If you own a parrot, then you know how serious they are about their nuts. With the market flooded with different types of nuts, which ones are safe and which ones aren’t? We look at the best parrot nuts and how they help your parrot.
Nuts have nutritional value for your parrot but when it is had in excess then it can turn into a bad thing. Nuts have a high concentration of fat and therefore giving your parrot excess nuts can lead to obesity. Aside from obesity, feeding your parrots a nut based diet will lead to serious nutrient deficiencies. For these reasons, they have to be taken in moderation.
You might think of giving your parrot nus the way you prefer to eat them, and that is roasted, salted or even blanched but this could be a fatal mistake. Parrots are animals that belong in the wild and so therefore their food should be as close to their natural diet as possible.
Here are a few of the safest nuts you can give to your parrot.
Type of Nut
Fat Content (grams) per ounce
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Almonds are a great treat for parrots as they are packet with natural benefits such as calcium, fiber, protein and zinc. These nuts are great for both your parrots and you as well as they been proven to lower the risk of getting heart problems.
The health benefits found in just 1 ½ oz handful of almonds contains vitamin E as well as magnesium and provides potassium, phosphorus, protein, iron and fiber. Among America’s most popular nuts, almonds are the leading source of monounsaturated fat with 64% of this monounsaturated fat being present in the 14 grams’ total fat.
In case you’re wondering whether the monounsaturated fat is okay, it actually is as it reduces the harmful cholesterol that many are weary of.
- Protein, calcium and dietary fiber
- Can be sprouted where you soak it for 8 – 12 hrs.
Cashew nuts are undoubtedly a favorite with people and so it’s not shocking to find them here on our list. They are highly nutritious and are high in fiber, protein and healthy fats. They, like the almonds contain healthy fats i.e. monounsaturated fats that are essential in reducing levels of cholesterol. We know that overfeeding your parrots with nuts can cause obesity. Going for such treats are therefore a good option as you don’t have to overly stress.
They are rich in vitamin E and provide the necessary to fight off any toxins. They contain important minerals such as magnesium, iron and phosphorus as well as potassium, selenium and zinc. These can be good treats for your parrot and you can serve them dry or you could soak them as either way, they are bound to make for a happy parrot.
- Can be fed dry or soaked where soaking is for 2.5 hrs
- Low proportion of fats
- Trace minerals zinc and copper in high amounts
- Serve them as de-shelled as the shells contain toxins when fresh
Hazel nuts are a safe option to feed to your parrots as they have important befits containing high levels of phosphorus, fiber, iron, vitamins B1, B2, C and E, protein, magnesium, and so much more. Feeding parrots on purely seed based diets is dangerous as they miss out on important nutrients. However, if you’re going to combine buts with their normal diets, then quality nuts have to be sourced.
They contain a high number of monounsaturated fat as nearly 91% of the fat is these healthy fats and under 4% is saturate fat. This is a good balance as it reduces the chances of your parrot suffering obesity are 91% less likely.
- High levels of protein
- High in nutrients like manganese, magnesium copper, vitamin E and thiamine
Macadamia nuts are a reminder of great childhood memories for most of; having to look for smooth rocks to place the macadamias so as to crush them to relieve the white nutrient packed goodness. This might be the same experience for the Macaws as they love macadamia nuts.
Seeing as the shell is extremely hard, we advise you use a nut cracker that’s been designed specifically for macadamias and spare your parrot the horror of trying to crush them themselves. They are a rare commodity and require special attention when it comes to storage.
Macadamia nuts are best stored in open containers in room temperature. If you prefer to freeze these nuts well but make sure you pick the enough amount you need to use immediately as the nuts, go bad when exposed to moisture.
- High in fats, low in protein
- Serve de-shelled as shells contain toxins when fresh
Walnuts are a must have if you parrot especially macaws. You can serve them in their shell as the bird will enjoy cracking open these nuts in order to reveal all that crunchy goodness in there. They are rich in omega 3 and protein which are all good nutrients needed in the body.
As there are a few types of walnuts, you want to get your parrot English Walnuts are their outer shell is much thinner than that of the black walnuts. This basically to make it easier for your parrot to crack through the shell. Black walnuts are also not worldly cultivated and they generally grow wild. So keep in mind the English walnut as a high quality treat for your parrots.
If you aren’t sure whether the walnuts are fresh or not, ensure you crack through the shell yourself to ensure that there is no mold in the nuts. Mold is dangerous as it could lead to aspergillosis which is basically a fungal infection that affects the lungs, eyes, ears as well as sinuses. Feeding can be done either dry or soaked for roughly 4 hours.
- Can be fed dry or soaked for 4 hrs
- Crack the shell of walnuts to check for mold
Pecans are nuts that are quite small in appearances but they jam packed with nutrients and are a delicious treat for your parrots. With just one serving, it provides a lot of benefits such as protein, essential antioxidants and dietary fiber. The antioxidants fight of toxins that could be introduced in the body without your knowledge.
Pecan nuts are also essential because they have oleic acid plus the monounsaturated fat which is obtained from fatty fish as well as salmon. This fat is crucial in maintaining the right functioning of the cardiovascular system.
Some of the other nutrients in this treat should you use it, are Vitamin A and E, and zinc ensuring that general health is improved and not destroyed. You can feed it to your parrot dry or you could soak it for 4 – 6 hours.
- Can be served dry or soaked for 4-6 hrs
- Has protein, zinc as well as Vitamins A and E
Pistachios are a good choice for your parrots as they contain all sorts of nutrients from the dietary content, antioxidants, protein, among others. They should be fed as they are as the parrot will enjoy cracking the shell to get its reward.
They are a safe option as they are low in fats and high in B-complex vitamins which is responsible for converting the food into energy strengthening the immune system. Levels of phytosterols are present and these are basically antioxidants-like compounds that have been seen to lower cholesterol meaning that your parrot doesn’t risk gaining weight.
Amino acids such as L-arginine which improves blood flow are present as well as protein and this is important as the balance of these varying nutrients is a good balance and boost to the diet that you have your parrot on.
- Low in fats
- Store in freezer/ cool dry place
- They go rancid if stored in hot, humid conditions
Brazil nuts are a delicacy for the macaw, parrot pine, cockatoo among other parrots as they come packed with calcium, zinc, iron, selenium among others. Selenium is an antioxidant that is very powerful and is essential in stimulating the immune system.
These nuts contain roughly 2,500 times more selenium than is present in any other nuts. They are also a great source for fiber and protein and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus and iron.
- Highest magnesium content
As we were looking at the various types of nuts, there was a lot of shelled and de-shelled talk so let us briefly look at the two ways in which the nuts can be fed to the parrots.
Having the nut in a shell can be a bit complicated for you in trying to discover the quality of the nut. However, it’s not always easy to crack every shell as some of the larger birds prefer to take this task into their own hands. For that reason, here are a few things to for when going for the unshelled nut:
- Carefully, consider the shell in the packaging of the nuts. Should you find a cracked shell, ensure you dispose of it as it shows that the nut inside the shell has been exposed to the air and high probability is that it is harboring bacteria inside.
- If you also see mold or anything that looks like fungus on the shell, then think twice and dispose of the whole package. If you find these signs on one shell, then it means the same thing that is there, is in every other shell which basically means that the contamination is in the nut. You don’t want to feed your parrot with things that could easily lead to their demise.
- When you buy a package of nuts, randomly open up some of the nuts to check whether they are good or not. Should you come across this nut, you will definitely know it. Since this method is not efficient, keep an eye out when your parrot is eating the nuts to check what it is that they pull out of the shells. The shells can look alright from the outside but in them the nuts are rancid.
Telling the quality of shelled nuts is a lot easier than it is with unshelled nuts but all the same, here are some things to look out for in good quality nuts:
- There should consistency in color in the meat inside as any dark areas or spots is an indicator of a rotten nut.
- The nut shouldn’t be dry or brittle. What you do is take the nut and squeeze it between your fingers and see if it will break leaving traces of oil on your finger. If this happens then the nut is a high quality nut; if not, dispose of it.
- Don’t use your nose to try and smell out whether a nut is rancid or not. You could just have horrible sniffing and end up disposing of quality nuts and there this method is not to be used.
- Your parrot knows what is good and what isn’t and if you should therefore notice that it’s not eating the nuts, then a high probability is that there is something wrong with them.
- Don’t be afraid to try it yourself. If a nut is stale, it won’t have a horrible taste as it will be just stale so take one for the team and ensure your bird’s safety.
Nuts are no doubt a delicacy to parrots and therefore they can be used as treats or snacks. When it comes to feeding them nuts, it is important to note the following:
- Parrots belong to the wild and their diet should be as close to the wild as possible. Don’t feed your parrot salted or animal grade nuts. The reason for choosing human grade nuts is because human grade nuts are high quality nuts packed with essential nutrients needed for the parrot. They also have a lower risk of having mold as they don’t stay long on shelves compared with the animal grade nuts.
- Larger parrots should have their nuts in a shell for them to break it because it encourages foraging activity. For smaller parrots, get them the shelled nuts.
- Due to the high levels of protein and fat in the nuts, it is advised that you feed the parrots at least one or two nuts a day. For the macaws however, they use up more energy and can therefore take in more nuts as they require the fat.
- You should feed the nuts sparingly to any chronic egg laying birds as the nuts encourage good breeding behavior. This is due to the high protein and fat present.
We have emphasized so much on knowing the quality of the nuts before they are fed to your parrot because quite literally, ignoring the quality could lead to the death of your parrot. The one significant way to ensure the nuts are of high quality, is to buy the human grade nuts, as we had mentioned earlier. The risks are lower of running into trouble with them.
Mold is the killer factor. Ensure that there is no mold present in any of the nuts you will buy for your parrot. If possible try going for transparent packaging that can allow you to see through to avoid buying, getting home only to discover the whole bunch is rotten and you end up throwing away money.
Birds do get obese and therefore, checking the fat content of the nuts will be highly essential. Looking at what comprises the fat present is also key because it will let you know if the monounsaturated fat is more than the saturated fat or the saturated fat is more. You want to avoid any nuts containing more saturated fat as this is the unhealthy kind that just sits in your parrots’ body. Looking for nutrients that break down the fat into energy. On our least for example, the macadamia nut contains the highest percentage of fat per ounce, at 21.5 grams.
Frequently Asked Question
Are Almonds good for African Grey parrots?
Yes, they can. The African Grey parrots like most species enjoy their nuts. It is good to switch up the nuts however just to get a sense of what your parrot prefers and what he doesn’t. Ensure as well that you regulate he intake of nuts to avoid them from getting obese.
What do quaker parrots eat?
Quaker parrots enjoy a variety of nuts such as brazil nuts, pecans, almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts and pistachios. They aren’t that picky when it comes to what they enjoy which is a great thing because they get the benefits from the different nutrients to be had in every nut.
Can Eclectus parrots eat walnuts>
Yes, they can. What many people fail to realize is that eclectus parrots are not seed eaters and therefore feed them like they do the African Grey parrots and others. Eclectus parrots love native fruits, berries and nuts. So be sure to treat your eclectus parrot to more fruit, berry and nut than seeds. They might eat the seeds but they would prefer and benefit from their original diet.
As we wrap it up, it’s good to be in the know of the best parrot buts as it isn’t just about feeding your parrot nuts. It’s about carefully picking out high quality, low fat and high nutrients nuts to give your parrot some good beneficial nuts. Hopefully this article sheds some light on what is required. Check out this video just to school you on some foods that are toxic for your parrots: