Owners enjoy sharing treats with their pets. A commonly shared food item is biscuits. Parrots love sugary foods and appreciate a biscuit snack now and then, but this doesn’t mean biscuits are healthy for parrots.
Most types of biscuits are bad for parrots. They contain high levels of saturated fat, refined sugar, and carbohydrates. Small quantities are okay as a treat, but feeding biscuits to parrots shouldn’t become a habit. Never give your parrot biscuits containing chocolate, as it’s toxic and can kill birds. Monkey biscuits are a popular parrot biscuit choice.
Be careful not to overfeed high-fat foods, like biscuits, or your parrot can gain too much weight. Also, check the packaging for signs of additives and artificial colorings and flavorings as these are unhealthy for parrots.
Do Parrots Eat Biscuits?
Biscuits aren’t a natural part of a parrot’s diet, but that’s not to say that parrots can’t eat them. However, the biscuits you feed your parrot largely depend on the specific ingredients.
Many parrots enjoy the sweet taste of biscuits. Confident birds may even attempt to steal them out of their owners’ hands once they’ve gotten a taste for them.
As previously mentioned, many biscuit varieties have high levels of saturated fat, artificial colors and flavors, and harmful E numbers. These are ingredients you’ll want to avoid.
Biscuits are filling for a small period of time, but they don’t have much nutritional value. However, they do provide carbs for energy and traces of protein due to the use of eggs. Some cookies also contain milk, which is another good source of protein and calcium.
With all that being said, biscuits make a tasty occasional treat. Just be careful not to overfeed, or health issues may arise. You’re also encouraging your parrot to eat junk food, which should be discouraged.
Are Biscuits Bad For Parrots?
Biscuits are OK for parrots to eat in moderation. If you choose to share a biscuit with your parrot, it’s not going to cause much harm. However, like all good things, too many biscuits can cause weight gain and several other health issues. Biscuits are unhealthy for the following reasons:
A common question asked by parrot owners is, “can parrots eat sugar?” Unfortunately, refined sugar is unhealthy for parrots.
All nutrients are stripped from sugar during the production process, meaning that it has no nutritional value. To digest a biscuit, it takes nutrients from the parrot’s body to metabolize it, leading to malnourishment and eventual hunger.
Similarly, sugar creates nutritional deficiencies, which can lead to several health problems, including:
- Weakened immune system
- Stomach cramps
- Visual impairment
- Muscle weakness
When parrots consume too much sugar, their pancreas has to work harder to produce enough insulin to process it. The digestive system must also work quickly to stop sugar from entering the bloodstream too fast. If it does, insulin spikes take place. Over-consumption of sugar can be linked to:
- Weight gain
- Bacterial infections
Wherever possible, limit the amount of refined sugar you give to your parrot and stick to natural sugars found in fruit.
A small amount of healthy fat is essential for a parrot’s health. However, excessive saturated fat can coat your parrot’s organs and prevent them from functioning properly.
It can also lead to fatty liver disease. When combined with a high-fat seed diet, biscuits speed up the eventuality of parrots getting the disease. If left untreated, the condition causes death.
Obesity is also a big problem amongst captivity parrots. As described by MSD Veterinary Manual, obesity is also directly linked to a high-fat diet. Coupled with a lack of exercise, parrots become overweight when too much fat occurs in the diet.
Obesity places too much strain on the body and joints. As parrots spend most of their time standing, their legs and feet can’t support the weight and injuries occur.
All creatures require certain levels of salt, but too much is potentially harmful to parrots. Most biscuits are made with a pinch of salt, so you must be careful with the type of biscuits you feed your parrot.
Salt upsets the body’s electrolyte and fluid balance, causing thirst, dehydration, and kidney failure.
Biscuit Nutritional Information
Before feeding your parrot your favorite biscuits, it’s worth considering the nutritional content to see whether this treat is worth the health risk. Here is the basic nutritional content of some of the most popular biscuits:
|Type of Biscuit||Size||Calories||Fat||Carbs||Sugar|
|Rich Tea Biscuit||8.3g||38||1.3g||5.9g||1.5g|
|Chocolate Chip Cookie||11g||52||2.4g||7g||3.7g|
Can Parrots Eat Ginger Biscuits?
Raw ginger has health benefits and has been used for centuries to cure a range of ailments. Parrots benefit from ginger as it is packed with:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B
Ginger also quells nausea and is an effective treatment for motion sickness, which many pet parrots suffer from. Parrots in the wild nibble on ginger to soothe an upset stomach. Unfortunately, ginger biscuits don’t have the same nutritional benefits that raw ginger has. Ginger cookies are high in sugar and fat, doing more harm than good.
If you’re looking to replicate the benefits, feed your parrot natural ginger. You can do this by dissolving it in boiling water and leaving it to cool to room temperature. Ginger has a unique flavor that’s different from anything a parrot would taste within its everyday diet.
Cat Parrots Eat Dog Biscuits?
Dog biscuits may seem like a better option to feed your parrot than the biscuits we eat because they contain less sugar. However, dog biscuits are made with meat, which isn’t entirely suitable for parrots.
While parrots are omnivores, they don’t eat much meat, especially in the wild. They sometimes forage for insects, but they mostly eat seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
They also aren’t used to flavors such as chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb that are most commonly used in dog biscuits. This is mostly because they don’t have access to these foods in the wild.
Dog biscuits are considered junk food for parrots. The meat they’re made from is low in quality, and they’re bulked out by carbohydrates that make animals feel full. Consuming too many carbs results in:
- Weight gain
- High blood sugar levels
- Lack of energy
- Increased thirst
Parrots get carbohydrates through a healthy, balanced diet, so there’s no need to supplement their food with dog biscuits. The same thing goes for cat biscuits, which are made with similar unhealthy ingredients.
Can Parrots Eat Digestive Biscuits?
Even though digestive biscuits are plain, they’re high in fat and calories. Digestive biscuits are ideal for putting out on bird feeders in the winter when they need extra fat for energy.
However, parrots are captive birds who live in the warmth and have a regular feeding schedule, so they don’t really need digestives for energy.
Parrots can become easily addicted. As a result, you must limit your parrot’s digestive intake to a once-in-a-while treat. Also, try not to get into the habit of giving your parrot a piece of your biscuit every time you have one.
One way to treat your parrot with a safe amount of biscuit is to crush a little piece of a digestive biscuit over a banana to add extra crunch and flavor. Whole digestives are quite large and are a bit too big for parrots to eat in one sitting, so the risk of overfeeding is too great.
Can Parrots Eat Rich Tea Biscuits?
Because rich tea biscuits don’t have any fancy ingredients, like chocolate, it’s easy to think that they’re OK. But despite how they look, rich tea biscuits are high in saturated fat and sugar, with 1.7g of sugar per biscuit.
They’re also made with vegetable oil, which is an ingredient that parrots shouldn’t have in their digestive systems. Parrots consume oil naturally through nuts and seeds.
Therefore, you should only feed your parrot rich tea biscuits in the smallest quantities. That being said, rich tea biscuits are slightly healthier than digestives or cookies. They’re also free from toxic chocolate, so they’re a better option than some alternative biscuit varieties.
Can Parrots Eat Monkey Biscuits?
As the name suggests, monkey biscuits are designed for primates. They’re plain, dry biscuits that are made with ground corn, ground wheat, and preservatives. Monkey biscuits are a good source of:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
You can also find monkey biscuits for parrots. They can either be fed as a treat or offered to weaning chicks to help them get used to solid food. Most owners soak them in water or juice before feeding to make them softer and easier to eat.
However, monkey biscuits do contain traces of sugar. They should only make up part of your parrot’s diet. Not all parrots enjoy the taste of monkey biscuits, and they can be expensive.
Can Parrots Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Chocolate is highly toxic to parrots, even in small doses. Chocolate contains both caffeine and theobromine. Caffeine is a problem because it causes:
- Increased heart rate
- Heart arrhythmias
- Cardiac arrest
It also creates behavioral problems, such as aggression, destruction, and stress. Energetic birds become even more hectic as the stimulant kicks in. It can also prevent parrots from sleeping properly.
Theobromine is a compound that exists in the cacao bean. All chocolate contains it, including dark and milk chocolate.
A journal published by the New Zealand Veterinary Journal describes how an adult male Kea in good body condition was found dead after ingesting dark chocolate. Researchers found 20 g of chocolate in his crop, which contained 250 mg/kg theobromine, 20 mg/kg caffeine, and 3 mg/kg theophylline.
Parrots mustn’t eat chocolate of any kind, so chocolate chip cookies are out of the question. Keep them away from your parrot when you’re enjoying a cookie or two – don’t even allow your parrot to have a small nibble.
Can Parrots Eat Cookies
Plain cookies are marginally better than chocolate chip cookies, but that’s only because the chocolate content has been removed.
Cookies are made with artificial colorings and flavorings, such as vanilla essence. This pushes up the sugar content to unhealthy levels and contains E numbers that are unnatural for parrots to eat.
Cookies aren’t nutritious. They cause a spike in insulin and blood sugar levels as the body quickly and easily absorbs them. Your parrot will experience an episode of excess energy followed by severe lethargy as the blood sugar levels plummet.
Parrots also won’t feel full after eating a sugar-laden cookie, despite the high-calorie content. As a result, it will overeat and be at risk of weight gain.
A piece of plain biscuit every now and then won’t harm your parrot’s health. The problem lies when the parrot becomes addicted or rejects its usual food in favor of a sugary snack. Never feed your parrot chocolate biscuits, such as chocolate digestive or chocolate chip cookies, as these are highly toxic to birds due to the caffeine and theobromine.