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Home > Birds > Can Parrots Eat Chicken? What You Need to Know

Can Parrots Eat Chicken? What You Need to Know

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Chicken is a staple food in most households and one of the most versatile meats available. You can have it fried, roasted, grilled, and baked, making it a popular choice for your family dinner. Though we love chicken, is it a good choice for your pet parrot?

Fortunately, parrots can eat all kinds of meat, including chicken. Meat should be given in moderation and cooked appropriately, but yes, it can be given to parrots for a little variety and nutrition. Find out more about feeding chicken to your parrot to keep it safe and healthy.


Benefits of Chicken for Parrots

chicken breast
Image Credit: Moving-Moment, Shutterstock

Chicken has plenty of nutritional value for parrots, even as an occasional treat. Protein is essential to your bird’s health, and chicken is packed with protein. A parrot’s diet should consist of 10 to 20 percent protein, which can be gained through nuts, seeds, and lean meats, such as turkey, chicken, and fish.

The protein in chicken promotes healthy bone density, which is important for birds as they age. In addition, the complete protein found in animal sources offers all the amino acids, which contribute to immune health.

Drawbacks of Chicken for Parrots

Though a bit of chicken is okay as an occasional food topper or treat, chicken shouldn’t be part of your parrot’s regular diet. Parrots are omnivores, but most of their diet consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They do eat insects in the wild but they aren’t birds of prey that seek out small mammals or other birds for food.

When you feed too much chicken to your parrot, you’re not only going against your parrot’s natural diet, but you’re introducing a lot of cholesterol into its system as well. Your parrot may develop some digestive upset from experiencing a totally new food as well, so it’s best to limit chicken and introduce it slowly.

What About Chicken Bones?

Chicken Bones
Image By: achirathep, Pixabay

Bone marrow is an enjoyable food for parrots. After crushing bones, parrots will eat the marrow and leave the bone shards. Fortunately, bone marrow contains a lot of vital nutrients, including protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fatty acids, and vitamin A, all of which are necessary for optimal health. Parrots may enjoy crushing the bones as well, which acts as both enrichment and exercise.

If you want to give your parrot chicken bones for marrow, make sure the chicken is cooked. You can give it a cooked, bone-in chicken leg or breast. Your parrot will likely tear the cooked meat from the bone, then crack the bone to access the marrow. Most parrots won’t eat the bones, but be sure to monitor your parrot and remove any small bone shards that can cause a choking hazard or intestinal blockage.

Note: Before sharing any chicken bones with your parrot, it is important to consult your veterinarian to discuss the potential risks and whether they offer any benefits to your pet.

How to Feed Chicken to Your Parrot

You may enjoy chicken in all varieties, but they’re not all good for your parrot. If you plan to feed chicken, be sure it’s grilled, roasted, or baked with no seasonings, spices, breading, or added fat. Never feed fried or sauteed chicken to your parrot. Remove the chicken skin as well, which can lead to obesity and fatty liver disease, a common nutritional disease in birds. Your parrot gets plenty of healthy fat from seeds and nuts.

As mentioned, it’s important to start slowly when you introduce chicken into your parrot’s diet. Just give your parrot a small piece of plain chicken to see how it handles it. Pay attention to signs of digestive upset or diarrhea before you add any more. Also, only give your parrot fresh, fully cooked chicken. If the chicken smells funny or has been sitting in your fridge for a few days, just toss it out.

What Should You Avoid When Feeding Parrots?

Your parrot may want to eat anything you offer, but that doesn’t mean it’s all good for them. Several foods are toxic to birds and should never be fed, including avocado, chocolate, caffeine, salt, fruit pits, apple seeds, onions, and garlic. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s found in gum and diet desserts, is also toxic to birds and other pets.

As discussed, fat should be limited in your parrot’s diet. A high-fat diet, whether from chicken skin or too many nuts and seeds, can lead to obesity-related illnesses that can be fatal to birds.

Image Credit: aabeele, Shutterstock



Chicken, along with other meats, can be a worthwhile addition to your parrot’s diet as a special treat. Your parrot will enjoy the novelty and have fun peeling the meat from the bone to get the marrow. It’s best to be cautious when giving your parrot chicken, however, and only feed fresh, fully cooked, and plain chicken.

Featured Image Credit: Grey parrot eating steak, Dave Womach, Flickr, Attribution CC 2.0

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