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Can Parrots Eat Dates? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Dates may not be so common in American diets, but they’re a flavorful and healthy food that many cultures love. If you like to add dates to your diet and you’re wondering if they’re safe for your parrot to enjoy, the answer is – yes! Parrots can not only eat dates safely, but they have a variety of health benefits that are great for birds. But don’t forget about moderation, as dates are highly caloric.

divider-birds

What Are Dates?

Originating from Iraq, a date is a flowering plant and a fruit. It’s extremely sweet and bursting with flavor. With the trend toward natural foods, and natural sweeteners in particular, dates have been making their way into more and more diets as a snack, spread, or sauce addition.

date palm plant
Image Credit: Piqsels

Can Parrots Have Dates?

The parrot’s natural diet consists of a lot of fruits and vegetables, so they’re sure to love dates. Unlike the common fruits we feed birds, dates have a unique texture and flavor that offer some variety in your bird’s diet. While not every parrot will like having dates, it’s perfectly safe to try them and see how your parrot reacts.

Before you give your parrot dates, however, make sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure they’re safe for your particular bird. Some birds have health conditions or food sensitivities, so it’s always good to ask your vet before including any new food. Also, like anything else, introduce dates slowly and in small portions to watch for any adverse effects.

Health Benefits of Dates for Parrots

Dates are packed with nutrition that’s beneficial for both humans and parrots alike. Here are some of the benefits of dates:

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals, or molecules produced when your body digests food or absorbs environmental pollutants. Free radicals may play a role in developing cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Many fruits have antioxidants that help you and your parrot’s immune systems, including dates.

date palm plant
Image Credit: Dmitriy Gromov, Shutterstock

Well-Rounded Nutrients

Dates are packed with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. Most of the calories come from carbohydrates, though dates also have a small amount of protein and vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and iron. Dates have a high calorie content, however, so they’re best in moderation.

Brain Support

Studies indicate that eating dates may improve brain function. Dates have been found to lower inflammatory markers, such as interleukin 6, in the brain, which is associated with a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Animal studies also revealed that dates reduce amyloid beta proteins, which can form plaques that disturb communication between brain cells.

Natural Sweetener

Processed sugar has been linked to a variety of health conditions. Naturally, you want to give your bird the best possible nutrition, and dates are a great substitute for sugary snacks. Dates contain a lot of fructose, a naturally occurring sugar.

You can turn dates into a bunch of different sweetener options, such as paste or spread. It’s not free from sugar entirely, however, so it’s best to use date paste in moderation.

dates dried fruit
Image Credit: Piqsels

Are There Any Risks to Parrots Eating Dates?

Dates are generally healthy and safe for parrots, but there are some things to keep in mind.

  • Allergies: No matter what food you give your parrot, there’s always a chance of any allergy. Most parrots will be fine, but keep an eye on it when you feed dates for the first time – or any other food – to check for an allergic reaction.
  • Calorie-Dense and Filling: Parrots can be picky, and dates are a calorie-dense and filling food. If you give your parrot too many dates, it can spoil their appetite overall. Be sure to keep dates to a minimum to ensure your parrot eats the rest of its well-balanced meal.
  • Abdominal Discomfort: Dates are high in fiber and natural sugar, so they can cause digestive upset. Be sure to introduce dates in small quantities, and slowly, to give your pet time to adjust to a new food.
Meyer's Parrot in the tree
Image Credit: Stacey Ann Alberts, Shutterstock

How Should I Feed Dates to My Parrot?

Dates are very versatile and can be fed to your parrot as is. If you want to make them a little fancy, however, you can offer them crushed up or mashed into a paste. Another delicious option is a homemade date bar that includes seeds and nuts.

You can get creative with the way you serve dates to your parrot, but no matter what, don’t offer fried dates. Fried foods of any kind contain a lot of fat that can be detrimental to your parrot’s health. High-fat diets may lead to obesity, fatty liver disease, and other health conditions.

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Enjoy a Date with Your Parrot!

Now that you know the benefits of dates, for both humans and birds, you can shop for some fresh dates to include in your diets. You’ll find a variety of recipes for date bars and other healthy snacks that include dates, so you can make it a fun experience for you and your parrot.

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Featured Image Credit: Natalia Kuzmina, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

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.