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Can Conures Eat Oranges? Everything You Need to Know!

Kathryn Copeland

Conures are such beautiful little birds, and you’ve probably been feeding yours a variety of different fruits over the course of their life. However, you probably also know that while most fruit is a healthy snack for your parrot, what about specific fruit, like the orange? We all know that oranges are good for us, but what about our conures?

Oranges are safe and healthy treats for your conure, but only in moderation. As beneficial as oranges are, they are also highly acidic and high in sugar, and too much of an orange could negatively impact your conure’s health.

If you would like to learn more, read on because we get more in-depth into the health benefits of oranges and what might happen if you give your conure too much of them.

divider-birds

A Conure’s Diet

Before we get into the good and bad of oranges for conures, let’s look at the typical diet for these small parrots.

In the wild, conures eat various nuts, seeds, berries, fruits, and vegetation and the occasional insect and larva. They feed primarily in the treetops.

In captivity, most conures eat a pellet diet and extra fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Pellets typically make up about 75% to 80% of the conure’s diet. They are comprised of a variety of food (veggies, fruit, grains, and corn), along with vitamins and minerals compressed into pellet form.

Black-capped,Conure,Bird,Inside,A,Cage
Image Credit: Khairil Azhar Junos, Shutterstock

The rest of the diet is generally fresh vegetables, and while fruit should be a part of the diet, they should only make up a small portion and just once per day.

Healthy vegetables for conures includes:

  • Zucchini
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Watercress
golden conure eating
Image Credit: Lucas Correa Pacheco, Shutterstock

The best fruit includes:

  • Apricots
  • Papayas
  • Mangos
  • Pears
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Kiwi
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges

Let’s look now at the orange and the many health benefits that it offers.

A Little Bit About the Orange

Oranges might be the fifth most popular fruit in the world (behind tomatoes, bananas, watermelons, and apples), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the best! (Of course, that’s subjective.)

Oranges are grown on trees in tropical areas, specifically South Africa, Australia, the Mediterranean, and probably most famously, Florida.

Every orange (including the different kinds like navel, Cara Cara, and mandarins) actually contains more than 100% of the recommended amount of vitamin C a day! They are also full of vitamin A, calcium, thiamine, folate, fiber, and antioxidants.

mandarin orange
Image Credit: Pixabay

Health Benefits of the Orange

Oranges are full of all kinds of goodness, but what are the actual health benefits?

Vitamin C

  • Helps prevent anemia because it helps absorb iron
  • Helps prevent vision loss, particularly cataracts
  • Supports heart health and lowers blood pressure
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Assists in healing wounds
  • Acts as a cancer preventative

Fiber

  • Assists with heart health by keeping the cholesterol levels low
  • Aids in your conure’s digestion
  • Helps keep the bowels healthy
golden conure
Image Credit: Wagner Campelo, Shutterstock

Calcium

  • Contributes to strong bones
  • Makes muscles and organs strong

Citric acid and citrates

  • Helps prevent kidney stones
  • Aids in digestion
  • Can help improve skin
golden conure
Image Credit: Tupungato, Shutterstock

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is also an antioxidant and is a fat-soluble vitamin.

  • Helps repair and grow body tissues
  • Assists in the healthy functioning of your conure’s skin, bones, eyes, hearing, and mucus membranes
  • Helps support the immune system

That is many health benefits in this small, orange fruit! However, there are a few disadvantages of oranges.

Problems With Oranges

Oranges are definitely healthy snacks for your conure, but what happens if your conure eats too many?

While the health risks are few, they can still make your conure feel uncomfortable.

peeled mandarin oranges in a cup
Image Credit: Pixabay

Digestive Problems

Oranges are full of fiber, so too many oranges can also mean too much fiber, which can potentially cause:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

Too much fiber can also lead to deficiencies in other nutrients, such as calcium, iron, and zinc, because it can affect how they are absorbed by your conure. Additionally, fiber can make your bird feel fuller, which can mean that they will not want to eat anything else, and you don’t want your conure to only eat oranges.

Too much vitamin C can have the same effects as too much fiber: digestive upset, nausea, cramping, diarrhea, etc.

sun conure pair
Image Credit: rutpratheep0, Pixabay

High Acidity

Oranges are high in citric acid, which is also known to cause heartburn in people. For your conure, too much citric acid can irritate the stomach, which could cause an upset stomach and watery stool.

High Sugar

Lastly, oranges are high in sugar, which is also known as fructose, and while it’s natural, it is still sugar. Just like with people, too much sugar can potentially cause your conure to gain weight, and there might be an increase in blood sugar levels. It can also potentially cause stomach upset and might be hard to digest.

Of course, all these health problems can be avoided by not feeding your conure too many oranges.

What About the Orange Peel?

Conures can eat the orange peel, but just be aware that most oranges have pesticides and chemicals on the peel. If you mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 cups of water, you can soak the orange for 15 minutes, which should remove most of the pesticides. Or, you can just peel the orange before giving it to your conure.

Orange Peels
Image Credit esudroff, Pixabay

How Much Orange?

Oranges should be considered a treat, and you shouldn’t feed your conure more than one segment of orange every week. You’ll want to give your bird a variety of different fruit throughout the week, so the orange shouldn’t be given more than once or twice a week.

Give your conure a small amount of orange if it’s the first time that you’ve given it to your bird. It’s best to wash the peel before you actually peel it as you don’t want to transfer any of the pesticides to the orange itself. Also, cut the orange up into smaller pieces.

divider-birds

Conclusion

Oranges are a safe and healthy snack for your conure. A small amount of freshly squeezed orange juice is also acceptable. Avoid commercial orange juice, though, because it can be full of additives and preservatives.

Remember to just give a small segment of an orange once or twice a week, as you don’t want to see your conure with an upset stomach or refuse to eat any other food. Your parrot’s health is entirely dependent on a varied diet.

If you’re ever in doubt about your conure’s health or diet, speak to your avian vet. Just keep doing your research before you give your pet anything new to eat. This way, you’ll have your conure around for many years to come!


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Kathryn Copeland

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.