Health

I am always worried about whether Hilo & Hana are getting enough nutrition in their diet. They are not very picky, but they do have their favorites and often they ask for them!

Parrots commonly suffer from calcium deficiencies. Certain Parrots suffer other vitamin deficiencies too. For example Cockatiels are known to have vitamin A deficiencies. Amazon’s & Caiques often suffer from fatty liver disease. Conures commonly suffer from a lack of vitamin K.

 

All parrots can become “Junkies” eating way too many seeds or food from your plate and can suffer from obesity and fatty liver disease.
Parrots need to have a large variety of fresh fruits & veggies every day.

NATURAL SOURCE OF VITAMINS
Vitamin A/Beta Carotene – Maintains tissue lining, respiratory, reproductive, digestive, and urinary tracts.
Found in Alfalfa Sprouts, Broccoli, Carrots, Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens, Green Beans, Kale, Kiwi, Mustard Greens, Nectarines, Parsley, Peaches, Pumpkin, Peppers, Red Leaf Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens & Zucchini

B Vitamins – Participate in metabolic reactions and energy at the cell level and other internal growth.
Found in Bananas, Collard Greens, Corn, Eggs, Kohlrabi, Mango, Millet Seeds, Peppers, Snap Peas, Sunflower Seeds & Swiss Chard

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) – Most important for stressful situations, an anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, antioxidant and anti-stress nutrient.
Found in Bananas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Corn, Cucumber, Dandelion Greens, Green Beans, Kale, Kiwi, Kohlrabi, Mango, Mustard Greens, Nectarines, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches, Peas, Peppers, Pomegranate, Romaine Lettuce, Strawberries, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnip Greens & Zucchini

Calcium – Maintains growth and support of the bone structure.
Found in Almonds, Berries, Broccoli, Dandelion Greens, Kale, Kelp, Kohlrabi, Mustard Greens, Oats, Oranges, Parsley, Peas, Sesame Seeds, Swiss Chard & Turnip Greens

Vitamin D – Promotes proper calcium and phosphorous absorption and utilization. Also important for the maintenance of a healthy immune system.
Found in Eggs & Sweet Potato.

Vitamin E – Antioxidant protecting cell membranes.
Found in Almonds, Alfalfa Sprouts, Corn, Eggs, Kiwi, Mustard Greens, Oats, Sunflower Seeds & Swiss Chard

Iodine – Necessary for normal cell metabolism, metabolism of excess fat, and thyroid function.
Found in Kelp, Squash & Sesame Seeds

Iron – Combines with protein and copper to assist in hemoglobin production and is required for stress and disease resistance.
Found in Almonds, Eggs, Green Beans, Kelp, Pumpkin Seeds, Raisins, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds & Swiss Chard

Vitamin K – Promotes blood clotting, and is useful for normal functioning of the liver and maintenance of strong bones.
Found in Alfalfa Sprouts, Beet Greens, Broccoli, Collard Greens, Green Beans, Kale, Kelp, Mustard Greens, Romaine Lettuce, Snap Peas & Swiss Chard

Magnesium – Involved with many metabolic processes; helps regulate the acid-alkaline balance and promotes absorption and metabolism of other minerals, particularly calcium. Magnesium should be in equal amounts to phosphorus and both half that to calcium.
Found in Almonds, Apples, Bananas, Cucumber, Green Beans, Squash, Swiss Chard & Turnip Greens

Phosphorus – Important for RNA/DNA synthesis, nerve health, heart/muscle contraction, kidney function, as well as many other functions. Phosphorus should be in equal amount to magnesium and both half that to calcium.
Found in Brown Rice, Corn, Eggs, Green Beans, Squash, Swiss Chard & Turnip Greens

Protein – Provides amino acids (the body’s building blocks).
Found in Amaranth, Brown Rice, Eggs, Green Beans, Quinoa & Swiss Chard

Selenium – It’s an important antioxidant, commonly combined with vitamin E. It protects the immune system from damage by preventing the development of free radicals.
Found in Eggs, Sesame Seeds & Sunflower Seeds

Zinc – Assists with enzymatic reactions, carbohydrate digestion, facilitates the action of the B vitamins, circulation, liver function, immune system function, protein synthesis and cell growth, skin, bone, joint health, wound healing, and growth of reproduction organs.
Found in Eggs, Peas, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds & Swiss Chard.

Why buy organic or grow your own

As if the wonderful taste of organic food compared to non-organic food doesn’t sell itself, this might…

Strawberry growers everywhere use large amounts of pesticides, particularly fungicides. The FDA detected thirty different pesticides on strawberries, second only to apples with thirty-six. Based on a two-year sampling, strawberries were found to contain captan, benomyl, vinclozolin, iprodione, and endosulfan. These pesticides not only are carcinogenic in humans but disrupt the endocrine system as well. Unless one is lucky enough to locate a source of organically grown strawberries you should try to keep away from them not only for your health but also for your parrot’s health.

Bell peppers are more heavily contaminated with neurotoxic insecticides than all other crops analyzed. Although green peppers are high in vitamin C, red peppers add vitamin A and carotenoids so try to find these organic! Plus parrots love to eat the insides! 🙂

Spinach contains DDT, permethrin, chlorothalonil, and other carcinogenic pesticides. I don’t touch this unless I know it’s organic.

Cherries from the U.S. are three times more contaminated with pesticides than their imported counterparts, which are among the cleanest fruits and vegetables analyzed. Domestic cherries were found to contain twenty-six different pesticides! Except for their marginal amounts of vitamin C and their value as a treatment for gout, they are not as nutritious as many other fruits.

Cherries DO contain a powerful compound known as ellagic acid that counteracts carcinogens, so it is worthwhile to seek out imported cherries. Just remember the pits are NOT safe for parrots!

Peaches are heavily contaminated with cancer-causing fungicides and neuro-toxic pesticides. They are very tasty, however. 🙂 So these should be organic too!

Cantaloupes from Mexico tested positive for two or more pesticides in forty-eight percent of the samples, more than any other crop analyzed. Avoid non-organic cantaloupes from January through April Mexican imports are at their peak.

Celery is a major source of exposure to neurotoxic pesticides. Eighty-one percent of samples tested contained detectable residues. This could mean that eight out of ten bites of celery that you or your parrot takes are bites of pesticides. Considering the minimal amounts of nutrition in celery, it is not worth the risk.

Apples contain thirty-six different pesticides, more than any other fruit or vegetable, according to FDA data! To be honest, if an apple isn’t organic it doesn’t taste like anything… Organic is the way to go!

Apricots contain such high levels of pesticides, fourteen different kinds to be exact, that it is better to feed our parrots and ourselves other fruits that are equally high in vitamins A and C and potassium.

Green beans are a major source of carcinogenic fungicides, neurotoxins, and endocrine disruptors. They provide only modest amounts of nutrients anyway so unless we can find organically grown greens beans, better leave them off our plates and our parrots’ plates.

Grapes from Chile add a load of cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting fungicides to our diets. From January through April, a whopping ninety percent of the grapes sold in the U.S. are from Chile, where growers use less sophisticated pest control techniques than U.S. growers. Substitute domestic grapes in season. My parrots love grapes so I always make sure to buy organic.

Cucumbers contain unacceptable levels of Dieldrin, an extremely carcinogenic pesticide that was banned in the U.S. over twenty years ago. Unfortunately, it is persistent in the soil and is taken up by cucumbers. One of every fourteen cucumber samples from across the U.S. and Mexico contained this highly toxic compound. I love cucumbers, but always buy organic! 

Healthy Foods

Parrots should be eating about 60 to 75% of pellets and 40 to 25% of fresh fruits, veggies, sprouts & grains in their daily diets.

Give them pellets that do not contain artificial flavoring, coloring, sugar, veggie oils, or anything you wouldn’t eat. Roudybush, Harrison’s & Totally Organics are great brands of pellets to consider.
We feed our parrots Roudybush pellets. Pellets are nutritious and as long as your parrot is eating a diet of pellets & fresh fruits, veggies, grains & sprouts they will be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. Seeds should only be given every once in a while as they are high in fat.

The picture above shows blood samples of two different parrots. The parrot whose sample is on the left was only fed seed. Notice how fatty and unhealthy the blood looks.

The parrot whose sample is on the right was fed pellets and fresh food. Notice how clean and pure the blood looks. Please do not feed your parrot seed as their primary food.

If your parrot is or has been on a diet of seed, try slowly introducing pellets, fresh fruits, and veggies to their diet. They will benefit from the nutrients!
You can also feed your parrot meat. They love chicken and turkey. I know it seems wrong but they are omnivores and meat is a welcome snack. Only give this as a treat every once in a while.

Lories and Lorikeets feed on nectar and pollen. They need a diet high in fruit and veggies along with nectar. As with all parrots they are also omnivores.

Veggies

Beets
Broccoli
Bok choy
Cauliflower
Corn
Cucumber
Collard Greens
​​Cauliflower Leaves
​Chickweed
​Carrots
Dandelion Greens

Green Beans
Jicama
Kohlrabi
Kelp
Kale
Mustard greens
Okra
​Peppers
Parsnip
​Peas
​Romaine Lettuce

Spirulina
Sweet
Potatoes
​Squash
Swiss Chard
Tomatoes
Turnip
Turnip Greens
Watercress
Yams
Zucchini

Fruit

Apples
Apricot
Banana
Blueberry
Cranberry
Cherries
Cactus Fruit
Dehydrated Fruit
Figs
Grapes
Kiwi 
Mango
​Melon


Nectarine
Oranges
Plum
​Peach
Pineapple
Pomegranates
Pears
Papaya
Raspberry
Starfruit
Strawberry

Beans, Grains, Nuts,legumes

​Amaranth
Almonds
Brown Rice
Barley
​Canary Seeds
​Canary Seeds
Couscous
Flax Seeds
Kamut
​​​Lentils
​Mung Beans

Millet
Oats
Quinoa
Sunflower Seeds
Safflower ​
Healthy Treats
​Cheerios
Hard Boiled Eggs
​​Organic Baby Food
Organic Popcorn
Whole Wheat Pasta​

NOTES
1. The grains must be cooked or sprouted.
2. Millet spray should only be offered as a treat.
3. Make sure all dehydrated fruits are Sugar-free and sulfate free.
4. Oranges & Tomatoes should only be offered a few times a week due to acidity.
5. No food should be cooked with oil, butter, or salt.
6. Organic baby food should consist of only fruits/veggies and water no added sugars or other ingredients.
7. Popcorn must be organic and air-popped no oil, salt or butter should be used.
8. Frozen veggies should be thoroughly cooked. Steaming frozen veggies is a good option.
Foods that NEVER should be given unless they have been organically grown because they may contain many harmful pesticides: Strawberries, U.S. Cherries, Peaches, Apples, Green beans, Chilean Grapes, Cucumbers, Spinach, Red & Green bell Peppers.

Almonds offer good fat that your parrot needs, but remember that too much fat is not healthy, so only offer them every once in a while. They should be whole natural almonds, not roasted or salted as this is harmful to your parrot.

Safe Seeds include Grape seeds, Cantaloupe seeds, Cranberry seeds, Watermelon seeds, Pomegranate seeds, Orange seeds, Grapefruit seeds, Lemon seeds, Squash seeds, Pumpkin seeds, and Kiwi seeds.

Safe Rinds and Skins include: Kiwi skins, Squash rind, Watermelon rind, Broccoli leaves

Recipes

Making food for your parrot is a great way to keep them healthy. These recipes can be used along with their normal diet.

SPROUTED BEANS & GRAINS

Use all organic ingredients if possible. This is a very healthy and beneficial recipe for your parrot, but should not replace pellets and fresh foods. Can be offered once a week since it doesn’t stay fresh long and takes a bit of planning to make.

INGREDIENTS 
1 Tbsp Millet
1 Tbsp Flax seed
1 Tbsp dried peas
1 Tbsp Lentils
1 Tbsp Brown rice
1 Tbsp Canary seed
1 Tbsp Sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp Quinoa
1 Tbsp Mung beans
1 Tbsp Kamut
1 Tbsp Safflower seed

DIRECTIONS 
Place mixed ingredients (any from above) into a sterilized, clean glass jar. Using cold water, rinse until water runs clear.
Soak the mix overnight (8-12 hours) at room temperature.
The next morning, rinse several times and drain well.
Now you can either go ahead and rinse the grains with apple cider vinegar and feed it to your birds right away, OR you can place the jar on its side, rotate it to spread the seeds, and allow air circulation, and let the sprouting progress for 8-12 hours.
Add Organic Apple cider vinegar to your final rinse (about 1 tablespoon) and let the sprouts soak in it for 15 minutes.

After the 15-minute apple cider vinegar soak, rinse until it no longer smells like vinegar and drain well again and serve the food immediately.
Refrigerate any leftovers and rinse with apple cider vinegar and water daily. Use each batch within 48 hours.

BIRDIE BREAD

Use all organic ingredients if possible. When I made these for my parrots I made them like little cupcakes since they are small. Plus having little cupcakes is easier to store in the freezer for later.

INGREDIENTS 
1 Cup Quinoa flour or Flax meal
1 Cup Yellow cornmeal
4 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Cup Frozen mixed veggies (Corn, Carrots, Peas, Green beans)
1/2 Cup Chopped broccoli
1/2 Cup Dried fruits and/or Nuts (Also could use a ripe banana)
2 Eggs (with shell)
1 Cup Apple sauce or Apple juice for the liquid
Fresh shreds of Carrots and/or Zucchini

DIRECTIONS 
Preheat oven to 350˚
Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, and baking powder)
Add frozen mixed veggies, chopped broccoli, fruits
Add liquid ingredients (eggs with shells, veggie oil, apple sauce)
Mix together until smooth
Bake for 20-25 mins (or until the toothpick comes out clean)
Cool and cut into 1/2 inch cubes or bake in a mini cupcake pan.
Store extras in the fridge or freezer. Put in microwave for 20 seconds to defrost.

QUINOA CHOP

This is very easy to make and your parrots will love it!

INGREDIENTS 
1/2 Cup Quinoa
1 1/2 Water
1/2 Cup organic fresh or frozen veggies (any kind your parrot likes, I use carrots, peas, green beans, and corn)

DIRECTIONS 
Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add quinoa to boiling water and reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or when water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.

While quinoa is cooking start cooking the veggies be sure not to use oil or salt.
I like to steam them on the stove or in a slow cooker.

Once the quinoa and veggies are done cooking mix them together and wait for them to cool then serve.

Toxic Food

Avocado
Alcohol
Bitter almonds
Bamboo shoots
Celery
Chocolate
Caffeine
Coffee

Chives
Dried beans
​Dairy
Eggplant
Foods high in fat
Fruit pits*
Fruit rinds*
Fruit seeds*
Garlic

Junk food
Lima bean sprouts
Leeks
Milk
​Mushrooms
Navy bean sprouts
Onion
Peanuts

Potatoes
Rhubarb
Red kidney beans
Raw meat
Sugar
Salt
Shallots
​Spoiled food

 

*Apple seeds, Cherry pits, Plum pits, Peach pits, Pear pits, Apricot pits, Nectarine pits.. They contain varying levels of a cyanide compound that can cause death.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. The material on this site is not intended to be, and should not be relied on as, a substitute for professional advice. Read my full disclaimer.

Sprouting Organics is an offshoot of Willowbottom Homestead, a website about our homestead where we share practical ways to help save the environment through Eco-Friendly & Sustainable living.