You just brought home a new cockatiel and you’re trying to figure out the best foods to feed it. You know your bird needs a good source of protein to stay healthy and you immediately think of eggs. Then you wonder, ‘Can I feed my bird eggs? Is that, gulp, some sort of forced infanticide?’ Cockatiels have a wide variety of foods they can eat, but are eggs one of them? The short answer is yes, cockatiels can eat eggs.
Can Cockatiels Eat Eggs?
Eggs are safe to feed to your bird and provide an excellent source of protein, minerals, and vitamins for your pet. Eggs should be fed in moderation as they can be high in fat, which is unhealthy for your bird. Feeding eggs to your cockatiel should be limited to about once per week. Also, to answer your other question, feeding your cockatiel eggs is not a form of forced infanticide. Many birds steal the eggs of other birds to eat in the wild during breeding or molting seasons because the eggs are a rich protein source. Breeding birds will sometimes eat their own cracked, non-viable, or damaged eggs to keep their nest clean and to recoup some of the energy they spent making and laying the egg.
What’s the Best Way to Prepare Eggs for My Cockatiel?
You might have to try preparing eggs a few different ways before your cockatiel will eat them. Chicken or quail eggs are fine to feed your bird and they are more readily available to the average shopper. Bear in mind that your bird is likely not going to eat the whole egg but will eat its yolk. You can try serving the egg raw (as long as it is pasteurized) to your bird as that is how they would typically eat an egg in the wild. Hard-boiled or soft-boiled are also options, but you will likely need to cut it up into smaller pieces for your bird to eat. You can also fry the egg, or prepare scrambled eggs, but do so only using a bird-safe oil, such as canola oil, and don’t use any spices in your preparation, as they will make your bird ill. You can feed the eggshells to your bird as well because they are an excellent source of calcium.
What Other Food Can Cockatiels Eat?
Here is a list of foods that are safe for your cockatiel to eat, in moderation:
What Foods Should Cockatiels Avoid?
Avocados are poisonous to all birds and should not be fed to your cockatiel. Onions and garlic are also toxic and should be avoided. Do not feed salt, caffeine, and chocolate to your cockatiel in order to keep them healthy. Alcohol should also be avoided as it will make your bird ill.
Hygiene of supplemental food offerings is very important to your cockatiel’s overall health. If you feed your bird any fruits or vegetables during the day, make sure to remove the leftovers at the end of the day to prevent mold and bacteria from growing and making your bird ill.
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!
Why Won’t My Cockatiel Eat?
Many mature cockatiels are used to their main diet being composed of seeds, but pellets are the best food source to feed them to keep them healthy. To help your bird switch its food, you will need to slowly wean them off the seed over the course of weeks or months. You can lower the amount of seed food offered and add a container of pellets to encourage the new diet. Many people mix the seeds and pellets and slowly reduce the seed mixture to gain bird acceptance.
As for fresh foods, you may have to experiment with various foods to figure out what your cockatiel likes to eat. This is normal behavior, but be patient, as it may take some time to figure out which foods your bird will reliably eat as part of their normal diet. Always make sure you provide your cockatiel with plenty of fresh water every day as part of a healthy diet.
Cockatiels will eat eggs as part of a protein-rich diet. You may have to experiment with different methods of preparation to determine how your bird likes its eggs: hard-boiled, scrambled, soft-boiled, or fried. Your cockatiel will likely not eat the whole egg but will eat until they are satiated.
Remember to also feed your bird a pellet diet, supplemented with fresh foods, such as broccoli, tomatoes, berries, and more. Your cockatiel may have some trouble with sudden changes to their diet, so start slowly and be patient when offering new foods to your pet. And don’t forget that feeding an egg to your bird is not forced infanticide because birds eat eggs in the wild as a great protein source!
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Featured Image Credit: Rasa Kasparaviciene, Unsplash