Last Updated on: 4th July 2023, 11:27 am
Blackberries are a juicy, highly nutritious fruit that grows from the early summer until October. Each blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) has 20-50 seeds, known as drupelets.
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 have a sharp flavor that not all parrots like. However, birds eat with their eyes, which tells them whether something is healthy or harmful.
A journal by Functional Ecology stated that parrots use color to detect the antioxidant value of fruits. As blackberries are dark, parrots instinctively eat them because they’re rich in anthocyanins.
Are Blackberries Good for Parrots?
Blackberries have a low glycemic index (GI) of 25, providing a steady stream of energy. The fiber in blackberries also keeps parrots feeling satiated for longer.
Although blackberries are small fruits, they’re healthy for parrots for the following reasons:
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 negative effects of free radicals, which are unstable atoms that damage cells and cause severe illnesses like heart disease and cancer.
Antioxidants boost the immune system and optimize insulin levels to prevent 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 enabled parrots to live longer, healthier lives.
Blackberries contain fiber, which is essential for digestion and overall gut health. Fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract, keeping parrots full so they’re less likely to overeat.
Fiber eases constipation, making passing stools easier. If poop is watery or the parrot has diarrhea, fiber bulks out the stool, making waste passage more comfortable.
There’s about 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 unhealthy cells from forming.
- Regulating blood sugar.
- Stress reduction.
Parrots don’t need a dietary source of vitamin C because it’s produced in the liver from glucose.
The recommended vitamin A level for Psittaciformes is 8000–11 000 IU/kg daily. As described by Niles Animal Hospital, birds on all-seed diets are commonly devoid of vitamin A.
Vitamin A (retinol) is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in parrots, as it’s essential for the eyes, body tissue repair, respiration, immune function, and reproductive health.
Blackberries contain antioxidant flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They can be beneficial in preventing or reducing the effects of:
- 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.
Blackberries contain polyphenols, which protect the brain. When combined with the antioxidants in blackberries, polyphenols balance the hormones responsible for brain disease.
Blackberries can improve a parrot’s cognitive function, enabling them to move and think more efficiently. Parrots also become more alert and responsive to environmental stimuli.
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, especially when feeling 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 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 with certain caveats:
Too much fruit isn’t good for parrots, as it’s usually high in sugar. While natural sugar is much healthier than refined sugar, too much can cause weight gain and obesity. Sugar can also cause:
- Stomach problems.
- Sugar addiction.
- Lack of appetite.
When fed in small, treat-sized quantities, parrots benefit from the full nutritional benefits of blackberries. Also, they 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.
Eating too many blackberries (or fruit) can lead to fructose malabsorption. The symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gassiness.
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 in parrots.
How To Prepare Blackberries for Parrots
Here’s how to give blackberries to parrots:
- Soak the blackberries in lukewarm water for 20 minutes to remove bugs. Blackberries are affected by Drosophila suzukii, which are small and transparent worms that grow into fruit flies.
- Let them dry on a sieve, or pat them dry with an absorbent cloth.
- When feeding parrots blackberries, put them in a shallow dish inside the cage to eat. For smaller parrots, place blackberries on skewers and allow them to 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 bacteria.
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 vitamins and minerals are lost when blackberry jam is made. Blackberry jam also contains a lot of refined sugar, so store-bought blackberry jam is usually unhealthy.
Can Parrots Drink Blackberry Juice?
Blackberry juice has high vitamin A levels while hydrating 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 a range of other fruits so a parrot can experience all the different nutritional benefits, flavors, scents, and textures.