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The Best Large Parrot Food

For African Greys, Amazons, Small Cockatoos, Large Conures, Eclectus, Hawk-Headed Parrots, and Mini-Macaws

Your pet bird needs a certain type of parrot food. There is no one-type-fits-all when it comes to your bird’s nutrition.

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Feeding your bird the right food is absolutely essential to his health (and lifespan!) Feeding your bird seed and water just isn’t going to cut it. And feeding different types of birds the same diet doesn’t work either. It’s important to provide a diet that is safe, healthy, and yummy.

Packaged food comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ingredients. So, it’s important to know what is the best parrot food for your individual bird. When shopping for food, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration.

The Best for Your Bird

Birds follow a very similar diet plan that we do. Here is the recommended diet percentage for each type of parrot food that should be a part of your bird’s diet:

  • Grain Products – 50% of diet
  • Vegetables and Fruits – 45% of diet
  • Dairy and Meat – 5% of diet
  • Seed and Nuts – <1% of diet

Below is a table outlining the parrot food that needs to be a part of your large parrot’s diet. It shows the recommended percentage of your bird’s diet as well as specific food recommendations and ideas.

Keep in mind that the parrot food list below recommends a VARIETY of foods and that feeding your bird only one to two items from the list is not enough. It is important to feed your bird the widest variety of foods as you can.

Here is the best diet we recommend for your large-sized parrot:

The Best Large Parrot Diet
Grain Products (50% of diet)
Whole Grains

Whole grain products provide your bird with the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, and various minerals and vitamins. There are a lot of different products that are good for your bird, just remember to choose the whole grain type instead of the white.

Recommended Grain Products

  • Bagels (low-salt)
  • Buckwheat and kasha
  • Cereal (low-sugar) (i.e. Cheerios, Chex, Kix, Life, etc.)
  • Crackers (low- or no-salt)
  • Cream of Wheat (and rice)
  • Matzo
  • Melba Toast
  • Noodles and pasta (i.e. macaroni, ravioli, spaghetti, etc.)
  • Oatmeal
  • Pearl barley
  • Pretzels (low- or no-salt)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice (i.e. brown, wild, etc.)
  • Tortillas
  • Triticale
  • Wheat berries

Pellets

Pelleted diets are made by combining a variety of healthy ingredients into a mash and then creating pellets of different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. Pellets offer a more balanced nutritional parrot diet for your bird in a form that is easy for you to serve and reduces the chance that your bird will pick through his food and avoid the healthy food he really needs. Pellets have replaced the old seed-only diet and now are offered as the primary base diet for many parrots (but should NOT be offered alone). If your bird is on a seed-only diet, you will need to convert him to a pelleted diet. Please see our Parrot Seed to Pellet Conversion article for more information.

Recommended Large Parrot Pellet Products

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Diet Mixes
Because feeding your bird a variety of foods is best, there are mixes available that include wide ranges of different types of food. They can include seeds, dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and more. If you honestly don’t have enough time to offer your bird a fresh diet variety all the time, diet mixes can be a great thing to have on hand. However, keep in mind that offering healthy pellets and fresh food on a regular basis is still necessary for your bird’s nutritional variety and health.

Recommended Large Parrot Diet Mix Products

Vegetables & Fruits (45% of diet)
Vegetables

Vegetables are a very healthy and important part of your bird’s diet. Most vegetables are best served cooked, but some can be served raw. Always wash vegetables thoroughly before serving and chop them into appropriately sized pieces. You can use canned, frozen, and freshly cooked mixed vegetables. Make sure when you use packaged vegetables that they don’t contain added salt.

Recommended Vegetables

  • Alfalfa sprouts (you can sprout them yourself)
  • Asparagus (cooked)
  • Arugula
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Banana peppers
  • Beans (cooked) (i.e. adzuki, butter, garbanzo, green, haricot, kidney, mung, navy, pinto, pole, soy, wax, etc.)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots (including tops)
  • Cauliflower
  • Cayenne
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chayote
  • Chicory
  • Cherry pepper
  • Chili peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Comfrey
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant (ripe and cooked)
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Ginger root
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Lentils (cooked)
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peas (i.e. green, snow, sugar snap, etc.)
  • Peppers (i.e. chili, green, jalapeno, poblano, red, serrano, yellow, etc.)
  • Potatoes (cooked)
  • Pumpkin (cooked)
  • Pumpkin seeds (cooked)
  • Radishes
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach (in moderation)
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (i.e. acorn, butternut, hubbard, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes (cooked)
  • Thai pepper
  • Tomatoes (cooked and dried)
  • Watercress
  • Yams (cooked)
  • Zucchini

Fruits

Fruits are another healthy and necessary part of your bird’s parrot food. Keep in mind that fruits have more water content than vegetables, so your bird’s droppings may be more runny after feeding him fruit. And make sure to always thoroughly wash all fruits before serving them.

Recommended Fruits

  • Apples (remove seeds and stem)
  • Apricots (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Bananas (remove peel)
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cactus fruit
  • Cantaloupe (no rinds)
  • Cherimoya
  • Cherries (no pits)
  • Clementine oranges
  • Coconuts
  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapes (i.e. black, green, red, etc.)
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Honeydew (no rinds)
  • Kiwis
  • Kumquats
  • Lychee
  • Lemons
  • Loquat
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Pears (remove seeds)
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains
  • Plums (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Pomegranate
  • Raisins
  • Tangerines
Dairy & Meat (5% of diet)
Dairy

Even though parrots are lactose intolerant, they can still have some dairy in moderation (SMALL amounts!) Dairy products provide an excellent source of calcium, so they should be included as a very small part of your parrot’s diet.

Recommended Dairy Products

  • Cheese (used in cooking only)
    (cheddar has highest fat and calories)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs (including clean shells)
  • Yogurt

Meat

Yes, birds eat meat. And it’s good for them! Most parrot species are seen eating insects and larvae in the wild. In order for your parrot to get a good amount of protein, a small amount of meat is good. Meat must always be cooked thoroughly before serving–NEVER rare. If you are cooking meat that has bones, you can give the bones to your parrot with the meat–some species of parrots like to crack open bones to get to the marrow (which is high in iron and other good nutrients).

Recommended Meat Products

  • Chicken
  • Fish (remove bones)
  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Ribs (beef)
  • Roast beef (well done)
  • Salmon (water packed canned is best)
  • Steak
  • Tuna fish (water packed and low sodium)
  • Turkey
Seed & Nuts (<1% of diet)
Seed

Even though seed is a natural part of parrot food in the wild, it doesn’t even make up half of what they eat. Most wild parrots eat leaves, stems, vines, shoots, vegetables, fruits, seed, flowers, insects, and insect larvae. Bird in captivity have the same dietary needs, so feeding your bird an all-seed diet is simply not enough. Seed is high in fat and full of oil. Many parrots become obese from seed diets as well as contract fatty liver disease. Seed is low in many vitamins and minerals, so feeding your bird a seed diet can cause all kinds of deficiences as well.

Seed is good for an occasional treat and is great to use as treats during training. Other than that, seed is not good for your bird and you should instead focus on feeding him a variety of the parrot food mentioned above.


Nuts

Most parrots love nuts, so they are great for use as treats during training. Depending on the size of your bird, you can feed him nuts that are whole or chopped, but make sure you use unsalted nuts only. Although nuts have many nutrients, they are also high in fat, so this is another food that needs to be fed only in moderation. You can also create a variety of different nut butters using any of the recommended nuts below (just pop them in your food processor!)

Recommended Nuts

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts (whole only for x-large parrots)
  • Cashews
  • Filberts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia (high in fat)
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Walnuts

 

Important Food Information

FOODS TO AVOID
These foods are toxic to ALL birds and should never be fed to them under any circumstance!
no
  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit pits and the flesh around them (contain cyanide)
  • Rhubarb

We know figuring out the perfect diet for your pet bird isn’t easy, and that trying to find the right packaged food isn’t either, so we’ve done the hard work for you on this page. We hope we’ve helped you in your quality bird food hunting endeavor!

Have You Found A Favorite Pet Bird Food?

Share it here! There’s no better way to learn about the best pet bird supplies than from the owners themselves.

Your comment may just help someone find the food their bird desperately needs!

2017-05-18T14:59:27+00:00

3 Comments

  1. Toni November 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Also, if your bird seed you trying a bite of something they won’t try they are more likely to try it themselves ❣️ So next time take a bite (or pretend to) and make a big deal about it! Oh yummy good! Trust me they will want it

  2. Dave April 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Our baby ( Orange winged Amazon ) will only eat 1 apple, namely Pink Lady Apples.
    She loves them. but we are trying to introduce her to a more varied fruit diet, she turns her nose up at everything we try.

    Any ideas.

    • Kylie June 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      When I’m introducing new foods to Lucy (Eclectus) I always put it in with her favourite treats or food so try cutting the apples and placing treats or her favourite foods in the flesh make it bright and like a toy so it’s interesting and appealing Or steam them with other fruits so they get the taste and slowly give bits fresh.

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