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Home > Birds > Can Parakeets Eat Cabbage? Vet-Reviewed Facts & Info

Can Parakeets Eat Cabbage? Vet-Reviewed Facts & Info

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Dr. Luqman Javed

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If you have a parakeet, you know it can be difficult to provide them with a healthy diet. Parakeets like a lot of variety in their diet, but some of their favorite foods are not good for them. One food we get asked about frequently is cabbage. Luckily, cabbage is safe to feed your bird, but there are some things to consider before making cabbage a permanent part of its diet. Keep reading while we look at the nutritional benefits and potential dangers of feeding cabbage to your parakeet.


What Is a Parakeet?

A parakeet isn’t a specific type of parrot, but rather a term given to several small to medium-sized species of parrots with long tail feathers. The term parakeet isn’t a taxonomical reference to any genus or family of parrots; the parrots sometimes referred to as parakeets span multiple genera. Examples of parrots generally termed as parakeets include budgies, cockatiels, and ring-necked parrots.

2 Reasons Cabbage Is Good for Your Parakeet

1. Vitamins and Minerals

Your parakeet will get several vitamins and minerals from consuming cabbage, including vitamins B9, C, and K. It also has small amounts of calcium, potassium, and other minerals that will help your bird stay healthy. These vitamins will boost the immune system helping your pet fight off disease. They can also help bring out the color of your bird’s feathers and provide them with the energy they need to explore and play.

2. Moisture

The moisture found in cabbage leaves can help your bird stay hydrated and can prevent the onset of constipation. Birds often don’t drink enough water, and the heating systems found in many homes across the United States can dry out the skin and dehydrate your pet.

cabbage plants
Image By: Pixabay

leaves divider leaf

The Reason Cabbage Could Be Bad for Your Parakeet

Oxalic Acid

Oxalic acid is a chemical found in many leafy greens, and it can combine with calcium, preventing it from being absorbed by the body. Oxalate crystals can also be sharp and damage the body as they pass.  Oxalic acid is the main component in many kidney stones. Since parakeets require plenty of calcium, especially during the breeding season, it’s best to avoid foods high in oxalic acid. Cabbage is in the low category and should not harm your bird if eaten in moderation.

Yellow-gray cockatiel perched on a branch
Image By: Marlon Roth, Shutterstock

leaves divider leaf

How Should I Feed Cabbage to My Parakeet?

  • Before you feed any cabbage to your pet, we recommend taking your pet to a vet to make sure it’s not suffering from low calcium.
  • Purchase organic cabbage when you can, and always make sure it’s washed well to remove pesticides before giving it to your pet. Adding a small amount of baking soda to the wash water can help remove the harmful chemicals. Soak it for at least 20 minutes before serving it to your pet.
  • Feed only fresh cabbage to your bird. Don’t cut it until you are ready to use it to keep it for more than one week.
  • Cut the leaves into small, manageable pieces and give them to your parakeet. The cabbage, along with other vegetables, should only make up about 30% of your pet’s diet. 60% should come from a commercial parakeet food to ensure your pet is getting the best possible nutrition, and 10% should be treats, like fruit and seeds.
vet. examining parakeet
Image By: New Africa, Shutterstock

What if My Parakeet Doesn’t Like Cabbage?

If you are struggling to get your parakeet to eat cabbage, you can try to boil it in a pot until it gets soft. The heating will destroy many of the nutrients but will provide your bird with a different texture that it might prefer. Once your bird gets used to the boiled cabbage, you can try to serve it raw again to see if your bird is willing to eat it.

Chopping the cabbage into small pieces and mixing it in with its regular food is another great way to convince your bird to give it a try. If it works, you can continue to mix it in for a few days before giving it another try. Hand feeding can be another great way to get your parakeet to try out cabbage because it might see it as a game or treat.

Alternatives to Cabbage

If your parakeet won’t eat cabbage and you would like to provide it with a healthy alternative, several options are available, including kale, zucchini, asparagus, watercress, and more. It will also enjoy carrots, sweet corn, peas, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower. Many of these foods will provide your pet with plenty of vitamins and minerals to help them stay healthy and happy.

parakeet eating carrots
Image Credit: Piqsels



Cabbage is a great choice of vegetable to serve your parakeet. Though it contains some oxalic acid, it shouldn’t pose a problem unless your bird is already calcium deficient, or you feed more than 30% each day. Cabbage has plenty of helpful nutrients like vitamin C and calcium that will help your bird have strong bones and a strong immune system. We recommend serving it several times per week as part of a balanced diet.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide and found the answers you needed. If we have convinced you to add this inexpensive food to your pet’s diet, please share our look into the safety of feeding your parakeet cabbage on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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