Blackberries are sometimes referred to as a superfood. Fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts should make up around 25% of your parrot’s diet, so blackberries can be a part of your parrot’s dietary regimen.
Parrots can eat blackberries because they’re a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, calcium, manganese, fiber, and antioxidants (anthocyanins). You can give your parrot blackberry juice in moderation.
There’s no harm in giving your parrot some blackberries. If your parrot enjoys the taste, blackberries can be incorporated into a balanced diet to provide the vitamins that parrots are deficient in.
Can You Feed Parrots Blackberries?
Blackberries are safe for parrots to eat, but you shouldn’t feed your parrot too much fruit of any kind. It’s relatively high in natural sugars, although much lower than many other types, and too much can cause nutritional deficiencies.
That being said, blackberries make a tasty, nutritious treat that can be fed alongside various other fruits for nutritional balance. You can also offer blackberries to:
- Train your parrot using positive reinforcement
- Reward your parrot for good behavior
- Strengthen your bond
Do Parrots Like Blackberries?
Blackberries aren’t naturally grown in areas that parrots live in the wild, so the taste is new to most captive parrots.
A journal by Functional Ecology describes how parrots use color to detect the antioxidant value of fruit by its color. As blackberries are dark, there’s evidence that parrots eat them because they know they’re rich in anthocyanins.
Parrots commonly eat with their eyes, which tells them whether something is nutritious or poisonous.
Are Blackberries Good For Parrots?
Blackberries are a good source of nutrition for parrots. Although blackberries are small, they’re high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
They also regulate blood sugar levels and keep parrots feeling full for longer as the body slowly absorbs them. As well as this, there are a range of other health benefits blackberries provide, including:
Blackberries contain high levels of antioxidants that help protect against the effects of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that damage cells and cause severe illnesses, including cancer. Antioxidants also strengthen the immune system and improve insulin levels, preventing energy spikes and slumps.
A study by Avian Research found that long-lived birds had high levels of antioxidants in their bodies. Fed in moderation, blackberries can enable parrots to live longer, healthier lives.
Blackberries contain high levels of fiber, which is essential for digestion and good gut health. Fiber moves slowly through the body, keeping parrots full. This means that parrots are less likely to overeat.
Fiber makes passing hard, painful stools much easier. If poop is watery or the parrot has diarrhea, fiber bulks them out, making the stools easier and more comfortable to pass.
There is around 31.5 mg in a standard cup of raw blackberries. Vitamin C is essential for:
- Boosting the immune system
- Lowering blood pressure
- Regulating cholesterol
- Healing wounds
- Preventing cancer and bad cells from forming
- Regulating blood sugar
- Preventing kidney diseases
Vitamin C can also reduce the effects of stress. Parrots get their vitamin C from a healthy diet, so incorporating blackberries into their fruit allowance maintains their vitamin C levels.
The recommended levels of vitamin A for Psittaciformes are 8000–11 000 IU/kg each day. As described by Niles Animal Hospital, birds on all-seed diets are commonly devoid of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is one of the most common parrot vitamin deficiencies. It’s essential for bone growth, as well as the normal secretion of secretory glands. Vitamin A also keeps the reproductive organs healthy.
Red and yellow birds, such as Amazon parrots, become paler in color when deficient in vitamin A. That’s because their plumage is derived from beta-carotene pigments provided by vitamin A.
Blackberries contain antioxidant flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They can help with:
- Stomach ulcers
- Joint pain
- Immune system weakness
- Heart disease
If you have a parrot with movement issues, start incorporating blackberries into its diet. Parrots spend most of the day standing. Poor foot and leg joints could cause all sorts of issues for parrots as they rely so heavily on them.
Blackberries contain polyphenol, which protects the brain. When combined with the antioxidants found in blackberries, polyphenol balances the hormones responsible for brain disease.
Blackberries can improve a parrot’s cognitive brain function, enabling them to move and think more efficiently. They also become more alert and responsive to environmental stimuli.
Blackberries contain chemical compounds that act as mood enhancers. Berries have similar effects as valproic acid, which stabilizes the mood and regulates emotions. Therefore, blackberries can improve your parrot’s mood, particularly if it’s feeling stressed or has a low mood.
Nutritional Information of Blackberries
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup (150g) of raw blackberries contains the following nutrients:
|Nutrient or Mineral||Amount|
|Vitamin C||31.5 milligrams|
|Vitamin B-6||0.045 milligrams|
|Vitamin A||16.5 µg|
Are Blackberries Bad For Parrots?
Blackberries are safe for parrots to eat. They’re nutritious and packed with flavor that many parrots enjoy. However, there are a couple of issues to watch out for that may cause your parrot problems:
Too much fruit isn’t a good thing for parrots. Fruit is quite high in natural sugar. While it’s much healthier than refined sugar, too much can cause weight gain and obesity. It can also cause:
- Stomach problems
- Sugar addiction
- Lack of appetite
When fed in small, treat-sized quantities, parrots experience the full nutritional benefits of blackberries. Blackberries do contain less sugar than other fruits. There are 4.9 grams of sugar in 100 grams of blackberries. Bananas contain 12 grams of sugar, and apples contain 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
If parrots fill up on blackberries, they’re missing out on nutrition from other foods, such as pellets, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. The parrot may also reject these foods in favor of sugary blackberries.
Vitamin deficiencies can occur. Hypovitaminosis (vitamin A deficiency) is one of the most common deficiencies experienced by parrots. Similarly, parrots are at risk of vitamin overload when eating too many blackberries.
Can Parrots Eat Blackberry Jam?
Blackberry jam provides 70% of the nutrients raw blackberries contain. However, the longer the jam is stored, the more this level deteriorates. After 6 months, only 50% of the nutritional value remains.
Some of the blackberry’s vitamins and phytonutrients are lost when the jam is made due to heating, smashing, and sieving. Blackberry jam also requires a large amount of sugar to make. Store-bought blackberry jam is usually high in refined sugar levels, so it’s not recommended.
Can Parrots Drink Blackberry Juice?
Blackberry juice can provide high levels of vitamin A. It also hydrates parrots who struggle to drink water. Parrots are prone to dehydration, so adding juice to your parrot’s diet encourages water consumption.
Instead of shop-bought juice with high sugar levels, make your own blackberry juice by blitzing blueberries in a blender with water. Don’t add any sugar or flavorings that may cause your parrot harm.
How To Prepare Blackberries For Parrots
Thoroughly cleaning blackberries is essential before you give them to your parrot. Once you’ve bought some pesticide-free blackberries, soak them in lukewarm water to remove any bugs.
Soak for 20 minutes and then pat them dry with an absorbent cloth. When feeding your parrot blackberries, place them in a shallow dish inside the cage for your parrot to pick at. For smaller parrots, place blackberries on skewers and allow them to pick the fruit off themselves.
Blackberries are messy fruits and parrots are messy birds, so don’t be alarmed if you see red-purple stains around the cage. Just wipe them off with a damp cloth.
Blackberries are a nutritious addition to your parrot’s diet in small quantities. Provide a range of other fruits so that your parrot gets to experience all of the different flavors and textures.