The cockatiel is a small parrot that has proven a very popular pet for its fun attitude and its loving demeanor. They are considered a good introduction to the world of parrot ownership, and while they are best known for eating a diet consisting of seeds and vegetables, they are omnivorous. They can thrive on a diet that includes occasional meat treats, such as insects.
Because cockatiels tend to eat a lot of vegetables, a lot of owners question whether it is OK, or even beneficial, to feed their cockatiel celery.
Celery is considered safe to feed cockatiels but it is made up primarily of water so is not considered to provide much nutritional benefit so it should not be a regular or major part of your bird’s diet. Read on to find out the best way to feed this vegetable, and for a list of some healthier alternatives that you can feed your feathered friend.
Cockatiels are omnivores. They eat a combination of meat and plant matter. Specifically, they tend to eat the foliage, leaves, and seeds of plants and vegetables. In the wild, they would eat nuts, legumes, flowers, and pods. In captivity, they are normally given a diet that is made up of 75% pelleted food and 25% seeds.
Owners are also advised to give a selection of leafy greens three times a week, along with some fresh fruit such as melon and berries.
Is Celery Good For Cockatiels?
Celery is not a leafy green vegetable. Nor is it a fruit or a seed, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t give some to your bird now and then. What’s more, while it is not as packed full of vitamins and minerals as other vegetables, it does contain vitamin A and this is good for the health and condition of your cockatiel’s feathers. It also contains vitamins C, K, and folic acid. These can prevent feather plucking, help blood coagulate efficiently, and maintain the cockatiel’s metabolism, respectively.
Celery is not toxic, so it won’t poison your bird, and it can be fed within reason and in moderation.
How To Prepare It
Celery is a stringy vegetable and these fibers can cause a blockage in the digestive system. Remove the stringy bits you see. The vegetable is also quite tough and if you attempt to feed it whole, it is unlikely that your cockatiel will be able to make an indent on the tough exterior of the stalk.
Ensure you buy organic celery, or ensure that it is thoroughly and fully washed before preparing it. Non-organic vegetables can have chemicals on them that are toxic to birds. Washing will get rid of the majority of these, which is especially important with something like celery that you do not peel.
Chop the vegetable into small pieces, so that the bird can easily pick them up and eat them. Remove excess stringy bits and feed.
What About The Leaves?
When feeding celery, you can include the leaves, but these will need the same washing and cleaning treatment as the stalk, to ensure that they are free from chemicals and pesticides.
Fruits And Vegetables To Feed Your Cockatiel
Celery is not as nutritionally beneficial as other foods, and the stringy fibers mean that it can take some time to prepare this light vegetable. Your bird will get more benefit from dark, leafy greens, than from lighter vegetables that usually have higher water content. They can also get some much-needed vitamins from certain fruits. Foods that are considered healthy for your cockatiel include:
Seeds vs Pellets
Most birds will readily take to an all-seed diet, but your cockatiel doesn’t necessarily know what’s best.
Feeding seeds alone means that you have to take a lot of care to ensure that you are giving an appropriate amount of different vitamins and minerals. Also, some cockatiels will pick out their favorite seeds and leave behind those they aren’t keen on, which means that no matter how carefully you select the ingredients, your bird could still be missing out. Seeds are also high in fat and by feeding just these foods, you can cause your cockatiel to put on too much weight and even become obese.
Owners are often recommended to feed a pellet diet to their birds. Pellets consist of seeds and other ingredients and they are formulated to match the exact requirements of your pet. Check that the pellets you buy are free from artificial ingredients and that they use good-quality ingredients to ensure that they offer the best diet.
It is also worth noting that if your cockatiel is already eating a purely-seed diet, it will be difficult to convert them over to a combination or strict pellet diet. You will find that some birds will starve themselves, rather than eat the pellets you have put out. Consult your veterinarian before attempting to make the switch, and make the change gradually by moving to a combination of the two and then to a pellet-based diet.
Can Cockatiels Eat Celery?
Cockatiels make great pets. They are a small parrot that forms a close bond with its owner. It is a fun bird that is not only happy to hop on your finger, but it will also enjoy spending time with you. When not on your hand, it will enjoy playing with mirrors, ropes, ladders, and other toys, and very occasionally, you will find a cockatiel that can learn a few words with repetition. If yours does not learn to talk, it will still usually have a cheerful little whistle that it will use around you.
It is safe to feed celery to cockatiels because it is not toxic to the bird, but you should buy organic or wash it thoroughly to remove any unwanted chemicals and pesticides. The celery, including leaves, should be chopped into small pieces, and you also have to remove as many of the stringy fibers as you can to make it more palatable. While celery is safe, it should not be a regular addition to your bird’s diet and only an occasional supplement for a pellet-based diet.
Featured Image Credit by Murilo Mazzo, Shutterstock