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Can Parrots Eat Meat? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger

Raw meat plated on a wooden tablet

Vet approved

Dr. Ashley Darby Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

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

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Disclaimer: This article has been reviewed for factual accuracy by a qualified veterinarian, using information available at the time of publishing. Parrot owners are urged to consult with their veterinarian when making dietary decisions for their pet. This article is designed to provide general information but it does not take into account your pet’s health status or circumstances. 

Begging for food seems to be every pet’s specialty. If your parrot is eyeing the food you are preparing for yourself, it may be tempting to throw them a piece. If you’re cooking meat, it shouldn’t harm your parrot to give them a little piece. However, not all meats are healthy for your pet bird. And not all species of parrots will appreciate meat in their diet. To learn more about which meats are safe for your parrot and which aren’t, keep reading below.

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Providing a Healthy Diet for Your Parrot

In the past, many people thought that seed-only diets were appropriate for their parrots. In the modern day, we now know better. Seed-only diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies; therefore, pet owners only need to serve seeds as only part of a varied and nutritious diet. Some species of parrots need diets higher in seed content than others..

With “parrots” applying to numerous species of birds in the Psittaciformes order, there are a variety of different dietary requirements for parrots. Therefore, use this article as a general guide but make sure you check the ideal diet for your species of bird. Generally speaking, most parrots are omnivores, although insects, rather than animal meat, is a more common ingredient in their diets.

For most parrots, the bulk of a parrot’s diet should be a premium commercial pellet meal. This pellet food should be supplemental with fresh vegetables and fruits. Your parrot may also enjoy an occasional piece of meat, but before feeding it to them, you should ensure it is healthy for your pet.

Parrots eat rice on hand
Image Credit: nontarith songrerk, Shutterstock

Healthy Meats to Feed Your Parrot

If you plan to give meat to your parrot, you should limit their options to fish or lean meats. Lean meats like turkey and chicken are good options. When feeding meat to your parrot, make sure you only give them a small portion. Likewise, cook all meat thoroughly and let it cool down before feeding it to your pet. Baking, grilling, or boiling the meat is healthier than frying it.

Unhealthy Meats to Avoid

Not all meat is appropriate for your parrot to eat. Avoid meats that are high in fat or salt. This includes lunch meats, which are often high in sodium. Meat that has been fried, canned, or cooked with any seasoning or oil should not be given to your pet either. Serving meats high in fat can cause serious health consequences such as obesity, heart disease, and liver disease over time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

It isn’t always easy to decide what to feed your parrot. If you are uncertain whether your pet is receiving a proper and healthy diet, contact a trusted avian veterinarian for advice. In the meantime, you can look at the frequently asked questions below that may answer some of your concerns.

Which Toxic Foods Should You Avoid Giving Your Parrot?

In addition to fatty, salty meats, there are other toxic foods that your parrot should never be given.

  • Avocado: The avocado’s flesh, leaves, bark, stems, and seeds are all toxic for birds. Avocado contains a toxin known as persin, which can lead to heart complications, respiratory issues, and death in birds. Birds that eat avocados may show signs of toxicity within hours, and the consequences may be fatal before 48 hours.
  • Fruit seeds and pits: The seeds and pits of many fruits contain high levels of cyanide, making them dangerous for parrots. You have to be cautious when cutting up apples, apricots, plums, cherries, and peaches for your parrot since they have cyanide within their seeds or pits.
  • Chocolate: The combination of caffeine and theobromine in chocolate can lead to hyperactivity, seizures, and death.
  • Onions and garlic: Birds that eat onions or garlic may experience damage to their blood cells, kidneys, and liver.
  • Xylitol: While there is limited data on the effects of xylitol on birds, it is widely assumed to be unsafe for them due to how it affects other animals.

What Should You Do if Your Parrot Eats Something They Shouldn’t?

No matter how closely you supervise your pet, there is always a chance that they will snatch up something that they shouldn’t. If your parrot has eaten something that is not good for them, don’t attempt to induce vomiting.

While parrots can regurgitate, they cannot vomit, and trying to force them to do so will only make matters worse. If you know that your parrot has ingested something toxic, call your vet right away.

Some parrots will recover from eating toxic foods, and the amount that they consume can make a huge difference in their outcome. Still, receiving emergency treatment is essential for your parrot’s health.

The vet may want to know how much was ingested and any additional information about the food. If you have packaging from the food (such as a chocolate wrapper), bring it to the vet clinic so that your vet can examine the contents in greater detail. Your vet may also ask about your parrot’s deity, lifestyle, and general health to get a better picture of your pet’s condition.

What Should You Add to Your Parrot’s Diet?

An essential vitamin that should be included in your parrot’s diet is vitamin A. Vitamin A is vital to the immune system, and it is a common deficiency in pet birds.

To ensure that your parrot is receiving an adequate amount of vitamin A, provide them with a balanced and vitamin A-fortified pellet diet. You can also feed them fruits and veggies rich in vitamin A. For advice on providing vitamin A for your parrot, consult your vet.

Green Parrot eat grapes
Image Credit: rherecoach, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Many parrots are omnivores, and they can eat plants and meat, but check the dietary requirements for your pet’s species before offering. While meat is not as common in a parrot’s diet, it can still be fed to them as an occasional treat. Focus on lean meat or fish rather than fatty, salty meat. All meat fed to your parrot should be cooked plain and not fried, and it should contain no seasonings. While unseasoned meat may sound dull to you, to your bird, it is a healthy and delicious snack.

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Featured Image Credit: Michael Berlfein, Shutterstock

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