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Can Parrots Eat Blackberries? What You Need To Know!
Yes, blackberries can be a great treat for your parrot. They have plenty of essential vitamins and nutrients that aren’t found in many traditional parrot foods, like nuts and seeds.
However, blackberries shouldn’t make up a considerable portion of your parrot’s food. They don’t provide everything that your parrot needs to thrive, after all. They make a good supplement for parrots, but your bird should get most of their calories from pellets or a similar balanced food.
Many parrots do like blackberries quite a bit. Of course, this will vary substantially from bird to bird. Some birds won’t like blackberries no matter how they are presented.
Feeding blackberries isn’t always straightforward, though. You don’t want your parrot to eat too many blackberries because this may cause nutritional problems. However, you don’t want to avoid feeding your parrot fruit altogether.
We help you understand this balancing act in this article.
Parrot Nutrition and Diet
To understand where blackberries fit into your bird’s diet, you need to understand precisely what your parrot should be eating. Sadly, we don’t know as much about bird nutrition as we do other animals. Many people assume that birds have about the exact nutritional needs, but this isn’t always true.
Many pet parrots are fed incorrectly. An improper diet has a significant impact on their health and lifespan. There is a reason that many parrots don’t live their entire lifespan in captivity.
Seeds vs. Pellets
Many commercial parrot foods are seed mixes. However, these diets are often not ideal for your parrot. They are often too low in specific vitamins, like vitamin A. At the same time, most are far too high in fat.
Parrots typically need a diet containing primarily carbohydrates, not fat.
Seed diets also allow the bird to eat selectively. They may pick out the seeds that they want and leave the ones that they don’t. This behavior can lead to an even less nutritionally complete diet because the bird will only be eating a selective group of foods.
Pellets are often better for most parrots. Seeds should be strictly limited, if they are given at all. Pellets are made out of many different ingredients, including grains, fruits, and veggies. They are specifically formulated for birds. Therefore, they tend to be more nutritionally complete. They contain all the vitamins and nutrients that your pet needs to thrive. Pellets also prevent selective feeding because the bird can’t pick out the individual ingredients.
Overall, pellets should be the primary source of nutrition for your parrot. Even fresh foods like blackberries and other veggies shouldn’t make up the majority of your bird’s diet. They aren’t nutritionally complete, while pellets are carefully formulated.
We recommend that pellets make up at least 50% of your bird’s diet — 75% is a much better percentage, though.
What About Fruits?
Fruits are essential in your pet’s diet. They provide vitamins and minerals that your parrot may be lacking, and they provide variety to your bird’s pellet diet.
You should offer your bird different fruits, including blackberries. That said, even if blackberries are your bird’s favorite, you should avoid offering only their favorites. Birds are notorious for becoming picky eaters. If you only provide them with the fruit that they like the best, they’ll become even pickier.
You should aim to feed fruits that are deep in color. These varieties are usually more nutritionally dense. Vitamins are what give fruits their rich color.
Some fruits aren’t healthy for birds, but blackberries are not on that list. They are entirely safe for your bird, seeds and all.
We recommend offering your bird blackberries alongside another fruit or veggie. Don’t provide just one option at a time. Your goal is to aim for variety. Your parrot needs to eat a wide array of different fruits and veggies, not just blackberries.
Do Parrots Like Blackberries?
Parrots are all individuals. Some of them like blackberries, and others do not. It depends mainly on what they’re offered when they are younger and less set in their ways.
As parrots get older, convincing them to try new things becomes more challenging.
Even if your parrot doesn’t like blackberries the first time that they try them, though, you shouldn’t give up. Most parrots require multiple introductions to a food before they will eat it. They’re a bit like toddlers in this way.
Expect to offer a food 10 times before your parrot eats it, and then even more before they readily accept it.
We recommend offering multiple foods at one time, including one that you know your bird will like. If you put out a new food, your parrot may ignore it and retreat to the other side of the cage. If you pair it with a healthy food that they love, though, they’ll interact with the food more and therefore, are more likely to try it.
Blackberries and Pesticides
Blackberries are often sprayed with pesticides, like other fruits and veggies. However, you don’t peel a blackberry like a banana or some other fruits. Therefore, you are much more likely to consume higher levels of pesticides.
It also isn’t easy to clean blackberries thoroughly. Their skin is soft, so you can’t scrub them like other fruits. All the nooks and crannies also make it challenging to remove the pesticides altogether.
For this reason, we recommend purchasing organic blackberries for your bird when possible. These berries are typically not sprayed with chemical pesticides. However, what exactly counts as “organic” differs from area to area. Different permitting agencies have different regulations. Do your research on these policies before choosing which blackberries to purchase.
A few pesticides won’t hurt us. But our birds are much smaller. It doesn’t take nearly as much to offset their health and cause side effects.
Plus, parrots tend to be more sensitive to certain chemicals than you might expect. There are few studies on parrots and pesticides, so we don’t know precisely which ones to avoid. For this reason, it is often best to avoid all of them.
Can Parrots Have Blackberry Juice?
Blackberry juice may be a suitable option for parrots occasionally. However, this isn’t always the case.
Blackberry juices have had some nutrients removed because the juice is free from their skin and seeds. Juice doesn’t have the fiber that whole berries do, for instance.
Many juices are also full of added sugar. This sugar is not necessary for your bird. If you do decide to purchase blackberry juice, be sure to check the label and only choose options without any added sugar.
Portioning juice is often tricky. Juice is much more concentrated in sugar than the berries themselves. Therefore, your bird should only be given a tiny bit. Otherwise, they may consume too much sugar.
Blackberry juice also doesn’t taste the same as blackberries. Therefore, it will often take time for the bird to become used to the taste. Even if your bird currently likes blackberries, they probably won’t like blackberry juice the first time or two.
Plan on offering the juice a few times before your bird decides that they do or don’t like it.
Can Birds Have Dried Blackberries?
Parrots can have dried blackberries. However, remember that these are concentrated and therefore, higher in sugar.
Dried blackberries should be considered a snack and not necessarily a great addition to your parrot’s diet. Whole blackberries are preferred, though dried blackberries do contain about the same amount of nutrients!
Parrots will eat more dried blackberries before they feel full, potentially increasing the amount of sugar that they intake. For this reason, we typically don’t recommend feeding them as many ounces of dried blackberries as you would whole blackberries. The serving size needs to be far less.
Blackberries are great supplements to a parrot’s diet. They provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, making them one of the better options out there. However, they should only make up a small portion of your parrot’s diet.
They are nutrient-dense, but they don’t contain all the nutrients that your parrot needs.
Your parrot should live primarily off of pellets, which are particularly formulated to meet their nutritional needs. For their supplemental fruit and veggies intake, blackberries make a solid choice, though.
Featured Image Credit: Tanuj_handa, pixabay
Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!