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, ring-necked parrots, and nose-ringed parrots.
Parakeets are known to eat small seeds and nuts, and something parakeet owners may face is whether their parakeet can eat peanut butter. When we think of peanut butter, we generally associate it with nuts and other safe ingredients for pet birds. In general, parakeets can eat organic or pure peanut butter. However, it can be more complicated than that and this article will help you understand why.
Is Peanut Butter Safe for Parakeets?
Peanut butter is safe to feed to parakeets, but it is considered more of a luxury treat than a beneficial food source. Store bought peanut butter does not contain any minerals that your bird may be lacking in its staple diet, since parakeets primarily eat nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Peanut butter should rather be fed as a rare treat and should not be fed too frequently. In addition, you should only opt for organic or pure peanut butter. Processed peanut butter often includes additives which may be harmful for your parakeet’s health. In addition, caution is advised even with pure peanut butter, as it contains a high amount of fat, which can be harmful to your parakeet’s health.
In addition, peanut butter is not suited for every type of parakeet, and this is because age and health status play a role in what types of food they should eat.
What Types of Peanut Butter Can Parakeets Eat?
As mentioned before, you should only offer your parrot organic or pure peanut butter (with no additives). Often, this type of peanut butter has its oils separated from the butter itself. The crunchy type of peanut butter that contains small pieces of nuts is one of the better options. This allows your parakeet to eat the nuts and still enjoy the texture of regular peanut butter.
Smooth peanut butter is hard for a parakeet to pick up with their beaks, and they are typically only able to lick it up and get it stuck on their beak.
The Parakeet Diet
The ideal diet for a parakeet is a formulated diet (such as a pellet) forming the bulk of their diet (about 75%) with the rest of the diet consisting of fractions of vegetables, nuts and other protein sources, and a small serving of fruits. Due to their lower sugar content, true berries are preferred over other fruits.
Such a diet is appropriate for most pet birds, with the exception of some nectarivores (such as lorikeets and lories) and some species with a very exclusive diet (such as the Glossy Black Cockatoo).
Always consult with your exotic or avian veterinarian if you have any doubts about your bird’s diet.
Preparing Peanut Butter for Your Parakeet
Too much of any food can be harmful to your parakeet, and especially when it comes to peanut butter. This luxury treat should be fed sparingly, and no more than three times a month if approved by your avian veterinarian.
There is no special preparation required when it comes to feeding your parakeet peanut butter, but you typically do not want to feed anything more than the size of your pinkie nail. You can feed the peanut butter on a clean spoon to make it easier for your bird to eat.
Avoid flattening the peanut butter on the spoon as this makes it difficult for your parakeet to eat. While they are munching on the peanut butter, pieces can fall to the bottom of the cage or get stuck on perches. This should be thoroughly cleaned as it may attract ants to the cage or get ruffled in the bird’s feathers.
What Precautions Should You Take?
Peanut butter can easily lead to an obese pet bird if you cave into their demands for this treat. If your parakeet keeps begging for peanut butter, you should not offer them any, as they can quickly learn that persistent begging will eventually pay off.
Reasons to Avoid Non-Organic Peanut Butter
The average container of peanut butter has a short ingredients list. It’s typically peanuts, milk, stabilizers, and preservatives. Xylitol is a sweetener used to make peanut butter more appetizing to humans, but it has no place in a bird’s diet. It is also one ingredient you should avoid feeding your bird at all costs. This is because xylitol is toxic to birds, even in small amounts. It can cause long-term kidney damage, which is something bird owners want to avoid. In addition, parrots are lactose intolerant, and other stabilizers in peanut butter may also prove harmful for your parrot.
Parakeets will joyfully eat peanut butter and it is entertaining to watch as they lick and nibble their way through the blob of peanut butter. It is interesting to know that these pet birds can eat a delicacy found in your kitchen!
When fed appropriately, peanut butter can become a welcoming treat to parakeets. We hope that this article has helped you discover something new about the foods your parakeet can eat.
Featured Image Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya, Unsplash