What Do Parakeets Eat? Parakeet Feeding & FAQs

Parakeet eating on its owners shoulder

Selecting the right food for parakeets ensures their health, happiness, and longevity. A balanced diet for these birds typically includes a variety of seeds, fruits, vegetables, and occasional protein sources. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything about a parakeet’s diet, including their daily meals and treats. We’ll also answer frequently asked questions about their dietary habits. Let’s start!

What Nuts and Seeds Can Parakeets Eat?

Parakeet eating a nut

Parakeets thrive on a varied diet that includes nuts and seeds. These foods are rich in proteins, essential fatty acids, and vitamins, which play an essential role in maintaining their feather health and energy levels.

Scientifically, nuts and seeds are known to mimic the natural foraging foods these birds would find in the wild, which contributes to a more natural and balanced diet.

Here are some nuts and seeds that are safe and beneficial for parakeets:

  • Millet
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Canary seed
  • Hemp seed
  • Flaxseed
  • Pine nuts
  • Almonds (shelled and unsalted)
  • Walnuts (shelled and unsalted)

It’s important to remember that while these nuts and seeds are healthy, they should only make up a small portion of your parakeet’s diet. Overfeeding these can lead to health issues due to high-fat content

Moreover, always ensure that nuts and seeds are unsalted and not seasoned, as additives can be harmful to parakeets. 

Fun Fact: The order Psittaciformes, which includes over 350 species of birds like parakeets, has a unique dietary feature. The size and muscularity of their gizzard play a considerable role in their diet. 

Parakeets with a highly muscular gizzard are well-equipped to process a seed-based diet, while those with a smaller gizzard might struggle.

What Fruits Can Parakeets Eat?

Fruits are another integral part of a parakeet’s diet as they offer not just variety but essential nutrients, too. The natural sugars found in fruits also provide a quick energy source for these active birds. 

Parakeets can safely enjoy these fruits:

  • Apples (without seeds)
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Berries (like strawberries and blueberries)
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Peaches

When giving fruits to your parakeets, remove any seeds or pits, as these can be toxic to them. 

Also, offer them alongside a base diet of seeds, nuts, and vegetables to ensure that your parakeet receives a well-rounded and nutritionally complete diet.

Check out this cool video of a parakeet eating fruits:

Feed your Budgie with Fresh Fruits | What Fruits Budgies can eat

What Vegetables Can Parakeets Eat?

Yellow budgie eating a slice of tomato

Vegetables are a vital component of a parakeet’s diet as they help maintain healthy digestion and prevent diseases. 

Different vegetables offer a range of benefits, such as carrots being high in vitamin A, which is important for eye health, and leafy greens offering calcium for strong bones.

Generally, parakeets can safely eat these vegetables:

  • Carrots (and carrot tops)
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini

Ensure that when you offer these vegetables to your parakeets, they are fresh, washed, and free from pesticides.

You should also incorporate a variety of vegetables into their diet since the different colors and types of vegetables can keep their mealtimes more enjoyable.

What Insects Can Parakeets Eat?

In the wild, parakeets occasionally consume insects, which provide them with protein and other nutrients not typically found in seeds and fruits. 

Offering insects to pet parakeets can mimic this natural feeding behavior and provide a source of animal protein.

Parakeets can safely eat these insects:

  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Small grasshoppers

Note that feeding parakeets with insects should be done cautiously. These should be sourced from reputable pet stores to ensure they are free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals. 

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Parakeet

Parakeet looking at a bunch of nuts and seeds

Certain foods can be toxic or harmful to parakeets. These include items that are part of our regular diet but are not suitable for a bird’s digestive system. 

That said, parakeets should never be fed the following:

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine (like coffee, tea, and soda)
  • Alcohol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Salt and sugary foods
  • Fruit seeds and pits
  • Raw beans

In the wild, certain parakeets selectively eat foods that are lower in fiber and phenolic compounds (a type of chemical defense in plants) but still contain measurable levels of toxicity

This indicates that parakeets may have a remarkable ability to consume and tolerate foods with natural toxins. However, this trait may not be as developed in captive parakeets. 

Hence, it’s crucial to avoid feeding captive parakeets foods that are toxic to them, as their tolerance for certain chemicals and their dietary needs can differ significantly from their wild counterparts.

What About Treats for Parakeets?

Treats for parakeets should be both nutritious and enjoyable. Ideal treats include fresh fruits, vegetables, and occasional nuts or seeds, which provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

These treats cater to their nutritional needs, offer mental stimulation, and satisfy their natural foraging instincts.

When feeding my pet parakeets, I try to offer a variety of treats that replicate what they would find in their natural habitat. 

What I have tried so far are small pieces of apple and pear, vegetables such as carrots or broccoli, and sunflower seeds. I find these treats effective in teaching them tricks, too!

How to Feed Your Parakeets

Conures eating seeds at the palm of its owner

Parakeets should be fed about two tablespoons of seed mix or pellets (per bird) on a daily basis. Try to establish a consistent feeding routine, ideally at the same times each day.

Freshness and cleanliness in their diet are also quite essential, so try to replace their seeds, pellets, and water daily to avoid spoilage and bacterial growth. 

Additionally, any fresh fruits or vegetables offered should be removed if uneaten after a few hours to keep the cage clean and hygienic.

You should also keep an eye on your parakeets’ eating habits. Changes in their appetite can indicate health problems. If they aren’t resolved naturally in a few days, head over to the nearest vet.

What Do Baby Parakeets Eat?

Baby parakeets, or chicks, primarily eat a special formula that mimics the regurgitated food they would receive from their parents. This formula is high in protein and essential nutrients. 

Feeding frequency is about every two to three hours, depending on the age of the chick.

As they grow, the frequency of feedings can gradually decrease. At around two weeks old, chicks can start to be introduced to softened seeds and pellets alongside the formula. 

This transition is a critical stage in their development because it helps them acclimate to the diet they will eat as adults.

By the time they are 4 to 6 weeks old, baby parakeets should be able to eat a diet similar to adult parakeets. 

This includes a mix of seeds, pellets, and small amounts of fruits and vegetables. It’s important to ensure these foods are appropriately sized and easy for the chicks to eat.

What Do Parakeets Eat in the Wild?

Green parakeet eating fruit in the wild

In the wild, a parakeet’s diet is diverse and varies based on its natural habitat. Typically, it consists of a variety of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, and occasionally insects. 

Seeds form the staple of a wild parakeet’s diet, particularly those from grasses and trees. These seeds are rich in carbohydrates and fats, which are crucial for energy. 

Fruits and berries also add essential vitamins and minerals to their diet. Wild parakeets often eat fruits that are ripe and readily available in their environment. 

Interestingly, parakeets also eat insects, although less common. The consumption of insects can vary based on the region and the specific species of parakeet. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Parakeet enjoying its snack while perched on a log

What Fruits Can Parakeets Not Eat?

Parakeets should avoid certain fruits that can be harmful to them. These include avocados, fruits with pits, like cherries, peaches, and plums, and apples and pears that still have seeds.

Can Parakeets Eat Human Foods?

Parakeets can eat some human foods but in moderation. Safe options include cooked rice, plain pasta, and whole-grain bread in small amounts. 

However, avoid foods high in salt, sugar, fat, or seasoning, as these can be harmful to parakeets. 

Can Parakeets Eat Bread?

Parakeets can eat bread, but it should be given sparingly and as a treat. Bread doesn’t offer much nutritional value to parakeets, so it should not be a significant part of their diet.

If you plan to give your parakeet bread, make sure it’s plain and without added sugar, salt, or seasonings. Whole grain or brown bread is also preferable over white bread. 

Can Parakeets Eat Strawberries?

Yes, parakeets can eat strawberries. They are a good source of vitamins and can be a tasty treat for your bird. 

However, strawberries should be given in moderation due to their sugar content. You should also wash them thoroughly to remove any pesticides or chemicals.

Can Parakeets Eat Eggs?

Parakeets can eat eggs, but they should be cooked, either boiled or scrambled, without any added salt, butter, or oil. 

Note, though, that eggs can only be offered occasionally. Moreover, you must ensure they are cooled to room temperature before serving them to your parakeet.

Scientific References

Gilardi, J. D. & Toft, C. A., Parrots Eat Nutritious Foods despite Toxins, National Library of Medicine (2012)

Koutsos, E. A., et al. Nutrition of Birds in the Order Psittaciformes: A Review, Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery (2001)

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