Who doesn’t love the taste and texture of a sweet, juicy watermelon on a hot summer day? Watermelon happens to be a healthy snack that far supersedes treats like ice cream and even shaved ice when it comes to nutrient availability.
We know that watermelon is good for humans, but can parrots enjoy it too? Is watermelon healthy or even safe for them to eat? The short answer is that yes, parrots can eat a small amount of watermelon as part of a healthy balanced diet. Keep reading to learn more!
The Benefits of Feeding Watermelon to Parrots
While watermelon is composed of around 90% water and so is good for hydration, it does also contain some nutritional benefits including:
- Fiber: Fiber is important to ensure a properly functioning digestive tract.
- Vitamin A: This vitamin is crucial for the health of a parrot’s immune system. It’s also important for eyesight and feather health.
- Vitamin C: Watermelon is high in vitamin C. Although parrots can make their own vitamin C, providing additional sources in the diet may give a boost to the immune system in parrots that are unwell or recovering from illness.
- Potassium: This trace mineral is involved in metabolism and important for muscle contractions, nerve signals and fluid balance.
- Phosphorus: This mineral is necessary for proper bone growth and formation.
The Concerns of Feeding Watermelon to Parrots
Parrots can safely eat both the flesh and the seeds of a watermelon, but the rind can easily absorb toxins from pesticides that cannot be washed away.
Watermelon, like all fruits, contains natural sugars and overconsumption can lead to weight gain and obesity, especially in pet parrots. The lifestyle of pet parrots is much less active than their wild relatives, who will spend much of the day flying. This is why the usual recommendation is that all fruits should be an occasional treat for pet parrots.
How Much Watermelon to Feed Your Parrot
It is important to note there are many different species of parrots and their nutritional needs will depend on what they would naturally eat in the wild. While fruit, including watermelon, does have nutritional benefits, it should generally not make up more than about 5% of their overall diet. As a rough guideline the rest of their diet should consist of around 75% veterinary- approved commercial pellets, 15-20% vegetables, and 5-10% nuts and protein.
We recommend consulting with an exotic or avian vet to formulate the correct diet plan for your parrot to keep them healthy and happy.
How Should Watermelon Be Fed to Parrots?
Remove the rind to avoid any pesticides or chemicals, and then you can feed your parrot small slices or chunks of watermelon that you cut with a knife or pinch off with your fingers. Different parrots may have preferences on how you serve it, but most will eat it just about any way! Be ready to clean up the mess after they have finished eating it to avoid it spoiling or rotting.
Can Parrots Eat Other Types of Fruit?
Parrots can eat various fruits, including apples (no seeds), bananas, berries, kiwis, and pomegranates. Keep in mind that any fruit that your parrot eats should make up no more than about 5% of their overall diet.
Can Parrots Eat Cooked Fruit?
Parrots can eat steamed or boiled fruits like they can fresh fruit if no added sugars or additives are included. But there is no benefit to cooking fruit for a bird to eat. They would prefer to eat it fresh, and fresh fruit offers better nutrition because vitamins and minerals do not have an opportunity to be cooked out.
Parrots can safely eat watermelon as a small part of their balanced diet, and in rotation with other safe fresh foods. Occasionally offering watermelon provides variety and enrichment for your parrot, is a hydration boost and contains some other beneficial nutrients for them to take advantage of. If you’re unsure of how much watermelon, if any, is right for your parrot, contact your veterinarian for expert guidance and advice for your species of parrot.