Parrots do not eat mushrooms in the wild because they cannot tell which ones are poisonous and which ones are not. They instinctively know that any mushroom they come across could be detrimental to their health, so they simply avoid them all. However, we humans know what mushrooms are not poisonous. So, since store-bought mushrooms are healthy for humans, can parrots eat them too? The short answer is that there is no consensus on this one.
The Data Is Limited
Unfortunately, there is no real scientific data available that tells us whether mushrooms should be consumed by parrots. Lack of studies makes it difficult for experts to provide any insight or guidance to parrot caretakers. Therefore, we must rely on experienced parrot owners and internet research to try to figure out whether parrots can eat mushrooms of any kind. With limited data to work from, finding an answer is not an easy task because different sources come to different conclusions.
There Is No Consensus
One resource may say that parrots should never eat any kind of mushroom, while another resource says that button mushrooms are safe for these birds. Some resources indicate that mushrooms are safe for parrots only if they have been cooked. Other resources suggest that only the stems are dangerous for parrots.
So, there is no one consensus on this topic. One thing we know for sure is that no parrot has ever been reported to have died after eating a mushroom. Many parrot owners say that their parrots have no problem eating basic mushrooms found at the store, such as buttons, portobellos, and creminis. The bottom line is that you must decide for yourself whether giving mushrooms to your parrot is a good idea.
Making a Final Decision
When it comes to deciding whether you should feed your parrot mushrooms, you can talk to your veterinarian and get their guidance. If you do decide to offer your parrot mushrooms, only offer a tiny amount at one time. A pinky nail size will suffice. Keep an eye on your parrot for signs of any side effects that the mushroom might be having. If your bird seems to handle the mushroom well, you can probably offer up a tiny amount as snacks occasionally without problems.
If you decide not to feed your parrot any mushrooms, don’t feel bad about it! Mushrooms are not a necessity in a healthy diet for parrots. Avoiding mushrooms is the only surefire way to ensure that your parrot will not be negatively affected by them. There are many other types of foods that are known by veterinarians and experts to be good for parrots, so consider offering those instead.
Alternative Options to Consider
The base diet for any parrot should consist of commercially formulated pellets that are specifically for parrots. In addition to the pellets, various fruits and vegetables should be offered daily to help round out the parrot’s nutrition intake. Most people already have a variety of fruits and veggies in their kitchens that can be offered to their pet parrots at mealtime. These options include:
Parrots can also eat whole grains and other sources of carbohydrates. Any grains and carbs that are fed to a pet parrot should be thoroughly cooked, without added spices, herbs, or seasonings. Great sources of whole grains and carbohydrates include:
Fresh fruits and veggies and homemade grains are always best, but canned items can be offered occasionally when nothing else is available. Any canned options offered to a parrot should be free of added salts and spices. Parrots cannot handle spices and aromatics like garlic the way that we can, as they do not have access to these things in the wild. Canned green beans and spinach are decent options in a pinch.
There are many things that parrots can eat from our home kitchens, but mushrooms may not be one of them. Some parrots might be fine after eating small amounts of mushrooms as snacks occasionally. However, if you are in any doubt, it is best to simply avoid feeding mushrooms to your parrot altogether. Which types of fruits and vegetables do you prefer feeding your parrot, and which ones do you avoid? Let us know your thoughts about parrots and mushrooms in our comments section.
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Featured Image Credit by Engin, Akyurt, Pixabay