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 popular addition to the world of parrot ownership, and they are best known for eating a diet consisting of seeds and vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
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 and 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 primarily a type of herbivore known as a granivore (seed eater), but many occasionally enjoy some animal by-products, such as eggs. In the wild, they mostly forage for seeds and vegetation. As pets, they are normally given a diet that is made up of 75% pellet food and 25% vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
Owners are also advised that a pellet diet isn’t considered complete for parrots, and they need additional food items offered to them. These include the aforementioned vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some fresh fruit, such as melons and berries.
Is Celery Good for Cockatiels?
Celery is a leafy green vegetable. Though the majority of this vegetable is water, it has trace amounts of vitamins and some minerals which are nonetheless useful for your bird’s health. Not only that, but offering celery (and other vegetables) also serves as enrichment for your bird, as they enjoy biting into differently textured foods.
Celery is not toxic, so it won’t poison your bird, and it can be fed within reason and in moderation.
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.
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!
How to Prepare It
It is best if you buy organic celery and ensure that it is thoroughly and fully washed before preparing it. Unwashed vegetables can have chemicals and pesticides 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 dense as some other foods, and the stringy fibers mean that it can take some time to prepare this light vegetable. Having variety in your cockatiel’s diet is always a good thing; they can sometimes get bored from eating the same thing on a daily basis.
Please note that although these foods are considered safe, they should only be offered in moderation and after a consultation with your exotic pet or avian veterinarian. Birds with some conditions cannot be offered foods that otherwise healthy birds can consume. For example, if your cockatiel has a thyroid issue, they likely can’t be offered broccoli, kale, lettuce, or spinach.
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. Seeds may also be deficient in some trace minerals depending on the type of soil they’re grown in.
Owners are often recommended to feed a pellet diet to their birds. Pellets consist of seeds and other ingredients and they are formulated to approximate the 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, but do have an interesting nutritional profile that requires daily supplements offered alongside a staple pellet diet.
It is safe to feed celery to cockatiels because it is not toxic and offers nutritional benefits to your cockatiel. The celery, including leaves, should be chopped into small pieces, and you may 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 the only vegetable you offer your cockatiel, as a varied diet that includes many other safe foods is not just recommended but considered mandatory by veterinarians.
Featured Image Credit by Murilo Mazzo, Shutterstock