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Home > Birds > Can Cockatoos Eat Strawberries? Vet-Approved Nutritional Science & Info

Can Cockatoos Eat Strawberries? Vet-Approved Nutritional Science & Info

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Cockatoos are extremely popular pet birds due to their amazing ability to mimic human speech. However, many of us are still unsure how to provide our birds with the best possible diet.

One of the questions we get frequently is whether cockatoos can eat strawberries. The short answer is yes, they can, and as far as fruits are concerned, strawberries are one of the better options out there for your pet cockatoo. Keep reading while we look at the nutritional benefits as well as the dangers associated with feeding strawberries to your cockatoo.

As there are many parrots that are considered cockatoos, we’ll be specifically discussing the sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita); however, much of this information is transferable to most pet parrots.


Cockatoos & Strawberries

If they are washed properly, fresh, raw strawberries are not toxic for cockatoos. In addition to their safety of consumption, strawberries have the following nutritional composition:1

Nutritional Information of 100 Grams (3.5 Ounces) of Raw Strawberries
  • Water: 90.8 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrates: 7.96 g
  • Sugars: 4.86 g
  • Fat: 0.22 g
  • Protein: 0.64 g

As far as fruits are concerned, strawberries are among the best options for cockatoos. However, caution is advised when it comes to fruits and your cockatoo. Unlike their wild counterparts, pet parrots do not get enough exercise to justify a diet that’s high in sugar (this includes most fruit). Therefore, though strawberries are among the healthiest fruits out there, they should still comprise only a small portion of your pet’s diet as a whole.

In addition to a relatively low sugar content, strawberries also offer the following benefits.


Strawberries are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to help prevent and reverse oxidative damage to cells. Parrots have been known to suffer from oxidative stress when kept as pets 1. The antioxidant content of strawberries might be beneficial for cockatoos that are experiencing such internal stress.

Goitrogens & Oxalates

Strawberries are also very low in goitrogens (compounds which can cause thyroid problems in excess) and oxalates (compounds which minimize calcium absorption). These traits are most definitely desirable.

Beautiful White cockatoo parrot flying on flower field
Image Credit: Passakorn Umpornmaha, Shutterstock

Nutritional Downsides of Strawberries

Strawberries are not without their downsides.


Like other fruits, strawberries do contain some sugar; however, as mentioned above, they are relatively low in sugar when compared to other fruits. High amounts of sugar are undesirable in a pet cockatoo’s diet since they rarely get enough exercise to justify such a diet.


Another problem with strawberries is that they can often contain pesticides, and unlike many other fruits, there is no skin to peel off so you will need to ensure they are washed extremely well before feeding them to your pet. These birds’ small body size makes it more likely that they will suffer from any health problems that come from ingesting dangerous chemicals on fruits and vegetables. It is best to soak strawberries for at least 20 minutes in 4 cups of water with 4 tablespoons of baking soda mixed in to help remove the pesticides.


Like all fruits, strawberries have plenty of water, which isn’t a health risk in itself. However, it may lead to a diarrhea episode if consumed in excess.

washing strawberries
Image Credit: washing strawberries_Malikova Nina, Shutterstock


How Should I Feed Strawberries to My Pet?

  • Choose fresh ripe strawberries for your cockatoo. Your bird will prefer the same ones you would choose for yourself.
  • Make sure there are no blemishes on the fruit because strawberries deteriorate and grow mold in a matter of hours.
  • Wash the strawberries well and allow them to soak in a solution of water and baking soda for at least 20 minutes to remove the pesticides.
  • Rinse the strawberry well under cold water to remove the soaking solution and slice it into manageable pieces (if needed). Take note that some parrots prefer a slightly larger piece of fruit that they hold in a claw. Strawberries can be offered to your cockatoo whole if you find that this is the case.
  • As we mentioned earlier, strawberries can grow mold quickly and contaminate your pet’s enclosure cage, so you will need to remove any leftover fruit no more than 3 hours after serving it to your pet.
  • Watch your bird for several hours after feeding to see if they have a bad reaction.
  • If your cockatoo doesn’t have a bad reaction and appears to enjoy strawberries, you can continue to serve these small amounts as their fruit. You could serve it more often, but cockatoos prefer a varied diet, so it’s better to find other fruits that can complement this one.

Other Fruits

There are several other fruits you can feed your cockatoo to provide the variety they crave. Some of the fruits you can substitute include apples, bananas, pears, grapes, oranges, mangos, blueberries, pineapple, and melon. Each of these alternatives will also contain plenty of sugar, so they will be subject to the same rules and limits as the strawberry, but they allow you to give your pet something different each day which will help keep them happy and looking forward to their next meal. Fruits should not replace your pet’s mainstay diet (which is usually a pellet).


In Summary

Your cockatoo can eat strawberries, and they are not only healthy for your pet, but they will likely be one of your pet’s favorite foods. They are safe and nutritious in small amounts but can cause some problems in large amounts due to their sugar content. The largest danger comes from pesticides that can hide in the many nooks and crannies found on a strawberry. Therefore, they should be thoroughly washed before being offered to your pet.

Remember that strawberries aren’t the only fruit you should offer your pet; a varied diet is best for cockatoos. If you require more information about your pet’s diet, you should consult your exotic or avian veterinarian to formulate a meal plan for your pet.

Featured Image Credit: michael sheehan, Shutterstock

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