Sometimes I feel like every time I walk past my parrot’s cage; he’s eating. Maybe I’m just using a small container, but it also needs to be refilled every day. I know it can be bad for large mammals to overeat, but what about my parrot?
Parrots overeat if they have the opportunity, especially if they don’t have a balanced diet. Overweight parrots are more likely to develop liver problems and have shorter lifespans.
Obesity is one of the most common health issues in companion parrots, but it’s also one of the easiest to rectify.
Your parrot needs a complete diet with all the nutrients required not to feel the urge to continue eating.
Creating a specific feeding routine, daily and weekly food items will help in controlling your parrot’s overeating habit.
Why Do Parrots Overeat?
Birds forage for food in the wild and eat any food they find to survive. So, when your parrot has a bottomless container of food 24/7, there’s a good chance it’s going to overeat. Birds have the right type of bodies to eat large meals and then go without food for hours before the next meal.
Domesticated birds will eat when they’re bored, just to pass the time if there’s nothing else to keep them entertained. If their body is lacking anything, it may lead to overeating. You can feed a complete diet consisting of proteins, fat, water, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber to your parrot to avoid overeating.
A lack of Vitamin D can also cause overeating. So, make sure your parrot gets around 15 to 30 minutes of sunshine per day.
Can You Overfeed A Parrot?
It’s easy to overfeed a parrot considering the bonding that you share with him. However, overfeeding can have some adverse consequences on the health of your parrot.
It is essential that your parrot should get adequate nourishment. However, feeding more does not necessarily mean more nutrients. The diet of a parrot varies according to its age and size.
It is best if you consult a veterinarian to determine the exact diet requirement for your parrot.
Also, after consulting the veterinarian, you can do a self-assessment of your parrot’s health.
If it seemed your parrot is gaining weight rapidly and is bloated, you need to consult the vet once again.
On the other hand, if your parrot falls sick more often, it is mainly because your pet parrot is eating something that is not suited.
Or else you are overfeeding your parrot resulting in sickness. You must be well versed in what a healthy parrot diet entails before welcoming one into your home.
An obese parrot can have some health issues. So, let’s delve deeper to understand the consequences if a parrot overeats.
What Happens When Parrots Overeat?
Parrots that overeat won’t suffer from immediate health complications like large mammals do. A bird’s digestive system is too quick to have a food overload.
However, parrots suffer from health issues in the long term. Fatty liver disease is one of the most common illnesses caused by overeating.
Besides, if parrots overeat a specific component of a seed-based diet, it can lead to malnourishment and overweight. Overweight parrots can be less active.
Also, excess intake of any particular seed can result in a deficiency in essential minerals and vitamins. It can even result in too much fat in a parrot’s body to metabolize.
In the worst scenario, overeating can sometimes result in lowering your parrot’s life expectancy.
Alright! Now that you know what can happen if a parrot overeats, let’s also understand a parrot’s overeating symptoms.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Do Parrots Cry? + Why Do Parrots Cry?
- Do Parrots Lay Eggs? (When, How Do Parrots Lay Eggs)
- How Do Parrots Clean Themselves? + Why Preening Is Essential?
- Are Parrots Smart? + Are Parrots Intelligent?
What Are The Symptoms Of Parrot Overeating?
If your parrot is overeating, it will probably become very chubby. This is a clear indicator that you need to adjust its diet and monitor its weight carefully.
Another sign of overeating is if your parrot becomes less energetic than usual. Make sure there are toys and wheels inside its cage for your parrot to exercise and for you to notice when it is not very active.
Abnormal beak growth, discoloration of feathers (yellowish), spots on beaks, and toenails can all be signs of fatty liver disease, a symptom of overeating.
Once you are well aware of a parrot’s overeating symptoms, it is equally important to feed your parrot a balanced diet.
Balanced Parrot Diet
Here’s a basic guideline for covering all the areas of nutrition with recommendations for how much of each food type to give to prevent overfeeding.
We mentioned before that a complete diet includes proteins, fat, water, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber. Pellets alone are not suitable for a well-balanced diet, no matter what the manufacturer says.
Pellets for parrots (Daily main course)
Any pelleted food specifically for parrots will have most of what they need in their diet. Pelleted food should contribute around 50% to your parrot’s diet. The best type of pellets is organic.
They contain no genetically modified organisms and are full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other essential nutrients for your parrot.
Harrison’s Bird Food Pellets and Top’s Organic Pellets are two of the best organic pellets available in the market.
If your parrots are eating far more or far less than 50% pellets, it’s best to adjust their meals gradually until around 50% of their food consists of pellets.
Nuts and seeds (Daily)
Nuts and seeds in moderation are excellent for parrots. The amount that you feed them should not be more than 20% of their total diet.
Vegetables are way more critical in a parrot’s diet than fruit and can contribute around 25% or more of their total diet.
Most vegetables are healthy for parrots, but some of the best options include spinach, collard greens, carrots, broccoli, corn, asparagus, and beets.
Cooked beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc. are also very healthy for parrots.
While a fruit is healthy for parrots in moderation, it’s also high in sugar, which is not so good. Fruit should be fed to your birds as “treats” are fed to your children.
Fruits should be less than 5% of their total intake. There are many vitamins in fruit, so it’s all about moderation, not an everyday pleasure.
Tomatoes, chilies, and other peppers are the exception and can be fed along with the vegetable section below.
You should feed your parrot cooked lean meat once or twice a week for extra protein intake. Scrambled or boiled eggs are also an excellent weekly protein boost.
Parrot Feeding Tips
- Make chops: Chopping and grating vegetables up together make a splendid meal for your parrots. It’s so much easier to eat that way and looks more visually appealing to them.
- Always provide fresh food: Dispose of cooked food after 6 hours as it will rot at room temperature if you leave it longer than that. Parrots should always be fed fresh food.
- Feed a variety of food: Parrots can be picky eaters. Hence, you need to make sure they receive all the nutrients they need from all the different food sources, as listed further above.
- Feed at certain times: In the morning, try to guess the number of pellets your parrot will eat by the early afternoon. Put that amount into the feeding bowl. If it eats everything by mid-day, add a little more next time. If there were leftovers, provide a little less next time. Once you’ve found out how much your parrot needs to get through the morning, you can put only that amount in their bowl and monitor their consumption in the future. As for the afternoon, you can put some nuts or seeds in a foraging toy to get a snack if they want to. For the evening, they can have some vegetables as listed before. Pellets are an excellent way to start the day, while cooked proteins and fresh fruits can be fed in the afternoon or evening.
Toxic Foods For Parrots
These are a few seemingly harmless foods that are toxic to parrots.
- Avocado: Avocado can poison the parrot’s digestive system. While some may eat avocado with no incident, in most cases, it’s lethal.
- Rhubarb: Rhubarb leaves are as poisonous for parrots as they are for us. Avoid feeding rhubarb to your parrot.
- Onions: No matter if they’re cooked, raw, or dehydrated, onions can cause rupturing of red blood cells, which leads to anemia in parrots. They also have other health implications, like irritation in the mouth and crop, and can lead to ulcers.
- Chocolate: Theobromine in the cocoa ingredient of chocolate is toxic for most pets. But for parrots, it’s worse because a bird is much smaller than other animals. Besides that, milk and sugar are also not healthy for parrots. Unfortunately, chocolate has plenty of both. Keep all chocolate, including white, sugar-free, or any other, away from your parrot.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms cause digestive problems in parrots. Certain mushrooms cause liver failure as well.
Recommended Further Reading:
- Do Parrots Have Tongue? + Use Of Parrot’s Tongue
- Can Parrots Live Alone? (What Are The Consequences?)
- Do Parrots Dream? + What Do They Dream About?
Since parrots naturally forage around for food in the wild, they will overeat if they’re constantly being fed in a domestic environment.
Parrots may also overindulge if they lack certain nutrients. That is why parrots on a 100% pelleted diet are more likely to overeat and become unhealthy than parrots on a 50 to 60% pelleted diet.
In some instances, a parrot might munch away on food just to keep busy. If you notice any weight gain, visit your veterinarian for a proper evaluation and recommendation.
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