With their beautiful colors, intelligence, and fun personalities, parrots are popular pet choices. If you share your home with this social bird, you already know how entertaining they can be. They can also be a great deal of work! Part of that work is making sure they’re eating a well-balanced diet. Many parrots love fruit and nuts, but which ones are best for them to eat? Your bird will likely enjoy eating many of the same things that you eat. Parrots are omnivores and like eating many different foods. While eating cherries, you may have wondered if your bird would like one too. People eat cherries because they’re a tasty and healthy snack, filled with beneficial vitamins and minerals. When parrots eat cherries, the same is true for them! Parrots can safely eat cherries, but only if you exclude the pit. Let’s look at what cherries can do for your bird and why the pits are never safe for them to have.
What Does a Parrot’s Diet Look Like?
In the wild, parrots eat a variety of fruit, nuts, seeds, plants, and grains. They spend their days searching for different things to eat and do a good job of determining what they need and what’s safe for them to consume. As pets, parrots rely on their owners to give them the proper nutrition that will keep them healthy. Birds can get very ill if their dietary needs aren’t met, so it’s important to make sure they’re being fed well.
Pet parrots should have a diet that mimics what they eat in the wild, but this can’t always be the case. To make sure your parrot gets all the proper nutrition they need, pellets should make up about 75–80% of their diet, with the rest being composed of fresh food like fruit, vegetables, seeds, and cooked whole grains. The pellets should not contain sugars or dyes.
Health Benefits of Cherries
Cherries are a wonderful food for your parrot to enjoy because they’re sweet, tasty, and full of healthy things. Before they consume cherries, though, it’s important to wash the fruit thoroughly to remove any pesticides. Then, they will benefit from all the good things:
Cherries can help people who are suffering from gout, and this can be true in parrots too! Birds suffer from gout when too much uric acid builds up in their bloodstream. Cherries can lower uric acid levels.
Are Cherries Ever Unsafe for Parrots?
Cherries are naturally high in sugar. Too many cherries can lead to obesity in your parrot. Cherries are beneficial for your bird but should be offered in moderation, along with pellets and other fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
The pits of cherries are never safe for your parrot. Cherry pits contain amygdalin, a chemical that turns into cyanide in the bodies of humans and animals. It’s unsafe for people to swallow cherry pits. However, one or two may not be a cause for concern. This is not true for birds. Even part of a cherry pit poses a threat to your bird and can be deadly. Always make sure the cherries that you offer your parrot have no pits or parts of pits in them. If you think that your parrot has swallowed a cherry pit, a trip to the vet is in order to make sure they’re not at risk for cyanide poisoning.
If you’re worried about pits, dried cherries are a good alternative to fresh ones. They have no pits and can be offered to your bird as is. However, sometimes dried fruit contains the chemical sulfur dioxide. Make sure the dried fruit that you purchase for your parrot contains no sulfur dioxide because parrots can be allergic to it. It can cause several health issues, like aggression, irregular molting, and breathing issues.
Parrots can safely enjoy cherries. The flesh and the skin can be a tasty treat for your bird and offer many benefits to their health. To keep your parrot the healthiest that they can be, offer fresh or dried cherries as part of a well-balanced diet that includes pellets, vegetables, nuts, and other fruit. Stay away from sulfur dioxide as an ingredient in dried cherries. Fresh cherries have pits that are toxic to parrots and can cause cyanide poisoning. Always wash the cherries before offering them to your parrot to remove pesticides. Cherry pits must be thoroughly removed before your bird can enjoy this beneficial snack.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.