Parrot nutrition

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about the basics of keeping your parrot happy and healthy when it comes to food and nutrition.

Download a PDF copy of this guide.

Seeds vs pellets: Which is best for parrots?

In general, pellets provide a much better quality of nutrition for parrots than a seed mix diet does. Seed mixes are often made up of seeds which have been rejected from the human food chain for some reason; so are not usually a good quality grade of food.

Here are some things to be careful of when it comes to seed mixes:

  • Seed mixes are often stored inappropriately; so may contain fungal spores or other forms of contamination, which birds are very sensitive to.
  • They are also usually high in fat and deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Particularly those containing sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are extremely unhealthy for birds.
  • Many birds will selectively feed when fed on a seed diet, which means they will pick out the bits they like and leave the other bits. Think of it like providing a child with a buffet table of healthy and unhealthy foods and expecting them to choose a healthy meal.
  • With pelleted food, on the other hand, they don’t have the option to selectively feed.

What pellet foods do we recommend for birds?

One of our favourite pellet bird foods to recommend to owners is Harrison’s.

An image of the Harrison's bird food range.

Harrison’s food was created by a well-respected avian vet and is designed to provide birds with a fully balanced healthy diet.

All of the ingredients in Harrisons are 100% organic and of premium quality and it is recommended by many leading avian vets.

A good quality diet like Harrison’s will have benefits for your bird’s skin, respiratory
system, digestive system, reproductive system, and behaviour.

Find out more at Harrisons Bird Foods.

Transitioning your bird from a seed diet to pellets

It’s not always easy to convert a seed-loving bird onto pellets!

Take a look at Harrison’s guide to conversion to find some tips on how to convert them, along with a guide to which type of Harrison’s food is best for your bird.

If you really can’t get your bird to accept Harrison’s bird food then Lafeber makes good quality seed products which are top quality and nutritionally balanced.

We find that the nutriberries and avicakes are a great alternative or conversion tool, as they have healthy seeds and pellets!

What else can I feed my bird?  

It is also important to supplement any pellet or seed diet with a good selection of fruit and vegetables. Some good healthy fruit and veg to feed are listed below:  

  • Broccoli  
  • Cabbage  
  • Capsicum peppers  
  • Chillies  
  • Dandelion leaves  
  • Carrots  
  • Green beans  
  • Pumpkin  
  • Sweetcorn  
  • Kale  
  • Spinach  
  • Pomegranates  
  • Berries  
  • Apples  
  • Pears  
  • Oranges  
  • Cranberries  
  • Mango  
  • Papaya  
  • Nuts (particularly almonds, but avoid peanuts)

What should I not give my bird?  

There are some foods which are toxic to birds and some which are just very unhealthy:  

  • Anything fatty, greasy or salty  
  • Meat or bones  
  • Fresh tomatoes (they are too acidic)  
  • Mushrooms (can cause digestive problems)  
  • Onions and garlic (toxic, causing damage to blood cells)
  • Avocados (contains a toxin called persin)  
  • Chocolate (contains theobromine which is toxic to birds) 
  • Caffeine  
  • Rhubarb leaves  
  • Alcohol