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Can Cockatiels Eat Potatoes? What You Need To Know!

Genevieve Dugal

Cockatiels, with their adorable mohawk and orange cheeks, are a hit with bird lovers. However, these entertaining little birds have very specific needs, especially when it comes to their diet. You can’t just give them seeds to eat; these little winged creatures need pellets, fresh vegetables and fruits, and a few treats here and there.

Are potatoes one of the foods you can feed your cockatiel? The simple answer is yes, but only baked potatoes. Another important question is why would you want to give potatoes to your bird? Are there any benefits to this food? This is what you will find out in the rest of this article.

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Why Shouldn’t You Give Your Bird Raw Potatoes?

Raw potato is strongly discouraged when it comes to feeding birds, and not only in cockatiel. It contains a toxic alkaloid, solanine, which is responsible for digestive disorders. Baked white potatoes are okay, but they don’t really have many nutritional benefits to offer your bird. However, there is another potato option that could provide more for your pet: the sweet potato.

potatoes on the ground
Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay

Is It Useful to Feed Your Cockatiel Potatoes?

Potatoes are filled with fibers, carbohydrates, starch, and B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6). Vitamin B1 plays an essential role in nerve transmission and participates in the transformation of carbohydrates into energy. The potato also contains vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system. In addition, potassium, iron, and magnesium are minerals present in respectable amounts in this succulent tuber.

All of these excellent benefits paint an exciting dietary profile for the famous potato, don’t they? Yes, but only if you are a human! Unfortunately, there is not enough scientific data to justify the benefits of giving potatoes to your bird. But, on the other hand, the sweet potato is a much more beneficial vegetable to give to your small, feathered pet. Why? Because it contains a lot of vitamin A, and cockatiels have high requirements for this particular vitamin.

Other vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A are peppers, carrots, and tomatoes; these are all great foods to feed your bird but in small amounts. Vegetables and fruits should only make up 30% of your cockatiel’s diet. The remaining 70% should be almost exclusively made up of formulated pellets specially designed for your bird. This type of food is nutritionally complete and covers most of the dietary needs of the cockatiel.

Cinnamon cockatiel_Shutterstock_rainyclub
Image Credit: rainyclub, Shutterstock

What Foods Should You Avoid Giving Your Cockatiel?

French fries are a big no-no since they contain a large amount of salt. Avocados, onions, garlic, chocolate, and caffeine should also be avoided. You can give your cockatiel table scraps, but remember the golden rule: if it’s unhealthy for you, it definitely is more unhealthy for your little bird! If in doubt, seek advice from your veterinarian before feeding your bird new food. In addition, you will have to follow some basic hygienic rules: when your bird stops eating, pick up any leftovers. This will prevent the growth of mold and the invasion of fruit flies and bacteria in the cage.

How to Feed Your Cockatiel Fresh Food?

If you want to change part of your cockatiel diet to offer her fresh fruits and vegetables, do so gradually so as not to disturb her digestive system. Start by adding small portions of fresh food to her pellet mix, or if your cockatiel is used to snacking with you, offer her some sweet potato to get her taste buds used to it.

cockatiel in cage
Image Credit: Simona Robová, Pixabay

In addition, your cockatiel must have food available at all times. Indeed, she should not go without food for more than 24 hours at a time. You must install several departures; the number will vary depending on how many birds live in the cage. You can reserve a feeder for pellets and another for fresh food.

In addition, you must have a water drinker next to the feeder so that your cockatiel can quench its thirst when she wants. You should change the water daily and clean the device regularly.

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Final Thoughts

Cockatiels are adorable, entertaining, cheerful, affectionate, and charming pet birds. It is a real privilege to have the opportunity to raise such creatures in your household. In addition, they can live for 20 years, which makes them long-term companions.

This is why you absolutely must educate yourself on their needs, especially in relation to their diet. Unfortunately, too many exotic birds are raised in poor conditions, not because their owners do not care for them, but rather because they do not know their exact needs. If you found this article because you wanted to feed your cockatiel potatoes and were unsure whether it was correct or not, this is great. Now you know that baked white potatoes are okay, but there are better options for feeding your beautiful little bird.


Featured Image Credit: Holger Langmaier, Pixabay

Genevieve Dugal

Genevieve is a biologist and science writer. Her deep love for capuchin monkeys, pumas, and kangaroos has taken her worldwide to work and volunteer for several wildlife rehabilitation centers in Bolivia, Guatemala, Canada, and Australia. As a Canadian expat, Genevieve now lives in Argentina, where she wakes up every morning to horses and cows saying hello from the vast plain next to her home office window. She is the proud mom of three rescued dogs, Lemmy, Nala, and Pochi, and a frisky kitten, Furiosa. Having the privilege of sharing her knowledge and passion for animals of all kinds is what makes her fulfilled and happy.