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Can Parrots Eat Peanut Butter? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

With parrots becoming more popular as pets, it’s natural to wonder about what your parrot can eat. A common question asked about parrots is whether they can eat peanut butter. You want your parrot to thrive, but will a food like peanut butter be considered a part of a well-rounded healthy diet or will it make your pet sick? Read on to learn about peanuts, peanut butter, and other foods that may be part of a parrot’s diet.

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Can Parrots Eat Peanut Butter?

The short answer is that, yes, your parrot can eat peanut butter, but only small amounts are recommended. There are a few things to consider before feeding peanut butter to your parrot. Aflatoxin is a fungus often found on peanut shells and is harmful to parrots. It can sometimes be found in commercial-grade peanut butter, but it is less likely because of the amount of processing the peanuts go through. Peanut butter also includes molasses, salt, oil, and sugar, which are not great for your parrot. All of these factors mean that your parrot should only receive it as treat, and you should feed it freshly made peanut butter or purchase one with fewer additives from your pet store.

Cockatiel eating peanut butter
Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

What’s Aflatoxin and Why is it Toxic?

Peanuts are usually contaminated with aflatoxin, a fungus that can not only make your bird ill by causing live issues but is also a known carcinogen. Aflatoxin is often found on the shell and can be found on the peanut as well. Human-grade peanut butter is less likely to have aflatoxin because of the roasting process, but it is still possible for some to sneak in there that might make your bird ill. This toxin is one of the main reasons that peanut butter is recommended only as an occasional treat for parrots.

Can I Feed My Parrot Peanuts or Other Nuts?

Nuts are a good source of protein, fat, and calories for your parrot that help to provide them with energy for all their daily activities. Many parrot owners feed their parrots a variety of nuts for this reason, such as walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts. Nuts are high in fat though, so you need to keep them to a minimum, in many cases, only 1 or 2 a day.

Peanuts are a concern because of aflatoxin. If you are going to feed your parrot peanuts, break them out of the shell, dry roast them, and do not salt them. Any peanuts with spots on them should be considered dangerous and not used.

Parrot eating nut
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

What Other Food Can Parrots Eat?

You can feed a variety of other foods to your parrot to help it have a well-rounded diet. Many fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts (as discussed above), and beans are safe to feed your parrot and will help give it all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

Here is a list of foods that are safe for your parrot to eat:

  • Bananas
  • Papaya
  • Apples
  • Pomegranates
  • Cherries (remove the seeds)
  • Radishes
  • Broccoli
  • Blackberries
  • Cauliflower
  • Beans (cooked only)
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds

Your parrot can also eat insects, as well as a pellet food designated for parrots. Here is a list of the 8 Best Parrot Pellets of 2021.

Parrot eating food
Image Credit: Luckvikas2, Shutterstock

What Foods Should Parrot Avoid?

A parrot’s diet can consist of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. There are a few foods that you should avoid feeding your parrot. Avocado is poisonous for birds. Chocolate, salt, raw honey, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar are all food that should be avoided in a healthy parrot diet.

The seeds of many popular fruits should be removed before feeding them to your parrot because they contain oxalic acid, which is toxic to your parrot. Remove the seeds from cherries, plums, apples, apricots, nectarines, and peach pits before giving the fruit to your bird. Also, it’s important to always check to see if your specific breed of parrot has any dietary restrictions.

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Conclusion

Parrots can eat peanut butter, but it’s best to feed it in moderation and as a special treat. Peanut butter is full of additives, such as molasses, sugar, and oils, so a little bit goes a long way is the best policy when it comes to feeding it to your bird. It is important to watch out for aflatoxin, which is a fungus that can appear on peanut shells or in peanut butter itself. This toxin can cause liver damage and is a known carcinogen. If you are planning on giving peanuts to your parrot, it’s best to remove the shell and dry roast it before giving it to your pet. You can also feed your parrot a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as other nuts, including walnuts, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and pecans. If you’re still questioning whether to feed peanuts to your parrot, call your vet and have a conversation about your concerns.

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Featured Image Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya, Unsplash

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.