Best Bird Foods

Find the best Bird Foods and recommendations here. Also learn the most dangerous foods a bird can eat.

Bird Food

Good nutrition plays an essential role in the maintenance of a healthy bird.  It has been estimated that 80-90% of bird diseases are related to a bad diet.  In order to correct this problem, pelleted avian diets have been formulated to provide balanced nutrition for your pet birds. To supplement these diets, a variety of fresh foods should be fed on a daily basis.  

Pelleted Diet:   should provide the bulk 60-80% of your pet’s bird diet. Harrison’s, Kaytee (Exact) and Zupreem are designed to provide complete nutrition for your bird.  Harrison’s pellets are completely organic and contain no preservatives.

It may take time and patience to train your bid to eat this form of food, but the benefits to your bird’s health and longevity far outweigh the negatives of the transition.

Seed:    See should be kept to a minimum and offered only as a treat and different types of seed should be offered.  Use Nutriberries as a treat.  They are more nutritionally balanced than seeds.   NEVER feed any bird a diet of wild bird seed.   

Fruits and Vegetables:  Various fruits and vegetables can be given to birds (See good and bad list on website).   Make sure to wash them good before offering them to your bird.  And remove uneaten food within 2 hrs to prevent spoilage.

Water:  Make sure to have clean, fresh water for you bird at all times.   Some birds like to make soup out of their water with their food.   Check water bowls several times a day and replace soupy water with fresh water.  You can also use water bottles but make sure that they don’t clog up the water tube.  

Safe Fruits and Vegetables for Birds

Safe Fruits:

Apple

Apricot

Banana

Blackberry

Blackcurrant

Blood orange

Blueberry

Cantaloupe melon

Cherry

Cranberry

Dried dates

Figs (fresh)

Gooseberries

Grape

Guava

Honeydew melon

Kiwifruit

Lychee (Litchi)

Mandarin

Mango

Melon

Nectarine

Orange

Papaya

Peach

Pear

Pineapple

Plum

Pomegranate

Quince

Raspberry

Red Currants

Strawberry

Tangerine

Yellow Plum

Make sure that all apple, orange and other seeds are removed before letting your birds eat the fresh foods. And make sure you wash all fruits and vegetable thoroughly. It's always best to go organic for your parrots to stay away from pesticides.

Healthy and Safe Vegetables for Birds

Artichoke

Beans, cooked only

Bell Peppers

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Carrot

Cauliflower

Celery stalks

Chinese Cabbage

Corn (milky & soft)

Cucumber

Eggplant (fruit only)

Endive

Fennel

Green Beans

Hot Peppers

Kale

Lettuce

Peas

Potato (cooked)

Pumpkin (and seeds)

Radish Red Beet (fresh)

Radicchio

Romain Lettuce

Spinach

Sprouts

Squash

Sweet Potato

Turnips

Watercress

Yams

Zucchini

Again, make sure vegetables are washed and preferably organic. The chemicals they feed the plants will harm you and your birds.

TOXIC OR UNHEALTHY BIRD FOODS

Avoid anything high is salt, sugar, and fat content.

Alcohol

Apple seeds

Apricot pits

Asparagus

Avocado (entire plant and fruit)

Beans - Kidney, Lima

Beans, any dried

Butter

Caffeine

Carbonated beverages

Cherry pits

Chocolate

Cigarette tobacco

Dried fruits (containing sulfides or sulphates)

Egg Plant

Gatorade

Milk/cream in large quantities

Nectarine pits

Olives

Onions (raw or cooked)

Parsley

Peach pits

Pear pips

Plum pits

Raw Peanuts

Rhubarb

Tobacco

Tomato (entire plant, a little fruit okay)

Houseplants (most are toxic, not all)

Toxic Foods

Foods toxic for birds:

1) Chocolate

Chocolate poisoning first affects a bird's digestive system, causing vomiting and diarrhea. As the condition progresses, the bird's central nervous system is affected, first causing seizures and eventually death.

2) Apple Seeds

Believe it or not, apples - along with other members of the rose family including cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears - contain trace amounts of Cyanide within their seeds. While the fruit of the apple is fine for your bird, be aware that in addition to the poisonous seeds, there may be pesticides present on the fruit's skin. Be sure to thoroughly cleanse and core any apple pieces that you share with your bird to avoid exposure to these toxins.

3) Avocado

The skin and pit of this popular fruit had been known to cause cardiac distress and eventual heart failure in pet bird species. Although there is some debate to the degree of toxicity of avocados, it is generally advised to adopt a "better safe than sorry" attitude toward them and keep guacamole and other avocado products as far away from pet birds as possible.

4) Onions

While the use of limited amounts of onion or garlic powders as flavorings is generally regarded as acceptable, excessive consumption of onions causes vomiting, diarrhea, and a host of other digestive problems. It has been found that prolonged exposure can lead to a blood condition called hemolytic anemia, which is followed by respiratory distress and eventual death.

Hemolytic anemia (HEE-moh-lit-ick uh-NEE-me-uh) is a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their normal lifespan is up.

5) Alcohol Although responsible bird owners would never dream of offering their pet an alcoholic drink, there have been instances in which free roaming birds have attained alcohol poisoning through helping themselves to unattended cocktails. Alcohol depresses the organ systems of birds and can be fatal. Make sure that your bird stays safe by securing him in his cage whenever alcohol is served in your home.

6) Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a type of fungus, and have been known to cause digestive upset in companion birds. Caps and stems of some varieties can induce liver failure.

7) Tomato Leaves

Tomatoes, like potatoes and other nightshades, have a tasty fruit that is fine when used as a treat for your bird. The stems, vines, and leaves, however, are highly toxic to your pet. Make sure that any time you offer your bird a tomato treat it has been properly cleaned and sliced, with the green parts removed, so that your bird will avoid exposure to any toxins.

8) Salt

While all living beings need regulated amounts of sodium in their systems, too much salt can lead to a host of health problems in birds, including excessive thirst, dehydration, kidney dysfunction, and death. Be sure to keep watch over the amount of salty foods your bird consumes.

9) Caffeine

Caffeinated beverages such as soda, coffee, and tea are popular among people - but allowing your bird to indulge in these drinks can be extremely hazardous. Caffeine causes cardiac malfunction in birds, and is associated with increased heartbeat, arrhythmia, hyper activity, and cardiac arrest. Share a healthy drink of pure fruit or vegetable juice with your bird instead - this will satisfy both your bird's taste buds and nutritional requirements.

10) Dried Beans

Cooked beans are a favorite treat of many birds, but raw, dry bean mixes can be extremely harmful to your pet. Uncooked beans contain a poison called hemaglutin which is very toxic to birds. To avoid exposure, make sure to thoroughly cook any beans that you choose to share with your bird.

11) Parsley

(Sent by a reader) After loosing several birds ( hook bills)and couldn't figure out why, I was told by several budgie breeders, after I told them I gave those birds parsley, that parsley is actually poisonous to hook bills.I just thought I'd share this with you about what I have experienced and learned from professional budgie breeders. 

Other Foods To Avoid

Fatty foods High fat in the diet leads to obesity and may result in lipomas (fatty tumors), lipemia (fat in the blood), and hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease). Any greasy, oily or otherwise fatty food should be avoided. Commonly overfed fatty foods include nuts, French fries, crackers, marbled meat, peanut butter, butter, fried chicken, fried anything etc.

Sugar foods Obviously, frosting is high in sugar and an undesirable foodstuff. Similarly, soda pop, candy and these types of foods are not recommended.

Dairy Birds lack the digestive enzymes needed to break down milk sugar and milk proteins. Uncultured milk products such as milk, cream and butter should not be fed but yogurt, cheeses and dried milk can be supplemented in the diet in moderation (they are also high in fat).

Lettuce A typical filler food, lettuce is low in everything except water. It is not recommended as a food supplement since it offers little, if anything, for the bird. If leafy foods are desired by your bird, try feeding spinach, collard greens, tops of bok choy, carrot tops or kale.

Avocado Although higher in fat than other veggies and used in other countries to condition birds for breeding, avocado has been shown to be toxic in some birds and its feeding is no longer recommended, as mentioned above in the Toxic Foods list.