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Can Parrots Eat Almonds? What You Need to Know!
Seed mixes and nuts are common treats for captive parrots of all sizes, and many parrot species may even have access to nuts in their natural habitat. Nuts are a great source of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats for parrots in the wild, and it makes sense to give your pet parrot access to these beneficial nutrients too. But what about almonds? Are almonds safe to give to your parrot?
The answer is yes, almonds are a great treat to give to your parrot! As with any nuts, though, almonds should only be given in moderation due to their high-fat content. Raw or roasted almonds are great treats for your parrot and may even have great health benefits.
In this article, we look at the potential health benefits of giving almonds to your parrot and a few concerns to be aware of. Let’s dive in!
All about almonds
The almond tree is native to Iran and a few of its surrounding countries and has been cultivated since as early as 3000 B.C. While they are often referred to as nuts, almonds are not actually nuts in the true sense of the word. They are the drupe seeds of the fruit of the almond tree. Similar to other drupes, like peaches and plums, almond fruit has a fleshy exterior with a pit containing the almond seed inside.
Almonds are popular in the health food world and can be used raw, roasted, and soaked. They can even be used to make delicious vegan milk.
Potential health benefits of giving almonds to your parrots
Since raw almonds are among the most nutrient-dense nuts around, they can have various potential health benefits for your parrot. The main benefit of almond nuts is their high amount of protein. Parrots are omnivores and as such, need their diet to consist of around 10–20% protein, which in the wild, can come from a variety of sources, including nuts, seeds, and occasional insects. Protein is the primary building block for healthy muscles and tissues, provides your parrot with energy, and can help improve cardiovascular health.
Almonds are also high in fiber, essential for your parrot’s gut health and digestion, and calcium, which is vital for blood health, the transmission of nerve impulses, and muscle contraction.
Are almonds dangerous for parrots?
For the most part, almonds are perfectly safe to feed your parrot. However, moderation is key because almonds are high in fat, too much of which can cause obesity and several other health issues for your parrot. Also, while raw or roasted nuts are best, even these may have additional flavors, preservatives, or added oils, so be sure to carefully read the ingredient list and make sure the nuts that you feed your parrot are completely raw and unflavored.
Lastly, there are actually two varieties of almonds: sweet and bitter almonds. Bitter almonds are toxic to parrots when eaten raw because they contain glycoside amygdalin, or cyanide, which can easily be fatal. Luckily, this species of almond is banned in the United States, so you are unlikely to come across them.
How should you feed almonds to your parrot?
For large parrots such as African Greys or Macaws, one or two raw, unflavored almonds per day is plenty. This will be enough to give them the health benefits without too much worry about excess fat intake. Smaller birds will naturally need fewer, but for any parrot, a limit of two almonds per day is ideal.
Raw almonds are best, but your parrot will likely enjoy roasted almonds too, although they will be less nutrient-dense than raw almonds. Some large parrots will enjoy almonds in their shell, as they can crack them open with their powerful beaks, but shelled almonds are best for most parrots. Chopping almonds up is a great idea to prevent any choking hazard, and you can mix them in with their pellets or seed mix as a treat. For smaller or older parrots, soaking almonds overnight will soften them a bit, making them far easier to eat.
Other nuts to give your parrot
Various nuts are good for parrots and easy to find, and your parrot will love them! Most nuts are fairly high in fat, though, so they should be given in moderation only. Also, all nuts should preferably be raw, unsalted, and unflavored. Other nuts that are safe to give to your parrot include:
Parrots can most certainly safely eat almonds, and they’ll love them too! Almonds have several potential health benefits for your parrot, including being packed with essential nutrients like protein, calcium, and fiber. As with any nuts, though, moderation is key because almonds are fairly high in fat. Although these are healthy fats, too much can still cause rapid weight gain. No more than two raw almonds per day is ideal for most large parrot species. If given moderately, almonds are great, healthy snacks for your feathered friend!
Featured Image Credit: FrancescaO.ph, 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.