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Can Parrots Eat Oatmeal? Vet-Reviewed Health Guide

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

Oatmeal

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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It’s no secret that our parrots love grains. So, of all of the terrific grains they have to choose from, are they allowed to enjoy oatmeal? The answer seems to be a resounding yes, from all the sources that we could find!  Parrots can enjoy oatmeal in moderation. However, there are some things to consider. We’re going to go over all of the details in this article.

bird divider

Oats vs. Oatmeal: Is There a Difference?

You might think that oats and oatmeal are one and the same. After all, when you go to the grocery store, you usually see the word oatmeal a lot in the oat section. The difference between oatmeal and oats is that oats are completely raw and unprocessed, natural, and unrefined.

For example, steel-cut oats or all-natural whole oats are the types of oats we’re talking about. However, when you see oatmeal, these oats have been rolled, processed, cut, and prepared so they can cook quickly.

A lot of times, people don’t understand the difference. Still, we want to explain that raw, untouched oats are likely to be better for your parrot than oatmeal, and they contain several vitamins and minerals that are crucial for their well-being. However, parrots can still eat oatmeal in moderation, and parrots can gain several benefits from eating both oats and oatmeal.

oat milk in a glass on wooden table
Image Credit: Naumenko, Shutterstock

Vital Nutrients in Oats and Oatmeal for Birds

  • Protein—essential for growing strong feathers and muscles.
  • Fiber—keeps digestion on par
  • Fat—provides an energy source
  • Vitamin B1 (Niacin)—critical for metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins
  • Vitamin B3 (Thiamin)—needed for the health of the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
  • Calcium—aids in strong bonesand feathers
  • Iron—needed to manufacture hemoglobin for oxygen transportation through the bloodstream.
  • Magnesium—helps with brain, nerve, and digestive health. Essential for calcium cycles also.
  • Manganese—helps to regulate metabolism, immune function, tissue growth and reproduction.
  • Phosphorous—linkedwith calcium to form strong bones
  • Potassium—aids in muscle maintenanceand movement

Downsides of Oatmeal for Parrots

Oatmeal and raw oats are nutritious, but there are a few possible downsides, which we’ve outlined below.

Nutritional Imbalance

If you give your parrot too much oatmeal on a regular basis, it can have a negative impact on their health. That isn’t because oats themselves are unhealthy, but it is simply because your bird needs a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables along with their commercial diet to stay healthy.

If they’re overly keen on oatmeal and would eat it in preference to their parrot pellets, it should be offered only once your parrot has eaten its pellets, so that it doesn’t fill up on oats and then ignore the pellets.  Pellets carry the necessary nutrition the parrot needs.

oat milk in a glass and pitcher
Image Credit: Alter-ego, Shutterstock

Personal Dislike

Some parrots just might not like the taste of oatmeal. While this doesn’t happen often, it’s perfectly fine if they don’t like oatmeal. They don’t have to have it if they don’t like it.

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Can All Parrots Eat Oatmeal?

All types of parrots, from large birds such as Macaws, African Greys, and Amazon Parrots, to small ones such as Lovebirds and Parrotlets, should be able to eat oatmeal safely. However, it’s important to keep in mind that smaller parrot species should not eat as much oatmeal as their large parrot counterparts.

Before ever introducing a new food into your parrot’s diet, regardless of species, you need to consult your veterinarian. They can review any questions or concerns and recommend portions based on the bird’s species, weight, and age.

Organic homemade Granola Cereal with oats and almond
Image Credit: Fascinadora, Shutterstock

Can Parrots Have Flavored Oatmeal?

Because there are so many unknown ingredients in flavored oatmeal, you should completely steer clear of this for your birds. Flavored oatmeal can have a number of artificial dyes, preservatives, chemicals, and other compounds that won’t agree with your bird’s digestive system and can lead to a very ill feathery friend.

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Preparing Oats and Oatmeal for Parrots

You can prepare oatmeal in several ways for your parrot companions—and you can change it up occasionally. You will quickly learn what your birdies approve of and what they could do without.

Fresh Oats

Fresh oats can be given to parrots just as they are. They contain the highest nutritional value because they have not undergone any chemical change. Your birds will love plucking away at the tasty treats.

Soaked Oatmeal

Soaked oatmeal gives a little extra hydration to the gut, and you don’t have to take the time to cook it. Plus, it might make it easier for some birds to eat.

Oatmeal
Image Credit: jmexclusives, Pixabay

Cooked Oatmeal

While slightly less nutritious, parrots can also consume cooked oatmeal, permitting there are no additional ingredients. Cooked oatmeal should always be plain.  You should be wary that cooked oatmeal has the potential to clog up the nostrils of smaller parrots, so raw oats are safer.

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Conclusion

Now, you can integrate oatmeal as a part of your parrot’s daily diet. You know to portion it correctly based on your parrot’s weight and overall size. Species matter, too, so always consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your parrot’s diet.

Oats can be incredibly nutritious—full of vitamins, minerals, and fats that are beneficial to your parrot’s health. We say yes to oats!


Featured Image Credit: TanteTati, Pixabay

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