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Home > Birds > Can Parrots Eat Broccoli? Vet-Reviewed Info to Know

Can Parrots Eat Broccoli? Vet-Reviewed Info to Know

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

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It’s important to feed your parrots fresh greens, fruits, and vegetables in addition to their regular diet. Fresh foods are a staple part of their balanced pellet diet in the wild, and it’s a good idea to try to replicate this as closely as possible in captivity. But what about broccoli?

Parrots can most certainly eat broccoli! Since this vegetable is packed with so many vitamins and minerals, it can provide great potential health benefits for your feathered friend.

In this article, we look at the potential benefits of broccoli for your parrots and the best way to serve broccoli to them. Let’s dive in!


Potential Benefits of Feeding Broccoli to Your Parrot

In the wild, parrots eat a highly varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, greens, and even insects. As the sole provider of your parrot’s nutrition, you must try to replicate this in captivity. A healthy, varied diet will help ensure that your parrot gets all the vitamins and minerals that they need to thrive and help them live to a ripe old age.

A large part of this nutrition comes from healthy greens, and broccoli can provide essential nutrients to your parrot’s diet.

Broccoli is 90% water, so it can provide some hydration to your parrot. It is also low in calories, so there’s little risk of it causing weight gain in your parrot.

Broccoli is packed with beneficial vitamins, including vitamin K, which is essential for blood coagulation and calcium and phosphate incorporation into the bone, and vitamin A, a deficiency of which can cause weight loss, loss of energy, and beak and plumage issues. Broccoli contains essential minerals too. It is high in phosphorus and calcium, which are essential for building strong bones and beaks, and folates, which are essential for your parrot’s growth and development.

Broccoli also contains a small amount of iron, which is essential for red blood cell formation and proper oxygen circulation in your parrot’s blood, and it has almost no fat content overall.

Image Credit: Auntmasako, Pixabay

Raw or Cooked?

Cooking broccoli can make it softer and more palatable, but cooking also removes many of the vital nutrients within the vegetable. Broccoli contains a high number of heat-sensitive nutrients, including vitamins C and B as well as B vitamins. These water-soluble nutrients are quickly lost during steaming or boiling, so if you want to give cooked broccoli to your parrot, the best option is a light steaming or flash boil.

Broccoli is far more beneficial when served raw, as it will still have all the potentially beneficial nutrients. Frozen broccoli is also fine because the nutrients are still stored within, although it will need to be thawed before serving.

Serving Broccoli to Your Parrot

For small parrots, it’s probably a good idea to chop broccoli up into small pieces before serving it to make it easier for them to eat, but for large parrots like macaws or African greys, they’ll enjoy shredding the broccoli up themselves with their powerful beaks.

Begin by giving your parrot small amounts of broccoli, and build up from there. Just a floret or two is a great place to start, and you can add more if your parrot enjoys it, depending on the size of your bird. As with any vegetable, moderation is key, though, and a few florets of broccoli once or twice a week is plenty. Too much broccoli may cause digestion issues in parrots, so keep it well-moderated. Remember that your parrot needs to ingest a variety of vegetables and fruits to obtain all the different nutrients that they require. Mono diets are not good for them.

The potential risks of feeding too much broccoli to your parrot are the antinutrients, which include the cholinesterase inhibitor enzymes, and the phytates, which are zinc, iron, and calcium chelators. Broccoli might also contain small amounts of saponin toxins and goitrogens, which could exacerbate a marginally iodine-deficient diet. Moderation is essential!

bowl of broccoli
Image By: ExplorerBob, Pixabay

Other Healthy Vegetables for Parrots

Broccoli is a great choice for your parrot, but there are several other healthy vegetables to give to your feathered friend, including:

  • Dark greens (lettuce, green beans, carrot tops)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Squash
  • Butternut
  • Bell peppers
  • Peas
Macaw standing on a stool
Image Credit: Josemaria Toscano, Shutterstock

Vegetables That Parrots Should Never Eat

Some vegetables are simply not safe for parrots and should never be given to them, including:

Never feed your parrots:
  • Avocado
  • Eggplant
  • Raw rhubarb
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raw beans

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Broccoli is a perfectly safe vegetable to feed to your parrot and can have great health benefits for them. For one thing, it has a high water content and is packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Of course, moderation is key, as too much broccoli can cause digestive and nutritional issues. However, it can be safely offered as part of a varied diet. It’s best served raw so all the beneficial nutrients are still bio-available to your feathered friend.

Featured Image Credit: Trine Nordeng, Shutterstock

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