Experts say fruits are an important part of your parrot’s diet. Grapes are small, bite-sized fruits which are easily available. They are also very sweet so your feathered friend will have no complaints about picking at grapes all day. It would make sense to heap his cage with grapes, but that would be a bad idea.
Many bird owners are uninformed about proper nutrition for their pets so they just feed them large quantities of whatever food they seem to like.
Yes, grapes are a good choice of fruit for your parrot, but not too much. Consuming large quantities of grapes leaves your bird with a sugar-high. If you make a habit of it, it can make him overweight.
With that in mind, you are now wondering how many grapes are safe for your parrot. Could your bird already be overweight and you had no idea? Read on to find out how much is too much and if your bird has already crossed the obesity line.
Benefits of Grapes to Birds
Energy boost: These fruits are high in sugar so they give the bird an energy boost immediately after consumption. This is why they are ideal as a treat just before playtime or training. It not only motivates your feathered friend to play and follow instructions, but it also allows him to burn the extra calories quite easily.
Nutritional value: Grapes are rich in vitamin C which helps to boost the immune system and vitamin K which is essential for formation of strong bones. Other nutrients your bird gets from grapes are copper, potassium and manganese.
Can Parrots Eat Grapes?
Grapes are a favorite fruit for birds all over the world, not just parrots. They love them because they are sweet and succulent. It also helps that grapes are small and soft so it is easy to pick at one grape and get through it all without much strain.
Grapes are absolutely fine for parrots but as mentioned, they are high in sugar so they should be given in moderation. Let your bird have grapes as a treat and never part of the daily diet. Try to include grapes as part of a mix of fruits and not on their own. This way the bird doesn’t overconsume nutrients from one particular fruit. Chances are your pet will pick out the grapes and eat them all first before eating the rest. This is fine. As long as he eventually eats them all.
Are peels and seeds safe? Grape peels can sometimes be cumbersome for birds, though they are completely safe. If your parrot is a smaller species, you may need to cut it up to make it easier to eat. Bigger birds don’t mind the challenge. Just put the whole grapes in a bowl and they will have no problem gobbling them down.
Seeds are also safe to eat in the sense that they would not cause illness. However, they may be difficult for the bird to eat and their systems may struggle to digest them.
Even though your bird quickly gobbles down the grapes and clearly enjoys them, stick to the recommended ration. Experts say a safe amount of grapes for parrots is anywhere between half a grape to two small grapes every day or every other day.
Other than sugar, grapes are also high in calories. One cup of grapes (151 grams) contains approximately 104 calories. This explains why feeding your bird with too many grapes can lead to obesity. If your bird is smaller than the average parrot and is not active, even the quoted ration may be more than enough.
Obesity in Parrots
According to veterinarians, obesity is the most common health issue observed in parrots today. They say it happens because many bird owners are not aware of the right types and amounts of food to feed a parrot. They unknowingly overfeed the birds with too many snacks and unhealthy foods.
Although any species of parrots can become obese, African greys and Amazons are most prone to the condition. Just like humans, exercise and a proper diet are essential for good health.
Obesity in a parrot is much like the same condition in humans. When a parrot is obese it is predisposed to cancer. It is also at risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which fat is deposited on the walls of the arteries. When this happens in arteries leading to the heart, it could cause sudden death.
How to tell if your parrot is obese
The easiest but least recommended way is to do some online research to find out what your parrot should weigh. It is generally based on the specific species. This gives you rough figures but should not be followed to the letter. Why not? Well, parrots, like humans should be taken as individuals. Some are naturally smaller and lighter than the average and others are naturally bigger and heavier. Neither being a sign of obesity or ill health.
The advised way is to check how prominent the bird’s keel bone is. It should be more or less level with muscle on both sides of the bone. If the bone is protruding, this means the bird is underweight. It would be a good idea to have him checked by a vet to make sure he is not ill. If there is no illness, increase his food rations.
If the bird’s breast extends past the keel, he is overweight.
Another simple but effective method is to simply hold the bird and feel along the sides of the body. If you feel more fat than muscle, then the bird is probably obese. Birds are naturally muscular creatures so they should have more muscle than fat.
Grapes are sweet succulent fruits we all love to snack on. That is including out feathery friends at home. This is one fruit which features prominently in just about every parrot –food list you come across.
The loud word of caution is moderation. Go ahead and give your birds grapes but not too much and not too often. Too many grapes could cause obesity. Yes, parrots can get obese and have other health problems.
When it comes to nutrition, feed your parrot like you would feed yourself. Avoid processed sugars, too many high-sugar fruits and include lots of vegetables. The rule of thumb is ‘If it is good for you, it is most likely good for your parrot, and vice versa. There are some foods which are healthy for humans but poisonous for parrots like avocados, milk and onions. Read up on these and then stick to the rule of thumb.