Parrots like cracking open bones with their beaks and eating the bone marrow within. Parrots are one of the few animals that can digest cooked bones, but it’s the bone marrow that parrots are after. They want to discard the bones.
Parrots have a digestive system that can break bones down, but small pieces of bone can become lodged in the throat or crop. Although bone marrow is high in fat, it’s rich in nutrients, such as fatty acids, iron, and calcium.
As described by Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, parrots can move their upper beaks independently of their skull. Cranial kinesis allows parrots to break up hard substances, such as shelled nuts and bones, to open them up.
Can You Give Bones To Parrots?
While parrots enjoy eating bones and the tasty marrow within, consumption isn’t without risk. When feeding your parrot bones, be mindful of the following:
Small fragments can splinter off bones and become lodged in the throat. Unfortunately, this could cause your parrot to choke.
When this happens, the parrot will extend its neck back and forth in an attempt to gasp for hair. However, it’s more likely that the bone fragments will lead to an impacted crop.
Many bones are a by-product of fattening junk foods, such as fried or BBQ chicken. These aren’t things your parrot should eat because they’re high in calories, sugar, and saturated fat.
If you feed your parrot bones, remove all unhealthy skin and remnants of fried meat first. Plain roasted chicken bones are the healthiest kind.
Can Parrots Eat Bone Marrow?
It’s the marrow inside the bone that parrots want to consume. Parrots break the bones open to scoop out the marrowbone and discard the bones.
While bone marrow has a different nutritional content depending on the animal, it’s healthy to eat because it contains the following minerals and nutrients:
|Collagen:||Optimizes the strength and elasticity of the skin.|
|Fatty Acids:||Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to keep the heart healthy.|
|Protein:||Healthy blood cells, muscle tissue, and brain health.|
|Vitamin A:||Maintains good vision and improves reproductive health.|
|Calcium||Strong, healthy bones and regular nerve function.|
|Iron:||Prevents anemia by carrying oxygen around the body.|
|Zinc:||Produces insulin and vitamin A function.|
|Glycine:||Protein creation and supports healthy sleep patterns.|
Bone marrow is a good source of collagen. This insoluble fibrous protein is beneficial for parrots because it supports cell adhesion and tissue regulation.
Bone marrow contains both omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
Parrots need these nutrients to maintain a healthy heart. They can also protect the parrot’s body against tissue damage. Fatty acids protect against the development of chronic diseases, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
Cod liver oil is another good source of fatty acids, but many parrots dislike the taste.
A 100 g serving of bone marrow contains 6.7 g of protein. Parrots need protein because amino acids are the muscle tissue’s main building blocks.
Parrots fed an all-seed diet are deficient in vitamin A. Bone marrow is a source of vitamin A, which is essential for:
- Reproductive health
- A strong immune system
- Membrane integrity
- Good vision
When deficient in vitamin A, they’re at risk of poor eyesight and hearing, respiratory disease, and weak bones.
Bone marrow contains high levels of calcium. According to the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, there are higher calcium concentrations in bone marrow than in bones, meat, tallow, and liver.
Calcium is one of the nutrients parrots need the most. Most don’t get enough, particularly African greys and blue-fronted parrots.
Calcium’s responsible for creating strong bones. Female parrots need higher levels of calcium to ensure their eggshells form properly. An alternative source is a cuttlebone.
There’s around 4.5 mg of iron in every 100 g of bone marrow. Iron transports oxygen around the body through the hemoglobin it creates.
Parrots that don’t get enough iron from their diet are at risk of anemia, which causes tiredness, lethargy, and weakness. Too much iron can lead to iron storage disease.
Parrots need trace amounts of zinc to produce insulin and utilize vitamin A.
Bone marrow contains many amino acids, including glycine. According to The Journal of Nutrition, budgerigars need glycine more than most other parrots.
Glycine is also involved in creating proteins and supporting healthy sleep patterns.
Can Parrots Eat Chicken Bones?
Parrots enjoy chicken bones, especially if there’s meat on the bone. They pick the cooked flesh off first and crush the bones with their strong beaks to get to the bone marrow inside.
There’s little bone marrow in chicken wing bones, so there’s not much nutritional value. Small bone fragments are more likely to break off and get stuck in the crop, so chicken wing bones are one to avoid feeding your parrot.
Can Parrots Eat Turkey Bones?
Parrots love the taste of turkey meat but will also crack the bones open to eat the marrow inside.
Can Parrots Eat Pork Bones?
Pork bones are hardier and thicker than chicken bones, so they’re less likely to splinter off.
Can Parrots Have Dog Bones?
Dogs have canines that they use to tear off chunks of raw bone. Parrots are limited to just their beaks and jaws. Dog bones are too hard and thick for parrots to eat.
While their beaks are strong enough for cracking open nuts and snapping small bones, they’re not suitable for the kind of large bones that dogs enjoy.
Junk food is bad for parrots. So, if you’re giving your parrot chicken bones as a treat, they mustn’t be fried. Fried chicken is greasy, which contributes to obesity.
Parrots shouldn’t eat meat with flavorings or coatings. They usually contain additives and sugar, which are harmful to parrots. Remove the skin off entirely before feeding any to your parrot.