What Do Parakeets Usually Eat?

Parakeets are a unique kind of pet that can be difficult to care for if you have no idea what you are doing. A big part of caring for a parakeet is, of course, what to feed them!

So what should you be feeding your parakeet? Parakeets normally eat bird seed, pellets or grains, nuts, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Parakeets need a healthy balance of all of the foods listed above to keep a healthy diet. Many bird owners will only feed their Parakeets bird seed, but this will cause them to lack many of the vitamins and nutrients they need to stay in their top physical condition.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making sure your parakeet has the correct diet. If you are interested in a more in-depth guide to feeding your parakeet, then keep reading!

Good Bird Seed to Feed Your Parakeet

BrandCustomer Rating (out of 5)Price
Higgins Vita Seed (2.5 lbs)4.5$13.00
Hagen Budgie Seed (3 lbs)4$9.94
ZuPreem Seed (2 lbs)4.5$9.79

Many Budgie owners may believe that their bird can survive off seed alone, which is completely untrue. It is recommended that birdseed should only take up 10% of your parakeet’s diet according to The Nest.

That being said, parakeets still love bird seed, and it should still be a constant part of their diet. Some bird seeds are better than others though, so below I have listed several good types of store-bought food to give to your parakeet.

1. Higgins Vita Seed Parakeet Food

Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: $13 per 2.5 lbs bag

I chose this brand of parakeet seed because it has many added health benefits. It’s naturally preserved, has Probiotics, DHA, Omega 3, additional vitamins and minerals, and has no artificial colors or flavors. Higgins is a trusted brand and many Budgie owners report that their parakeets love this seed.

2. Hagen Budgie Seed

Customer Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Price: $9.94 per 3 lbs bag

I like this brand because it not only does it have good reviews, but it is also cheaper per pound than most other bird seeds I have found. It’s a good value for a lot of food! They air-clean their seeds so that there is no dust or seed coatings. Many owners appreciate this lack of dust because it means that there is less to clean up. The seed mixture is also full of parakeet favorites.

3. ZuPreem Sensible Seed Small Bird Food

Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: $9.79 per 2 lbs bag

I chose this seed because it contains not only seed, but pellets and dried fruits and vegetables as well. This will take care of your parakeet’s nutritional needs much better than mixes that just contain seeds.

Good Pellets to Feed Your Parakeet

Pellets are used as a seed substitute and provide more essential nutrients and vitamins that your parakeet won’t get from seeds alone. Pellets should be used as the main part of your parakeet’s diet since they provide most of the nutrients that your parakeet needs.

Pellets can be tricky for parakeets. Many parakeets are not used to eating pellets. Many seeds that you give your parakeet will have pellets mixed into them, but if you don’t slowly introduce pellets to your Parakeet they will most likely just eat around them.

BrandCustomer Rating (out of 5)Price
Mazuri Small Bird Food (2.5 lbs)4$19.95
Kaytee Fiesta for Parakeets (3 lbs)4$10.99
ZuPreem Natural (2.25 lbs)4$13.66

Below is a list of good Pellet brands to feed your Parakeet.

1. Mazuri Small Bird Food

Price: $19.95 per bag

Customer Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The thing that made this brand stand out to me the most is that it had no artificial colors or flavors, and also had many of the nutrients parakeets need. It also claims to be easier to digest than other bird pellets. One downside is it is all one color, which looks less appetizing to your bird. Many parakeet owners recommend mixing in colored seed to bring your parakeet’s attention to the food.

2. Kaytee Fiesta for Parakeets

Price: $10.99 per bag

Customer Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kaytee is a trusted brand for bird food and tends to be a favorite of bird owners of all kinds. The thing that made this type of pellet rank on the list is that it contains vitamins that not only help keep your parakeet healthy but pretty as well. It contains vitamins that keep your parakeet’s skin and feathers healthy and vibrant.

3. ZuPreem Natural for Small Birds

Price: $13.66 per bag

Customer Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I chose this brand because it is natural and doesn’t have any artificial colors or flavors. They are also smaller pellets that are easier to digest. These are good for parakeets who have a harder time eating larger pellets.

Below is a good way to get your parakeet to start eating more pellets instead of just seed, as it is healthier for them.

Week Mixture
15 parts seed, 1 part pellets
24 parts seed, 2 parts pellets
3half pellets, half seed
42 parts seed, 4 parts pellets

Chart information from Pet Helpful

Good Nuts to Feed Your Parakeet

Parakeets also enjoy eating a variety of nuts. Nuts are a great source of protein for these birds, but they should be given sparingly because they contai a very large amount of fat in them.

Here is a list of nuts that are good to give your Parakeet

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia
  • Pecan
  • Peanuts
  • Pistashios

Just make sure the nuts you give your budgie are raw and don’t have any added flavor to them. These added flavors or preservatives can be toxic for them. Also make sure you peel and wash any nuts that have shells to make it easier for your parakeet to eat.

If your parakeet is having trouble eating the nuts whole, you can crush them up and sprinkle them in their food, or in fruit and vegetable mixtures.

Fruits That Your Parakeet Can Eat

Fruits are very good for your parakeet because they have vitamins and antioxidants that help keep them healthy. They are also a good way to add variety to your parakeets’ diet, in addition to the average seed and pellets.

Fresh fruit should be given to your parakeet at least every other day, but if you can manage it, daily portions of fruit are recommended. Make sure you take out any seeds or pits that are in the fruit because these could be lethal to your bird.

Here is a list of some common fruits that your Parakeet will enjoy. Beyond this list though, parakeets will enjoy almost any kind of fruit.

Fruits high in Vitamin A:

  • Grapefruit
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Cantaloupe

Fruits high in Potassium:

  • Banana
  • Honeydew
  • Apricot

Fruits high in Vitamin C:

  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple

Fruits high in antioxidants:

  • Blueberry
  • Blackberry
  • Strawberry (in moderation)

Some of the fruits mentioned above such as blueberries and blackberries may stain your Parakeets droppings, but that is normal and isn’t a cause for concern.

Vegetables That Your Parakeet Can Eat

Similar to fruits, vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that are good for parakeet health. Just make sure that you are giving your parakeet fresh vegetables, since canned vegetables are stripped of their nutrients and have preservatives.

Same as fruit, vegetables should be given to your parakeet at least every other day, but daily if possible.

“Parakeets can eat many kinds of vegetables. Green leafy vegetable, such as kale, dandelions leaves, romaine lettuce, spinach, and sprouted seeds, provide your parakeet with numerous vitamins and minerals. Many contain vitamin A, which is important for a healthy parakeet. Your budgie will enjoy other vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash. “

The Nest

Treats to Feed Your Parakeet

Even though your parakeets will enjoy all the healthy and essential foods listed above, everyone enjoys a good treat from time to time! Treats shouldn’t be given to your Parakeet every day because they aren’t as healthy as their normal food. Treats should be given to your parakeet as a reward, and to add a little variety to their normal diet.

One of the most common treats are flavored seed sticks.

These can hang from their cage, or just be put in every once in a while. These not only provide your parakeet with a tasty snack but also keep them entertained as it allows them to peck at something and try to get the seeds off. These are sold in most major pet stores, and almost every pet store that sells birds.

Hard boiled eggs and crushed up eggshells or oyster shells are a good treat that provides protein, and also strengthens your parakeet’s bones.

Parakeets can also eat whole grains. This can include things such as whole grain toast (cut up in to small pieces) and even cooked whole grain pasta. These should be given in moderation as they can tend to be fattening, but whole grain is a good and nutritional treat.

Peanut butter smeared on celery sticks is also a fun and interesting option for your parakeet. Just make sure it is cut up into bite-sized pieces.

These are just a few examples of good treats for your parakeet. Of course, all parakeets are different, and some will have different preferences than others. Once you figure out what your parakeets prefer, you can cater treats according to their wants and needs.

Foods To Never Feed Your Parakeet

Just as there are many interesting foods your parakeet can eat, there are also many common foods that humans eat that can be lethal to your bird. It is always important to exercise caution before giving your parakeet a questionable food item.

Dr. Laurie Hess has comprised a very informational and helpful list of foods that could be dangerous to your Budgie. I have listed some of the ones she mentions below.

Avocados, caffeine, chocolate, salt, fat, fruit pits, apple seeds, onions, garlic, and Xylitol should be avoided at all costs.

One type of food that is very dangerous to parakeets is avocados. Avocados are one of the only fruits that parakeets can’t eat because is avocados contain Persin which is poisonous to parakeets.

They also should never have caffeine because it has also proven to be deadly. This includes soda, tea, coffee, or chocolate.

“We might think of offering sip of these tasty beverages to our pet birds, but even a sip or two of these drinks can be toxic to our feathered companions. Caffeine can increase heart rate, induce arrhythmias and hyperactivity, and even cause cardiac arrest in birds. So, avoid the caffeinated products, and opt for water or an occasional taste of fruit juice for your thirsty bird.”

Dr. Laurie Hess, Dipl ABVP (Avian Practice)

Also be sure to not give your parakeet any food that has been in your mouth, as human saliva can make parakeets sick.

Always exercise caution when giving your parakeet certain foods and do your research before just giving them something. Certain things that seem harmless to us could end up being lethal for your little friend.

Balancing Your Parakeets Diet

All of the above-mentioned foods need to be used together to create a full and healthy diet for your Parakeet.

“Giving your pet parakeet (also known as a budgerigar) a variety of food choices will help support a happy, healthy bird. Commercial foods can be supplemented with a variety of other foods to create a balanced parakeet diet. A balanced diet is likely to help your budgie live a longer, healthier life.”

Keri Gardner

It is recommended that seed only make up 10% of the diet, as it lacks many basic nutritional values that your Parakeet needs.

The majority of the diet should be made up of Pellets. Pellets are formulated to have the necessary vitamins and nutrients to help your parakeet stay healthy. Just make sure you choose a type of pellet that is rich in nutrients and will provide your parakeet with what they need. They should have constant access to their pellets as they need to be eating constantly throughout the day due to a fast metabolism. You can either keep refilling their bowl, or get an automatic feeder.

Fruits and vegetables should be given at least every other day, but if possible every day. These provide your parakeet with the antioxidants and vitamins that might otherwise be lacking with pellets alone.

Lastly, treats should be given rarely and only when you see fit. Around once or twice a week is usually best. These are not always necessary but can add extra benefits and variety to your parakeet’s diet.

Your parakeet will let you know what they like and what they don’t. Once you figure out your bird, you will be able to customize their diet to them specifically.

Related Questions

What do Parakeets eat in the wild? Parakeets in the wild eat fruits, a variety of seeds, berries, and vegetation. They feed near the ground, so they most often eat grass seeds. This is similar to what a domesticated parakeet should be fed.

How often should you feed your parakeet? Parakeets should have access to their food all the time. They have a very active metabolism and can get sick if they don’t eat often enough. Keep their food dish full with bird seed, or have an automatic feeder.

How long can a Parakeet go without food? Parakeets can not go longer than 24 hours without food. They have a very active metabolism, so they can get very ill after 24 hours with no food.

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