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Home > Birds > Can Cockatoos Eat Carrots? Vet-Reviewed Nutritional Info You Need to Know!

Can Cockatoos Eat Carrots? Vet-Reviewed Nutritional Info You Need to Know!

can cockatoos eat carrots

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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.

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Caring for a bird is hard work, and that work goes far beyond cleaning their cage and spending time with them. You also need to do your research on what you can feed them and how to give them a balanced and nutritious diet.

Part of that nutritious diet can certainly be carrots! They’re extremely safe for your cockatoo, and they have tons of helpful nutrients. But what should you do when you’re feeding your cockatoo carrots, and how many carrots are too many?

We answer both those questions before diving into everything else that you need to know about a cockatoo’s diet in this comprehensive guide.

divider-birdsGiving Your Cockatoos Carrots

While you can give your cockatoo carrots, there are a few things that you should do first. Start by washing the carrots to remove any dirt, grime, or chemicals that might be on the outside. The skin of carrots is safe for cockatoos, and doesn’t have to be removed before offering them to your pet bird.

From there, simply cut the carrots up into smaller chunks so your cockatoo can pick them up with their beak and eat them without too much work. Some birds may prefer slightly larger chunks which they can hold in one of their claws. You have to experiment a bit to determine what your cockatoo prefers.

sliced carrots on the table
Image Credit: Piqsels

Ideal Cockatoo Diet

While it is safe to give carrots to your cockatoo, there is a limit to how much you should give them. Here is a quick run-down of the ideal cockatoo diet.

The vast majority of a cockatoo’s diet should be a high quality parrot pellet. While it can be challenging to introduce pellets to a cockatoo, they’re an essential part of their diet, and it’s what you need to do to keep them happy and healthy. However, no pellet has all the nutrition a parrot (including a cockatoo) needs for growth, maintenance, and reproduction. All parrots need their diet supplemented with other food items.

While about 75% of their diet should consist of pellets, the remaining 25% should consist of seeds, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Cockatoos are frugivores (fruit eaters) and granivores (seed eaters). As a rule of thumb, most fruits and vegetables are safe for cockatoos, with some exceptions. It’s still good practice to always check the safety of a food item before offering it to your cockatoo.

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Cockatoos

When you’re selecting fruits and veggies for your cockatoo, you want to do your best to mix things up. Different vegetables and fruits provide different nutrients for your feathered friend, so don’t stick with the same things over and over.

The best choices for your cockatoo include kale, mango, broccoli, papaya, peas, green beans, and tomatoes. There are plenty of other fruits and veggies that your cockatoo can safely handle, but if you’re unsure, always double-check before feeding them your bird.

sliced mango
Image Credit: Piqsels

The 3 Other Cockatoo Treats

While your cockatoo doesn’t necessarily need anything beyond pellets, fruits, and veggies, that doesn’t mean you can’t give them the occasional treat. Your cockatoo will undoubtedly appreciate something out of the ordinary.

Here, we highlighted three ideal snack options for your bird.

1. Popcorn

If you’re settling down for a movie night, why not give your cockatoo some popcorn for the show? Popcorn is a great treat for birds, but ensure that you’re not using a salted or buttered variety. You need completely plain popcorn to avoid any complications.

2. Seeds

While seeds might be high in fat, there’s no doubt that birds love them. As long as you’re not transitioning your bird off of a seed-based diet, there’s no harm to giving them seeds as occasional treats. Despite their high fat content, it is important to note that they’re still a vital part of your parrot’s diet and should be offered (in moderation) as part of their diet.

3. Millet

Many cockatoos (especially cockatiels) enjoy millet. Millet is a great treat for your parrot, and given its popularity with most parrots, it is also useful as a training food. With the correct form of reinforcement, many parrots quickly associate the task of performing a specific trick with some millet.

Image Credit: spline_x, Shutterstock


Fruits & Vegetables to Avoid Giving Your Cockatoo

While there are plenty of great fruits and vegetables to give your cockatoo, there are also a few that you should stay away from. Topping this list are avocados. Every part of an avocado is extremely toxic to birds, so whatever you do, you need to keep them away from your cockatoo.

Another vegetable you should avoid giving your cockatoo is rhubarb. All parts of the rhubarb plant are toxic for parrots and shouldn’t be offered to your cockatoo.

The 4 Other Foods to Avoid Giving Your Cockatoo

While there are plenty of foods that you can watch your cockatoo chow down on, there are also more than a few that you need to avoid. In addition to avocados, here are four more common foods that you need to keep far away from your cockatoo.

1. Chocolate

There are few foods as toxic to birds as chocolate. It actually has two different ingredients that can kill your cockatoo: caffeine and theobromine.

These two ingredients can cause your bird to develop diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and even death. Keep chocolate far away from your cockatoo.

chocolate bars piled up
Image Credit: Enotovyj, Pixabay

2. Additives

Additives such as sugar, spices, and salt are probably something that you don’t think about too often, but to your bird, even a little can be a big deal. Certain spices, such as onions and garlic, are extremely toxic for birds. Sugar and salt, on the other hand, lead to unwanted health complications.

3. Alcohol

As is the case for most pets, alcohol is not recommended for cockatoos in any amount. The ethanol found in alcohol is extremely toxic for pet birds, and alcohol poisoning is often fatal. Of importance is raw dough, as the yeast inside raw dough will lead to the production of ethanol (this is a normal chemical reaction in raw dough). Parrots should not be fed raw dough of any kind.

Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

4. Cheese

Birds aren’t mammals. One implication of this fact that often gets overlooked is that they don’t have the necessary enzymes to break down lactose.

All birds are extremely lactose intolerant, which means that any dairy products are a no-go. Ingestion of cheese can result in inflammation, blockages, bacterial and yeast infections, and other complications.

divider-birdsFinal Thoughts

The next time that you’re looking in your refrigerator or walking down the produce aisle in the store, feel free to grab a few carrots for your cockatoo. But don’t stop there. Grab other fruits and veggies for them to pick through, and watch them chow down the next time that you feed them!

While caring for a bird might be a ton of work, the love and affection that they give you when you’re properly taking care of them make it all worth it.

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Featured Image Credit: Vishnevskiy Vasily, Shutterstock

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