstay for them.

Cockatiels enjoy eating toasted bread because it is crunchy and dry. You can also feed whole wheat bread to birds because it contains whole grains and other nutrients. However, a cockatiel’s primary carbohydrate source should be commercial pellets or a pellet-and-seed mixture, not bread.

But how much bread is safe for your cockatiel? Which types of bread are ideal for your pet? Read on to find out more!


Giving Bread to Your Cockatiel

Cockatiels love to eat bread, especially toasted bread. They love that it is crunchy and dry. But does that mean the bird should eat bread as a snack as humans do? No.

Cockatiels should eat bread in limited quantities, probably once or twice a week. Why? Because bread is rich in carbohydrates. When your bird eats lots of carbohydrates, they may develop digestion problems.

In addition, bread is inherently unhealthy for cockatiels (even though it isn’t toxic in most cases) because bread expands whenever it is soaked. If your cockatiel drinks water after having some bread, it’ll likely expand in their crop. The result is a bird that’s too full to eat more, but one that didn’t get good quality nutrition.

Besides, bread has very little beneficial nutritional value for cockatiels. Conventional bread (also known as non-fortified bread), for example, is stripped of vitamins and minerals during production and processing. This means that the bread will fill the bird’s stomach without providing as much nutrition as a pellet would.

In addition, conventional bread features additives, preservatives, salt, and sugar, which can harm your pet bird. Here’s why.

  • Salt. Cockatiels are sensitive to salt. If it ingests too much salt from its diet, it can result in electrolyte upset and fluid imbalance. This then leads to dehydration, excessive thirst, kidney failure, and even death.
  • Sugar. Sugar is high in calories. Too much consumption of sugar leads to excessive weight gain and other health issues.
  • Fats. The consumption of fats in bread makes a cockatiel susceptible to high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and coronary artery disease.

Does all that mean you should give up the idea of feeding bread to your cockatiel for good? No, but you do need to look for higher-quality bread.

Feeding your cockatiels the wrong mixture of seeds can be dangerous to their health, so we recommend checking with an expert resource like The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels, available on Amazon.

The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels

This excellent book will help you balance your cockatiels’ food sources by understanding the value of different seed types, dietary supplements, fruits and vegetables, and cuttlebone. You’ll also find tips on everything from housing to health care!

Healthy Bread for Your Cockatiel

These breads are somewhat healthier for your bird.

  • Brown Bread. Ensure the bread you buy is free of preservatives and additives and isn’t expired. It can be served as-is or toasted.
  • Ezekiel Bread. This bread is also known as sprouted bread and is generally one of the healthiest options. However, it has a relatively short shelf-life (this can be circumvented by freezing the bread). However, you shouldn’t serve your cockatiel frozen bread. Therefore, toast this bread before offering them a morsel.
  • Banana Bread. Cockatiels love fruits, including bananas. Banana bread is a good option, but it’s often highly processed and contains additives. Therefore, be cautious about the quantity and ingredients, especially with store-bought banana bread.


Bread You Should Avoid Feeding Your Cockatiel

Image By: Couleur, Pixabay

If possible, avoid feeding these to your bird.

  • Rye Bread. Rye bread contains minerals, vitamins, and fiber properties that are health-boosting in humans. Unfortunately, it is dense and heavy for your bird to break down and digest. Therefore, should you feed it to your bird, limit the quantity and frequency.
  • Sourdough Bread. Sourdough bread is also beneficial to humans for its health properties. It contains more nutrients and vitamins because it is not overly processed. Sadly, the bread undergoes fermentation during production, which can be problematic for your pet. In addition, its sour taste may not appeal to your cockatiel.
  • Garlic Bread. Garlic bread can cause your bird negative health issues even in small doses. It contains toxic compounds that can result in digestive issues and hemolytic anemia. In addition, its high levels of butter and fat are not preferable for a cockatiel. Therefore, avoid feeding them garlic bread at all costs.

Giving Bread to Baby Cockatiels

It is okay to give adult cockatiels small pieces of bread as a snack. What’s not advisable is giving bread to baby cockatiels. They have very specific nutritional requirements that can’t be met by bread. They should be offered a formula specifically designed for them. They’re also often syringe-fed, and bread can’t be offered via a syringe.

So, should baby cockatiels eat bread? No, they should not.

Tips to Remember When Feeding Bread to Your Cockatiel

  • Feed the bird a low-sodium bread or one without salt.
  • Purchase a freshly baked loaf instead of a conventional loaf. Also, remember to check the included ingredients.
  • Have a dish of water for your bird to drink if they find the bread too dry.
  • Bread should never exceed 5% of the bird’s diet.


What’s the Cockatiel’s Ideal Diet?

Cockatiels Eating_Jolanta Beinarovica_Shutterstock
Image By: Jolanta Beinarovica, Shutterstock

It is clear that even though cockatiels can eat bread, it should only constitute 5% of their diet. How about the other 95%? Here is a breakdown of a cockatiel’s diet.

Pellets should be your cockatiel’s primary diet. They are nutritious and aid in the overall health of your pet. Seeds are also well-balanced and aligned with the cockatiel diet in the wild.

Fruits and vegetables are a great natural source of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. Cockatiels are picky, and you will need to experiment to find your bird’s favorite fruits. You can try berries, papaya, melon, or kiwi.

You can also include occasional protein sources like insects, mealworms, and lean meats. In addition, include nuts and clean water.

Foods to Avoid With Cockatiels

Here is a list of foods you should never feed your cockatiel.

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Rhubarb
  • Tomato leaves and stems



Yes, cockatiels can eat bread. However, it should only serve as a bird treat and shouldn’t be a mainstay in their diet, as it isn’t particularly healthy. The bread should be free of additives, such as sugar or salt.

Related Reads:

Featured Image Credit: jlkramer, Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets