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Can Parrots Eat Blackberries Safely?

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Blackberries are juicy, nutritious fruits that grow from early summer until October. Each blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) has 20-50 seeds, known as drupelets. They have a sweet, tangy, and mildly tart flavor.

Parrots can eat blackberries, as they’re a good source of vitamins C, E, and K, fiber, calcium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium, and free radical-fighting antioxidants.

Blackberries are high in anthocyanins. A journal by Functional Ecology stated that parrots use color to detect antioxidants in fruits. As blackberries are dark, parrots instinctively eat them.

Why Blackberries Are Good for Parrots

Blackberries have a low glycemic index (GI) of 25, providing a steady energy flow. The fiber content of blackberries also keeps parrots feeling satiated for longer, preventing dietary excesses.

Antioxidants

According to the Journal of Zhejiang University, blackberries contain “phenolic compounds, such as ellagic acid, tannins, ellagitannins, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins, and cyanidins.”

These potent antioxidants protect against the adverse effects of free radicals, which are unstable atoms that damage cells and cause disease.

Antioxidants boost the immune system and optimize insulin levels, preventing energy spikes and slumps.

A study by Avian Research found that long-lived birds had higher-than-average antioxidant levels. Fed in moderation alongside other fruits, blackberries enable parrots to live longer, healthier lives.

do parrots like blackberries?

Fiber

Blackberries contain fiber, which is essential for digestion and gut health. Fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract, keeping parrots full so they’re less likely to overeat.

Fiber eases constipation, making stools easier to pass. If poop is watery or the parrot has diarrhea, fiber bulks out the stool, making waste passage more comfortable.

Vitamin C

There’s about 31.5 mg of vitamin C in a cup of blackberries. Vitamin C is essential for:

  • Immune health.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Regulating cholesterol.
  • Healing wounds.
  • Preventing unhealthy cell formation.
  • Regulating blood sugar.
  • Stress reduction.

Parrots don’t need a dietary source of vitamin C because it’s generated in the liver from glucose.

Vitamin A

The recommended vitamin A level for Psittaciformes is 8,000–11,000 IU/kg daily. It’s essential for the eyes, body tissue repair, respiration, immune function, and reproductive health.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Blackberries contain antioxidant flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They can be beneficial in preventing or reducing the effects of:

  • Arthritis.
  • 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, and poor foot and leg joints make life uncomfortable.

Brain Function

Blackberries contain polyphenols, which protect the brain. When combined with the antioxidants in blackberries, polyphenols balance the hormones responsible for brain disease.

Blackberries can aid a parrot’s cognitive function, enabling them to move and think more efficiently. Parrots may become more alert and responsive to environmental stimuli.

Mood Enhancement

Blackberries contain chemical compounds that act as mood enhancers.

Berries have similar effects to valproic acid, stabilizing mood and regulating emotions. Therefore, blackberries can improve a parrot’s mood when it feels stressed or low.

Nutritional Information About Blackberries

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup (150g) of raw blackberries has:

Nutrient or MineralAmount
Calories  64 Kcal
Protein  2.08 grams
Fat  0.735 grams
Carbohydrate  14.4 grams
Sugars  7.32 grams
Fiber  7.95 grams
Calcium  43.5 milligrams
Iron  0.93 milligrams
Magnesium30 milligrams  
Vitamin C31.5 milligrams
Vitamin B-60.045 milligrams
Vitamin A16.5 µg  

Why Blackberries Are Bad for Parrots

Blackberries are safe for parrots with certain caveats:

Some Sugar

Excessive fruit (more than 5-10% of its diet) isn’t recommended for parrots because it’s usually high in sugar. However, blackberries contain less natural sugar and fewer calories than most other fruits.

There are 4.9 grams of sugar in 100 grams of blackberries. In comparison, bananas contain 12 grams of sugar, and apples contain 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams.

Digestive Problems

Eating too many blackberries (or fruit) can lead to fructose malabsorption. The symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gassiness.

Vitamin Deficiencies

If parrots fill up on blackberries, they may miss out on nutrition from other foods, like pellets, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. The parrot may reject these foods in favor of sugary fruits.

Hypovitaminosis (vitamin A deficiency) is among the most common deficiencies.

are blackberries good for parrots?

How To Prepare Blackberries for Parrots

Here’s how to give blackberries to parrots:

  1. Soak the blackberries in lukewarm water for 20 minutes to remove bugs. Blackberries are affected by Drosophila suzukii, small, transparent worms that grow into fruit flies.
  2. Let them dry on a sieve, or pat them dry with an absorbent cloth.
  3. When feeding parrots blackberries, put them in a shallow dish inside the cage to eat. If you have smaller parrots, place blackberries on skewers and let them pick the fruit off.

Blackberries are juicy 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 before they attract bacterial microbes.

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 vitamins and minerals are lost when blackberry jam is made. It also contains a lot of refined sugar, so store-bought blackberry jam is usually unhealthy for avian consumption.

Blackberry Juice

Blackberry juice has high vitamin A levels and hydrates parrots who struggle to drink sufficient water. Parrots are prone to dehydration, so adding juice to their diet encourages hydration.

Instead of shop-bought juice with high sugar levels, make blackberry juice by blitzing blackberries in a blender with water. Don’t add any sugar, sweeteners, or flavorings.

Blackberries are a nutritious addition to a parrot’s diet. Provide other fruits so a parrot can enjoy the nutritional benefits, flavors, scents, and textures.