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Can Parrots Eat Apples? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

a small plate of sliced apples

Vet approved

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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An essential aspect of owning any pet is providing them with a healthy and balanced diet, and parrots are no different. There are over 400 species of parrot, and each species has its own nutritional profile.  Parrot species have a number of different feeding strategies that they fall into, including frugivores, florivores, granivores, nectarivores and omnivores, or a mixture of these. They require specific foods depending on their species.  Those that eat fruits will require a good variety, so it’s essential to know what you should and shouldn’t feed your parrot. So, what about apples? Are they safe for parrots?

Apples are indeed a safe and healthy fruit for parrots as long as you don’t offer the seeds. Provide them in moderation and as part of a varied diet.

Here, we discuss apples and parrots, including the best way to prepare them for your bird and the associated risks.

bird divider

A Bit About Apples

Apples are just about the most popular fruits in the world. It might surprise you to learn that they originated in Kazakhstan in Central Asia, and today, over 7,500 varieties are grown globally!

Apples can be red, green, pink, and yellow, and there’s even a deep purple apple variety (called the Black Diamond). They are baked in pies, made into jelly, added to salads, and used to elevate drinks and juices. They’re also just eaten as they are. Apples truly pack a nutritious punch!

apples
Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

Apple Nutrition

Apples are considered healthy fruits, which probably helps explain the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Let’s start with the basics. The following nutrition facts are for one raw medium-sized apple:

Calories: 94.6 kcal
Water: 156 grams
Protein: 0.43 grams
Carbs: 25.1 grams
Sugar: 18.9 grams
Fiber: 4.37 grams
Fat: 0.3 grams

Apples are quite high in carbohydrates and sugar, but even so, they have a low glycemic index.

Fiber

Apples are high in fiber, which is why they have a low glycemic index. Fiber can help with the digestibility of other nutrients.  It also supports the healthy bacteria in your parrot’s intestinal tract.

Water

Apples have high water content. One apple is roughly 85% water, so it’s great for hydration for your parrot.

Vitamin C

Apples contain a decent amount of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help protect your parrot from harmful free radicals. Vitamin C can also help with the absorption of iron and is needed for the formation of connective tissues.

Potassium

Apples contain potassium, a mineral that is essential for the function of the nervous system, muscle control, and maintaining a balance of the fluids in your parrot’s body.

lovebird parrot in cage at night
Image Credit: nadtytok, Shutterstock

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What Are the Risks of Feeding Apples to Parrots?

Sugar

Apples are high in sugar. While fiber helps reduce their glycemic index, too much sugar can still contribute to the development of obesity.

Overweight parrots are susceptible to certain health conditions, such as heart disease, fatty liver disease, arthritis, cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

Water

While having high water content is a good thing, it can be a bad thing if your parrot is eating too many foods with high water content.

A parrot that eats too much apple can experience digestive issues, specifically diarrhea, which can be a result of too much water.

Apple Skin

Apple skin is perfectly suitable for parrots to eat, but you must ensure the apple has been well washed to remove any chemicals and pesticides on the skin. However, there may be some chemicals that remain even after washing.

You can try peeling the apple first, but you’ll lose those healthy antioxidants. Another option is to purchase organic apples, which should be free from harmful chemicals, but this is not a guarantee, so you should still wash them first.

Apple Seeds

Giving apple seeds to your parrot is not recommended, as they contain cyanide. We can safely eat them in small amounts, but parrots have such small bodies, even a tiny amount can be fatal so it is not worth the risk.

Always ensure that you give your parrot a piece of apple without the seeds.

red-lored amazon or red-lored parrot (Amazona autumnalis)
Image Credit: Milan Zygmunt, Shutterstock

What’s the Best Way to Give Apples to Your Parrot?

Apples should be given in moderation and as part of a varied diet.  The amount that is safe to feed depends on the species of parrot you are caring for. Frugivores such as the Golden Parakeet (Aratinga guarouba) will be able to consume more fruit than granivores such as a budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus).

For the fruit component of your parrot’s diet, you should be feeding a wide variety of fruits, which also means they shouldn’t have apples every time. Give your bird a piece of apple no more than once or twice a week. You can feed a small parrot a few small chunks of apple, and a large parrot can likely eat half a small or medium-sized apple.

Remember to peel the skin if it’s not an organic apple, and always wash the apple. Vitally, always ensure that the seeds are removed before giving it to your bird.

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FAQ

Can Parrots Eat Crab Apples?

Crab apples are like regular apples, except tarter. Crab apples are safe for parrots, though some parrots might not enjoy them. If you want to give a crab apple to your parrot, give it a good wash, peel it if you’re uncertain about what might be on the skin, and remove the seeds.

Can Parrots Eat Applesauce?

If the applesauce is unsweetened and doesn’t contain any added ingredients, it’s fine to give it to your parrot. Ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, or cinnamon must be avoided.

The best applesauce would be homemade and organic, so you know exactly what’s in it. Commercially made applesauce should be avoided due to its extra additives, preservatives and sweeteners.

What Other Fruits Are Safe for Parrots to Eat?

Most fruits are quite safe for parrots to eat:
  • Apricots (remove stones)
  • Bananas (no peel)
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries (remove stones)
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes (aim for dark ones and in moderation)
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes (remove skin and pit)
  • Nectarines (remove pits)
  • Orange (seedless)
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches (remove stones)
  • Persimmons
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
Close up parrot budgerigar eats mandarin orange at home background
Image Credit: Kolotygin Igor, Shutterstock
The main foods and ingredients that you should never feed your parrot are:
  • Avocados
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Fatty foods
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Salt
  • Xylitol

Many of these are toxic and can be fatal if ingested by your bird.

bird divider

Conclusion

Apples are delicious and juicy and contain fiber, vitamin C, and other important vitamins, so they make a tasty and healthy snack for a parrot. Since they are sweet, most parrots love them. However, they should only be given a piece of apple a few times a week in addition to their usual vegetables and other fruits, to ensure variety.

As long as you wash them well and remove the seeds, apples are excellent treats for your parrot.


Featured Image Credit: Johannes Ziegler Photo, Shutterstock

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