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Can Parakeets Eat Broccoli? What You Need to Know!
If you have a pet parakeet, you know how wonderful these birds are to have around. Not only are they beautiful, but they are also intelligent and playful. Whether you’re a long-time parakeet owner, a newbie, or just someone who’s thinking of adding a feathered friend to your life, it’s essential to know what your parakeet can and cannot eat.
Besides not wanting to feed your pet something that could be toxic, it’s important to know what your parakeet can eat so you can help supplement the typical seed diet. This way, your bird is guaranteed to get all the vitamins and nutrients they need.
One food people often wonder if their parakeet can eat is broccoli — and the answer is yes! Broccoli is a great food for your bird that contains plenty of needed antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also high in fiber while being low in sugar and calories, making this vegetable a healthy addition to your parakeet’s diet. There are, however, certain things you should know before you give broccoli to your bird.
Can Parakeets Eat Raw Broccoli?
Parakeets absolutely CAN eat raw broccoli! In fact, they seem to be quite fond of it. You can also cook the broccoli if you prefer; just keep in mind that, as with most foods, by heating it, you’ll be depleting some of the nutrients your parakeet will get from it.
Can Parakeets Eat Broccoli Leaves and Stems?
You can feed the entirety of a piece of broccoli to your parakeet; it’s completely safe. Although, if you’d rather remove the leaves or stems, that’s fine as well. It’s entirely up to you!
How Will I Get My Parakeet to Eat Broccoli?
If you’re feeding your parakeet broccoli for the first time, they may be a bit cautious about trying it. Much like with introducing new foods to kids, though, there are ways to encourage your bird to give it a go.
The first few times you offer it, sprinkle some of your pet’s favorite seeds on it. You can also try giving them the broccoli when they are at their hungriest (before you feed them their actual meal, sort of like an appetizer). Also, try serving the broccoli in different ways — serve it whole, serve it raw, serve it cooked, serve it finely grated or ground up and mixed in another food they love.
Parakeets enjoy bathing on wet vegetables before eating them, so you can moisten the broccoli before giving it to them and see if that tempts them. Finally, if you have more than one parakeet in the home and one is being picky, the picky bird may be encouraged to try the broccoli when they see another eating it.
Do I Need to Take Any Precautions Before Giving My Parakeet Broccoli?
Although broccoli is not toxic to parakeets, there are a few things you should be careful of when feeding it to your pet.
The most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS wash the broccoli before feeding it to your bird. Unless you’re serving organic broccoli, chances are that pesticides or other chemicals were used in the growing of it, and those can be very bad for your parakeet. Simply wash them like you would wash off fruits and veggies for yourself, and you’ll be good.
Next, remember to always serve plain broccoli. When we eat broccoli, many of us like to spice it up a bit with oils or salts, etc. Obviously, you wouldn’t try to serve your parakeet broccoli with cheese on it. Still, if you’ve gotten in the habit of always throwing something on your own broccoli, you might accidentally forget not to do it when you’re feeding broccoli to your bird. So, just be careful!
Also, something to keep in mind is making sure you don’t overfeed your parakeet. While broccoli is low in bad stuff like calories and sugar and high in good things like vitamins and minerals, it doesn’t mean you can give your bird large quantities of it at a time. Giving your pet too much of anything can lead to nutritional imbalances. Veggies (and fruits) should only make up approximately 20-25% of your bird’s daily diet.
Finally, if your bird is trying broccoli for the first time, even if they do like it, go slowly to see how their body reacts to it. While they shouldn’t have any issues, all birds’ bodies are different.
What Other Vegetables Can Parakeets Eat?
You may be wondering what other veggies your parakeet can safely eat besides broccoli.
It is entirely safe for you to feed broccoli to your parakeet — just keep in mind you should wash before serving and should not season. Plus, make sure you aren’t overfeeding it to your bird. Besides broccoli, it’s crucial your parakeet is eating a well-rounded diet. Did you know that poor nutrition is one of the biggest reasons birds develop health issues?
So, what else should your parakeet be eating to cover all its nutritional needs? While a parakeet in the wild would eat many types of seeds, seed mixes bought in stores often contain little to no nutritional value and are high in fat. For pet parakeets, seeds should only be a small portion of their everyday diet.
Instead, many of your bird’s nutritional needs can be met with a pellet diet because these are designed with your pet’s nutritional needs in mind. Pellets ideally will make up 75-80% of your parakeet’s diet.
You can supplement pellets with fruits and veggies, making up approximately 20-25% of your bird’s diet. However, don’t serve fruit to your parakeet every day as fruit contains more sugar than vegetables. An important note — avocado is toxic and should NEVER be given to your bird. Also, good to know is that fruits and veggies can make your parakeet’s droppings more watery, so don’t worry if that occurs.
Finally, fresh water should be readily available for your parakeet all the time.
Featured Image Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.