Celery (Apium graveolens) is from the family Apiaceae, which is the same family as parsley and carrots. The celery stick has an earthy and peppery taste that some parrots enjoy more than others.
More than just the flavor, most parrots like celery’s crunchy yet juicy texture. They hold the celery stick in position with their claws and tear it with their beaks.
Parrots can eat celery stalks/stems, leaves, and seeds, as they’re a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, phosphorus, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants.
However, overconsumption leaves parrots vulnerable to vitamin deficiencies and malnourishment. Celery has few calories, so parrots that ate little else would have low energy and lose weight quickly.
Celery’s stringiness poses a problem for parrots, who may struggle to digest the tough and fibrous material. Unfortunately, the stringiness can sometimes cause crop impaction.
Is Celery Good for Parrots?
Feeding celery in moderation keeps the heart, kidneys, immune system, and digestive tract functioning healthily because it provides parrots with these essential nutrients:
Vitamin A (retinol) is a fat-soluble micronutrient essential to parrots’ metabolic processes, including growth and repair, immunity, vision, and reproduction.
Unfortunately, some parrots are deficient in vitamin A, especially those fed an all-seed diet, because they miss out on vitamin A from pellets, fruits, and vegetables. Hypovitaminosis A is common in budgies.
As described by a journal on Vin, parrots get beta-carotene from fruits and vegetables, which is converted into vitamin A. Therefore, parrots must get sufficient vitamin A from a dietary source.
The symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency include the following:
- Low feather quality.
- Tiredness and lethargy.
- Polyuria and polydipsia.
- Oral abscesses.
- Night blindness.
- Weak bones.
- Respiratory problems.
- Lowered immune function.
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye).
Similarly, parrots with a vitamin A deficiency have dull red, orange, and yellow feathers because they lack sufficient carotenoids to give them their colorful and vibrant plumage.
Vitamin B9 (Folates)
Celery contains folates, which are essential for cellular growth and regeneration, healthy kidneys, and preventing anemia. Giving parrots celery may prevent the formation of kidney stones.
A cup of celery contains 9.1 mg of vitamin C.
While not as much as kiwi and oranges, celery still includes an appreciable amount of vitamin C relative to its calories. Vitamin C performs vital bodily functions, including the following:
- Increases blood antioxidant levels.
- Maintains stable blood sugar levels.
- Collagen production for healthy skin.
- Assisting with wound recovery.
- Keeps blood pressure at safe levels.
However, getting vitamin C from a dietary source is non-essential for parrots because they produce vitamin C (ascorbic acid) from glucose in the liver.
There are 56.7μg of vitamin K in an average cup of diced or sliced celery.
Celery contains vitamin K, which is essential for strong bones. Vitamin K and calcium-deficient parrots have weak, brittle bones prone to fractures.
Vitamin K assists with the synthesis of prothrombin, so it clots the blood, stemming the flow and preventing heavy bleeding. Anemia and vitamin K deficiencies are closely correlated with each other.
Egg-laying (gravid) female parrots need more vitamin K (along with protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D) to keep their eggshells strong and healthy, reducing the risk of hatching mortality.
A cup of celery contains 63 mg of calcium, an essential mineral for a healthy skeleton and egg formation.
Because parrots can’t fully digest lactose because they don’t produce the enzyme lactase, dairy products are unsuitable for parrots. As a result, parrots must get calcium from other dietary sources.
Calcium is essential to parrots for the following reasons:
- Strong and healthy eggshells.
- Preventing self-destructive behaviors.
- Blood clotting.
- Muscle contractions.
- Balance and coordination.
- Heart and nerve function.
Additional calcium is required for egg-laying parrots, or this mineral will be extracted from elsewhere in the body. When this happens, parrots have an elevated risk of hypocalcemia.
A medium-sized celery stick contains 104 mg of potassium.
Potassium combines with essential electrolyte minerals like calcium and sodium to optimize fluid levels in the body, which is essential for muscle contractions and a normal heart rate.
Giving a parrot a cup of diced celery will give it 37.5 mg of phosphorus. Parrots need phosphorous for strong bones, new cell creation, and generating energy.
Is Celery Bad for Parrots?
Celery isn’t toxic for parrots and is safe to eat in moderation. However, the stringy consistency of celery can cause certain digestive problems in birds.
Before feeding celery to a parrot, there are issues to be aware of, including the following:
Because celery is a fibrous material, it can get stuck inside the parrot’s crop. As described by VCA Hospitals, the entrapment of foreign objects causes impaction, leading to infection.
Crop impaction (also called crop stasis) occurs when food can’t move through the digestive tract. Then, the parrot will get a secondary bacterial, fungal, or yeast infection.
The symptoms of crop impaction include the following:
- Extended crop for 24+ hours.
- Loss of appetite.
- Vomiting and regurgitation.
- Puffed-up feathers.
- Lethargy and inactivity.
A vet will administer antibiotics or antifungal medication to treat the infection. Also, intravenous (IV) fluids will be provided to rehydrate the parrot. Sometimes, surgery is required to remove the blockage.
While celery is a good soluble and insoluble fiber source, too much can be counterproductive.
As celery is high in water, too much can cause watery stools and diarrhea. Also, it can cause excess gas to accumulate in the stomach, leaving parrots bloated and uncomfortable.
Celery stalks are high in cellulose. This complex carbohydrate is contained in the cell wall of celery, but it can’t be digested or absorbed by birds (or humans).
Parrots have a short and narrow digestive tract, so this fibrous material is unnecessary. Also, if cellulose is consumed in large quantities, it can cause gastric distress.
Can Parrots Drink Celery Juice?
Celery juice is healthy because it pulverizes the stringy pieces that can get stuck in the crop.
Some parrots like drinking celery from a shallow bowl. It’s ideal for juicing due to its high water content, as the water gives it a pleasant consistency.
Similarly, combining celery with other vegetables and juicing them with water is an excellent way to provide a parrot with additional vitamins and minerals.
Can Parrots Eat Celery Leaves?
The dark outer leaves are the tastiest part, so many parrots love devouring them. The texture is tough and fibrous, providing parrots with mental stimulation, as they’ll enjoy ripping and tearing them apart.
The lighter inner leaves are delicate with a more subtle flavor. While neither contains enough nutrients to sustain a parrot, they’re healthy when paired with the rest of the celery.
However, celery leaves contain minuscule traces of toxic compounds called psoralens, which could cause an adverse reaction if consumed excessively.
Can Parrots Eat Celery Seeds?
Celery seeds are as safe as the other parts of the celery, containing various beneficial nutrients.
The seeds are found in the plant, not the celery. Once they become brown and dry, you can harvest them and feed them to the parrot.
How To Prepare Celery for A Parrot
Wash the celery in cool water and rub the fibrous sections to ensure it’s clean and pesticide-free. To prevent large strings from being ingested, chop the celery into small chunks or slices.
If you’re concerned about crop impaction, juice the celery and offer it in a shallow bowl. If the parrot hasn’t consumed it within a few hours, replace it with fresh celery so it doesn’t go bad.