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are carrots good for parrots?

Can Parrots Eat Carrots? (Are Cooked or Raw Carrots Better?)

(Last Updated On: April 23, 2023)

Parrots should eat raw or cooked carrots because they’re among the best sources of beta-carotene (an orange or red pigment called carotenoids), preventing vitamin A deficiencies (hypovitaminosis A).

The antioxidant-rich properties of carrots are essential for birds’ health, assisting with weight control and potentially keeping high cholesterol and heart disease at bay.

Carrot tops or greens are a good source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones, eggshells, and feathers. They’re also a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber while low in fat and calories.

Are Carrots Good for Parrots?

Wild parrots are grazers, so their diet is wide-ranging, eating many vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and insects. Carrots (Daucus carota) are among the most nutritious foods a parrot can eat.

Carrots should be rotated with other nutrient-rich vegetables to keep pet parrots healthy and strong. Let’s take a closer look at the many and varied nutritional benefits of carrots for parrots:

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Vitamin A deficiencies are common in pet parrots, especially those fed all-seed diets, like budgies.

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is a provitamin A bioconverted into retinol. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 25 grams of cooked carrots contain 4,250 IU of vitamin A.

Why are the fat-soluble retinoids found in carrots so important to the health of parrots? According to MSD Vet Manual, vitamin A is essential for the following reasons:  

Alternative beta-carotene-rich foods safe for parrots include red peppers, mangos, and papaya.

can parrots eat raw carrots?

Hydration Levels

Birds don’t always drink sufficient water, often deriving fluids from their food. This is among the reasons why it’s important to supplement a pellet diet with hydrating fruits and vegetables.

The water content of carrots is 85-95%, making them an ideal source of hydration for pet birds. The beta-carotene content also assists with fluid control, helping prevent conditions like polyuria and polydipsia.

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

A cup of chopped or diced raw carrots contains about 5 grams of dietary fiber (roughage).

Parrots need soluble and insoluble fiber to remain healthy. Fiber reduces the likelihood of constipation, weight gain, diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease.

Some bird species eat grit to assist with the digestive process, but the cellulose fibers in fruits and veggies are all that parrots need for healthy digestive transit.

Blood Clotting

The vitamin K1 content of carrots aids blood coagulation and healing if a parrot sustains cuts or wounds due to falls, collisions, and fights with cagemates.

Sustainable Energy

Carrots contain vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), which is needed for metabolism, converting food into energy. This is beneficial if you want a pet parrot to remain active and exercise more often.


Raw carrots are fun and interestingly shaped, providing parrots with much-needed mealtime enrichment. Parrots enjoy eating food, and carrots are nutritious, low-calorie snacks.

Beak Length

The fibrous texture helps keep a parrot’s beak sharp and at the optimal length. However, a badly deformed beak can be a symptom of fatty liver disease, so always get the bird checker over by a vet.

Natural and Unprocessed

Carrots, like all root vegetables, are natural and unprocessed. According to IAABC Journal, processed foods are linked to wing-flipping and toe-tapping in parrots.

Are Raw or Cooked Carrors Healthier for Parrots?

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the carotenoids in carrots are better preserved when cooked, most notably when boiled or steamed (not fried).

While cooking destroys vitamin C, this is less important for parrots because birds can produce ascorbic acid in the liver from glucose. Parrots can eat cooked carrots without salt (sodium), oil, or spices.

Raw carrots are also a fun way to eat vegetables due to their crunchy texture. They’re more abrasive than cooked carrots, which can wear down the beak and prevent overgrowth.

All granivorous birds have a cartilaginous connection between the skull and the beak, which means they can ‘shock absorb’ the pressure when biting into something hard like a raw carrot or nut.

Are Carrots Better Peeled or Unpeeled?

We’ve all been taught to peel carrots, but their skins aren’t as dense as potatoes. While an unpeeled carrot won’t be as visually enticing as a peeled carrot, it makes little practical difference.

A carrot’s skin is edible, and most nutrients are contained just below the skin’s surface. So, there’s no need to peel a carrot. If the carrot is badly bruised or damaged, offer them an alternative.

Wash each carrot under the tap for 30 seconds to remove dirt, debris, fertilizers, and pesticides.

are carrots safe for parrots?

Can Parrots Eat Carrot Tops?

Some parrots love to nibble on carrot tops due to their crunchy texture and unique flavor. Carrot tops (also called carrot greens) are high in vitamin K1, beta-carotene, potassium, iron, and calcium.

Research from BioOne Complete suggests that captive parrots can be deficient in calcium. Many owners feed carrot tops to animals because they’re among the best sources of dietary calcium.

Parrots need this calcium (and vitamin D3 from sunlight) for strong bones, feathers, and eggshells. For example, hypocalcaemic birds can have misshapen eggs, leading to egg binding (dystocia).

Carrot tops have a root vegetable flavor and can be combined with other foods for extra nutrition. Why not add shredded carrot tops if you create a ‘chop’ for a parrot or parakeet?

Can Parrots Eat Carrots Every Day?

Given the wide variety of bird-safe vegetables, carrots shouldn’t be fed to parrots daily.

Even if a parrot likes the sweet taste and crunchy texture of carrots, you should push them out of their comfort zone so they can benefit from a diverse range of vitamins and minerals.

Another thing you can do is give parrots different varieties and colors of carrots. There are 40+ members of the carrot family (Apiaceae), including the following:

  • Danvers carrots.
  • Nantes carrots.
  • Chantenay carrots.
  • Imperator carrots.

Make a ‘chop’ that has some carrots in it, along with other nutritious vegetables.

Carrots are safe for parrots and should be part of a balanced diet. However, the overconsumption of carrots can lead to carotenemia, where the skin takes on a yellow tint.

How Good Are Carrots for Parrots?  

Carrots benefit parrots because they protect against vitamin A and calcium deficiencies. They can also help a bird stay hydrated and maintain a healthy digestive tract.

Cooked parrots (boiled, steamed, grilled, etc.) are healthier for parrots than raw carrots because it increases the carotenoids. However, raw carrots wear down the beak and are more fun to eat.