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Can Parrots Eat Cranberries? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

cranberries in wooden bowl

Vet approved

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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It’s no secret that our parrots love their fruits! From apples to bananas, these birds can seriously chow down on some yummy pieces. But, like anything else, not all fruit is compatible with our feathery friends.

If they can’t have just anything, are parrots able to eat cranberries? If so, how much and are there any health benefits? The solid answer is yes, your parrot can have fresh cranberries in moderation. In this article, we will discuss how to serve these tiny, sour fruits to your bird.

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Parrots Can Have Cranberries

Firstly a quick note about parrots. The word parrot applies to hundreds of different species of bird and to understand their diets and preferences you will need to research the particular species of parrot that you have. In this article we will discuss parrots in general.

According to Jill Patt, DVM, of Alta Mesa Animal Hospital in Arizona, cranberries make a highly nutritional treat for birds, giving them a boost of antioxidants that can help with immunity, among other things.1 Certain birds can particularly benefit, such as African greys, as the antioxidants in cranberries can help combat common diseases such as coronary artery disease.

Your parrot’s diet should be made of about 70-80% of a commercial pellet food. The other 20-30% can be fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. With this in mind, cranberries should always be an added supplemental food rather than a main course. So, portions are important. Remember, cranberries are high in sugar, so you should avoid large quantities and focus on making them an occasional treat. If you have any questions on the proper quantity to feed your parrot, speak to your veterinarian.

Cranberries May Have Health Benefits for Your Parrot

Amazon parrot eating cranberries
Image Credit: Stanislav71, Shutterstock

Here are some of the amazing health benefits of cranberries to possibly help your parrot improve overall wellness.

  • Antioxidants: Cranberries have major antioxidants that can boost immunity and reduce free radicals in the body.
  • Manganese: Manganese may help with growth, metabolism, and overall health.
  • Copper: Copper in the diet may efficiently help to improve overall heart health.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is one of the major antioxidants in cranberries and may improve immunity, healing, and heart health.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K is responsible for blood clotting in the body.

On top of all these nutrients, cranberries have been linked to better urinary health. Because they are so cram-packed with antioxidants, they might also prevent certain diseases from occurring.

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Different Forms of Cranberry

You can feed your parrot fresh or dried cranberries, but there are certain things to consider for both forms. Let’s take a peek.

Fresh

Fresh cranberries are the obvious choice to serve parrots. Fresh selections have all of the nutrients fully intact and provide the highest nutritional benefit for your parrot. However, you might find that your parrot is a little less interested in this variety because fresh cranberries tend to have a very bitter flavor.

Dried

You can buy organic dried cranberries with no additives for parrots. However, you have to be very careful about portions since dried cranberries have a higher concentrated sugar content. To ensure there are no additional additives, you may make your own dried cranberries at home in an oven or dryer.

glass bowl of dried cranberries or craisins in kitchen
Image Credit: Duplass, Shutterstock

How to Serve Cranberries

You can offer your parrot organic cranberries fresh or dried without added sugar. Make sure they are clean and washed to remove any parasites, toxins, or film, as birds can have sensitive gastrointestinal systems.

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The 3 Forms of Cranberry That Are No Good for Parrots

Even though you can feed your parrots fresh cranberries from October to December, you should steer clear of some other forms. Here are some other common ways you can find cranberries, along with reasons as to why these aren’t the best options for our parrot companions.

1. Dried Cranberries with Added Ingredients

If you choose to feed your parrot dried cranberries, make sure to dry them yourself at home or buy bird-specific seed mixes that contain dried cranberries. Commercial dried cranberries for humans tend to have a lot of extra additives, like sulfites, that can be unhealthy for your parrot friend.

Dried cranberries might seem like a very sensible thing to give your parrot. After all, they are simply cranberries that have been dried and preserved. However, dried cranberries have a high concentration of sugar in them, which can upset your parrot’s digestive tract. The extra calories from sugar can also lead to other tricky things like obesity, so moderation is key.


2. Cranberry Salad/Desserts

Parrots do not need anything else outside of their regular diet to stay healthy. Cranberry salads and desserts are usually loaded with sugar and other additives that parrots cannot eat. You’ll also want to steer clear of cranberry sauce and jelly for the same reasons.


3. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is another highly concentrated form of cranberry that often uses added sugars, sometimes dyes, and other preservatives. According to experts, cranberry juice should never be a part of your parrot’s diet – water only, please.

cranberry-juice
Image Credit: Piqsels

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Conclusion

So now you know that parrots can have fresh cranberries in moderation. They can also have bird-specific dried cranberries, especially if they are in a mix made specifically for parrots. Cranberries have an abundance of antioxidants that can possibly provide a lot of value to your bird’s overall system.

Cranberries might not be their favorite thing to eat, but some will really enjoy them. It’s always best to add some fresh fruits into their diet.


Featured Image Credit: Gita Kulinitch Studio, Shutterstock

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