Becoming a pet parent can be analogous to having human children in certain respects. For one thing, you might find yourself asking very mundane yet highly specific and important-in-the-moment kinds of questions for which you have no immediate answers. A fair percentage of those questions might be along the lines of “can my pet eat this?”
If you are a parakeet owner, the answers can be even less intuitive than those for a cat or a dog. But if your question today is about the parakeet diet and, in particular, whether parakeets can eat oranges, you are in luck! This article is for you.
Can Parakeets Eat Oranges?
Yes! Pet experts recommend feeding oranges and other fresh fruits to parakeets. Parakeets enjoy oranges as part of a varied diet that provides them all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and as a sweet treat. However, because fruits like oranges are high in sucrose, you must be careful not to overfeed oranges and other sugary foods.
Can Parakeets Eat Orange Seeds?
Can Parakeets Eat Orange Seeds? Yes, orange seeds are safe for Parakeets to digest, as are other citrus seeds like grapefruit or lemon seeds.
When you shop for parakeet food in the pet food store, mainly it is loaded with seeds so it seems natural that fruit seeds would be alright for parakeets. In most cases this is true, but it is still tricky sometimes to know what is safe and what is not.
Other types of safe-to-eat seeds include those from:
Pumpkin and squash seeds are examples of non-fruit seeds that are also okay.
The fruit seeds that you must NOT feed to a parakeet are apple seeds. Neither can you allow them to chew on fruit pits such as those from nectarines, peaches, cherries, plums, etc. All of these contain cyanide, which can be fatal to a parakeet even in small doses.
What Should I Feed A Parakeet?
What Should I Feed A Parakeet? Parakeets can and should eat a wide variety of food. Birdseed can supply much of their diet, but it is still not enough. Complementing their feed with fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and other foods will ensure that they receive enough of the nutrients they need to be healthy.
Oranges, as we now know, make a great snack for parakeets. Beyond that, the list of edible fruits is quite long. This is not surprising considering parakeets are a species of parrot, and they originate from the tropics of Australia where fleshy, sweet fruits and berries are naturally available to them.
Some common fruits you can feed to your parakeet besides oranges include apples, bananas, mangos, apricots, melons, pineapples, and coconuts. Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are also appropriate.
Fresh vegetables are an equally important component of your parakeet’s diet as fruits. They contain a rich array of vitamins and other nutrients, so it pays to switch up what you are feeding even within this category.
Leafy greens like kale, lettuce, spinach, and sprouts are an excellent source of Vitamin A, E, K, and C. They also provide your parakeet vital doses of fiber, calcium, and zinc. Here is a list of some other veggies that are good options for parakeets:
A word of caution: certain plant tops like those of potatoes can be hazardous to your parakeet, so be sure to only feed the parts humans normally eat.
If you were wondering about beans, good news! Beans represent a great source of protein and fiber for parakeets, however, you should only feed parakeets beans that are cooked. Raw beans are unfortunately toxic to them.
As with humans, nuts are an easy and delicious health food option for parakeets. You will need to get them chopped to avoid choking dangers; but the most common kinds that you can get at the grocery store like walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, and pistachios are fine for birds.
Parakeets are in fact granivores, which helps to explain why many commercially available parakeet feeds are entirely seed-based. You can feed them other sources of grains as well like pieces of whole-grain bread and dried rolls as long as you break them up into small chunks.
Pellets are another common parakeet feed. They are a potentially viable everyday food alternative to birdseed for your parakeet as long as you take care to get a high-quality brand such as those sold in pet stores.
Who doesn’t love a good treat every once in a while? Your parakeet certainly does! With so many things that they can (and cannot) eat, it might feel confusing to try to guess which little-something-extra can be shared with them. Luckily, we have a few ideas to inspire you:
-Millets are a tried-and-true bird treat. These are made from seed grasses and you can hang them from the bars of the cage.
-Pasta is beloved by parakeets whether cooked or dry. It is dense in carbohydrates, which gives them energy. Just be sure to let it cool and make the hard pieces small enough to eat.
-Honey is certainly a sweet treat that is bird-appropriate. However, because it is very high in sugar, only a small amount should be fed every once in a while.
-Other human foods make the cut that might surprise you. Baby food is one such example, but you should only use the vegetable-based kind made entirely with natural ingredients. Certain proteins, like cooked chicken, canned tuna, corn, and hard-boiled eggs may also be fed sparingly.
What Not to Feed
The list of things that you should not feed your parakeet is almost as long as what you should. The most toxic foods to be avoided are:
- Sugar-free candy
- Foods high in sugar, sodium, or fat
- Certain plants (make sure you know what you are feeding before you serve it)
Peanut products are also discouraged as are dairy, mushrooms, crackers, and tomatoes. These foods may not necessarily be extremely toxic, but they might make your parakeet sick or simply offer them no nutrition.
How Should I Feed A Parakeet?
How Should I Feed A Parakeet? How you feed your parakeet is almost as important as what you feed it. Most crucial is to make sure that the food is in small enough pieces or breaks up easily (so the parakeet does not choke), it is not served hot, and it is not fed too often if too large a quantity presents a health threat.
Keep It Bite-Sized (For A Bird!)
Parakeets can nibble certain foods with their small beaks, but many treats we want them to enjoy are overly tough, near impossible, or even dangerous for them to try to chew apart on their own. Quite often, it is a good idea simply to cut fruits, veggies, and other snacks into bite-sized pieces. For a parakeet, this is equivalent to about a fingertip’s worth.
Harder foods like nuts should be diced up even smaller. Parakeets have tiny throats, stomachs, and internal organs, so it would be easy for them to choke or develop an impaction, which could quickly become life-threatening.
Not Too Much Sugar
Oranges and other sweet treats can be very healthy for parakeets, as we have discussed. However, the everything-in-moderation rule applies here. Oranges are of course rich in Vitamin C and very hydrating, but they are quite sugary as well.
While some experts recommend about half a cup of fruits and vegetables per day, others caution to limit feeding sugary fruits to parakeets closer to twice per week.
Only Fresh Stuff
It is only appropriate to feed fruits and vegetables to your parakeet while fresh. Remove any uneaten waste from the cage at the end of the day to prevent it from spoiling and making your bird sick. Also, avoid giving parakeets any canned, preserved, or processed fruits as the additional ingredients and sugars are not healthy for them.
Make It Interesting
Life in a cage can get very boring. Besides good nutrition, the other reason to give parakeets a variety of food choices is just that the same food every day does indeed bore them and dulls their lives and their attitudes.
You can alleviate the possibility of boredom even further by changing up the way that you feed them to make it more challenging or turn it into a thinking exercise. You might accomplish this by hanging pieces of food in different parts of the cage and/or making a kabob out of the fruit and vegetable pieces.
Not Too Hot
Parakeets like eating warm fruit so you might consider heating it before serving it to them; but whether you are heating food up or serving food freshly cooked, be sure that it is only so warm.
Hot foods can burn their tongues and throats just like people, but while it might mean a temporary discomfort for us, burns from food could potentially grievously injure a parakeet.
While general articles like this one should not be equated to veterinary advice from a professional, we have summarized here much of the common knowledge concerning parakeet diets and feeding requirements. Certainly, oranges are fed to their birds by parakeet owners everywhere every day, so you should feel confident feeding this fruit to your parakeet.
Just remember to prepare oranges well for easy consumption, moderate the amount given, and then enjoy as your parakeet delights in the thoughtful treat you have given him!