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Can Parrots Eat Pecans? What You Need to Know!

Genevieve Dugal

Giving your parrot a balanced diet is the best way to help him live a long, healthy life. There is a tremendous amount of information written about the optimal nutrition for these magnificent pet birds. Unfortunately, much of this information is out of date. There is certainly not an adequate diet that is applicable for all types of birds. Fortunately, in the last few years, a lot of progress has been made in the diets available.

Seeds can be offered to your parrot, but should not account for more than 20% of its diet. It is also possible to offer a variety of nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts. On the other hand, these are rich in fat and are not recommended for birds at risk of being overweight. We’ll talk more about the ideal diet for your beloved parrot below.

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3 Important Facts About the Nutrition of Pet Parrots

  • In the wild, parrots do not eat a diet high in oil seeds (high in fat) like sunflower seeds, safflower, and peanuts.
  • A diet consisting mainly of seeds will lead to nutritional deficiencies and an increased incidence of medical problems.
  • The priority diet for parrots should consist of a variety of foods such as vegetables, fruits, formulated pellets, and other table foods, instead of just seeds.
parrot perching on tree branch
Image Credit: Piqsels

What’s Wrong With a Diet Rich in Nuts and Seeds?

Seeds are high in fat and deficient in several vitamins and minerals. Therefore, a diet containing exclusively seeds promotes the development of health problems. In the wild, birds eat seeds, but these seeds come from growing plants and are only available at certain times of the year.

So, why do some birds refuse any food other than seeds if they are not even part of their diet all year round and they do not eat peanuts, sunflower seeds, or safflower normally? Research has shown that the high percentage of fat in the aforementioned seeds produces a “surge” of energy. Birds develop a dependence on these high-fat seeds and if they are deprived of them, they become depressed and would do anything to put a seed under their beak! It’s sort of the equivalent of humans with a sweet tooth.

parrots eating commercial food
Image Credit: Piqsels

What Should You Feed Your Parrot?

It is certainly impossible to provide parrots with the same foods they would find in nature. Since not all birds are the same, it is essential to provide your parrot with a varied diet. The nutritional requirements of a bird depend on factors such as age, type of life (breeder versus companion), species, and environment. The foods you choose also need to be practical, otherwise, most of us will go simple and give new seeds. Providing a balanced diet for your bird is a commitment you made when you first adopted it and it is essential that you stick to it to keep your pet healthy:

  • A high-quality feed should make up 60%-80% of the diet of most parrots. Choose a good quality feed. Make sure it is sold sealed and check the expiration date. It is best to choose a feed that does not contain additives such as colorants.
  • The rest of the diet should consist of vegetables and other table foods. Besides, vegetables are better than fruits. Yellow and orange vegetables (squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin) and dark green leafy vegetables (kale, salad) are examples of good choices. They can be given cooked or raw.
  • Fruits such as figs, raspberries, papayas, apricots, and mangoes are better than apples, grapes, and oranges. Pasta, whole-grain slices of bread, cereals, legumes, and brown rice are great choices. There are several bird bread recipes that are easy to make and store. Table food should not be left available to the bird for more than 4 hours.
  • Seeds and nuts can be offered but should not account for more than 20% of the diet for large parrots. Pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, and other nuts can be offered daily but in reasonable amounts. Indeed, large species such as parrots require more protein and fat in their diet.
parrots eating food
Image Credit: Dewald Van Rensburg, Pixabay

Is It Necessary to Give Your Parrot Vitamins and Minerals?

When a bird is fed a balanced diet, it should not need any mineral or vitamin supplement. If your bird is eating an unbalanced diet, adding vitamins and minerals is suggested while you convert to a more appropriate diet. The best choice of vitamins is a powder that you sprinkle on soft food. Vitamins placed in water are often inactivated, and they can change the taste of the water which unfortunately can cause your bird to not drink enough. Adding them to drinking water can also promote bacteria growth.

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Bottom Line

Nuts such as pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts contain a very high protein content, but also fat. Some species of large parrots, such as macaws, for example, need nuts in their diet to provide them with an adequate protein intake.

Offer the nuts with the shell, without cracking them in advance, to make your bird’s beak work. Make sure the nuts are fresh before offering them because mold could cause serious health problems for your pet.

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Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Genevieve Dugal

Genevieve is a biologist and science writer. Her deep love for capuchin monkeys, pumas, and kangaroos has taken her worldwide to work and volunteer for several wildlife rehabilitation centers in Bolivia, Guatemala, Canada, and Australia. As a Canadian expat, Genevieve now lives in Argentina, where she wakes up every morning to horses and cows saying hello from the vast plain next to her home office window. She is the proud mom of three rescued dogs, Lemmy, Nala, and Pochi, and a frisky kitten, Furiosa. Having the privilege of sharing her knowledge and passion for animals of all kinds is what makes her fulfilled and happy.