Parrots enjoy a varied diet that consists of a wide range of different fruits. Cherries are small, juicy, and rich in essential vitamins and nutrients that parrots need to maintain their health.
Parrots can eat cherries. They’re high in nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and phosphorous. However, the pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous, so you must remove them first. Cherries are also sprayed with pesticides, so you should wash them before feeding them to your parrot.
As with all fruits, avoid overfeeding cherries to your parrot as too many will cause nutritional deficiencies. That’s why you need to incorporate them alongside other types of food (pellets, vegetables, meat, etc.)
Can Parrots Eat Cherries?
Cherries are safe for parrots to eat, as long as the pits are removed. Cherries are highly nutritious and are rich in essential vitamins and minerals your parrot needs to stay healthy. They’re also tasty and juicy, so your parrot will really enjoy eating them.
Along with other fruits and vegetables, cherries shouldn’t make up more than 15% of your parrot’s diet. They are best paired with other highly nutritious fruits, including:
The rest of your parrot’s diet should consist of pellets, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and meat. Cherries can be:
- Chopped into smaller pieces
- Mashed into a delicious purée and served in a shallow dish
- Blended with water into a refreshing and hydrating juice drink
- Added to a medley of other healthy fruits
In terms of nutrients, cherries have plenty, including:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
This makes them a good addition to your parrot’s diet.
Do Parrots Like Cherries?
Parrots enjoy all manner of fruits and regularly eat them in the wild. This means parrots are likely to enjoy consuming cherries, too. Although, this all comes down to your bird’s individual taste preferences.
There’s no harm in trying your parrot with cherries to see if it enjoys the taste. Because they’re sweet, mild, and not very acidic, they’re bound to be a popular choice. However, as mentioned, it’s really important to remove the pits and wash the skin thoroughly.
Cherries Nutritional Information
As detailed by the U.S Department of Agriculture, a 100 g portion of cherries contain the following nutrients:
|Nutritional Content:||Amount Per Serving|
|Vitamin C||7 mg|
|Vitamin A||3 µg|
|Vitamin K||2.1 µg|
Is It Safe For Parrots To Eat Cherries?
Cherries are healthy and safe for parrots to eat. Cherries contain a wide range of nutrients, including:
Vitamin C is one of the most beneficial vitamins and can do wonders for your parrot’s overall health and wellbeing. That’s because it:
- Boosts the immune system
- Helps the body absorb iron
- Keeps blood sugar levels stable
- Helps the muscles and bones develop properly
- Stabilizes cholesterol levels
- Stops bad cells from forming
Vitamin C can fight off infections and speed up healing whenever the parrot has an injury or wound. Similarly, vitamin C is beneficial for parrots with a rash or fungal infection, and can help clear them up.
According to MSD Veterinary Manual, vitamin A plays a significant part in avian health and is crucial for a healthy immune system.
It’s also an important vitamin for eye health and prevents parrots from going blind. As a result, vitamin A can help with:
- Eye infections
- Kidney disorders
Sadly, many parrots lack the appropriate amount of vitamin A, leaving them with deficiencies. This is common because they’re predominantly fed nuts and seeds, which don’t contain much (if any) vitamin A. Symptoms of a deficiency include:
- Oral abscesses and white plaques in the mouth
- Respiratory problems
- Respiratory disease
- Poor vision
- Weak and brittle bones
- Lowered immune function
Cherries are a great way to boost these levels to a more healthy amount, preventing these harmful conditions from developing.
Calcium is the mineral responsible for keeping a parrot’s bones strong. Many captive parrots are deficient in calcium and have hypocalcemia.
Similarly, parrots can’t digest lactose, so they can’t eat dairy products as a way to boost their levels. As explained by the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, calcium prevents:
- Muscle pain and contractions
- Heart disorders
It also makes eggshells strong and healthy, and prevents parrots from plucking out their feathers and self-mutilating. This is something captive parrots are prone to. Larger birds, especially African greys, have greater bone density and require more calcium.
100 g of cherries contains 11 g of magnesium. Magnesium is important because it helps the body absorb calcium. Insufficient magnesium is partly responsible for calcium deficiencies.
Parrots that don’t have enough develop soft, brittle bones, leaving them prone to accidents and injury. They’re also more likely to develop rickets, which is a calcium-related condition.
Parrots also need magnesium to keep their nerves and muscles functioning properly. Magnesium also:
- Helps bones grow
- Regulates temperature
- Prevents seizures
Magnesium isn’t well-known as something parrots need to eat, but it can help prevent a range of health problems. Aside from cherries, coconut and sugarcane are good sources of magnesium.
Fiber assists with the digestive process by flushing out the gut, but it keeps it regular and healthy. It also helps soften stools, allowing them to pass out of the body much more easily.
Fiber is also filling. Cherries fill parrots up, preventing them from getting hungry too quickly. Hungry parrots start vocalizing and displaying destructive tendencies to demand more food. So, providing them with fiber-rich foods is a good way to keep their behavior under control.
100 g of cherries contains 21 mg of phosphorus. This nutrient is found in the teeth, bones, tissue, and body fluids. It has a range of benefits, as it:
- Allows the body to use lipids and proteins
- Keeps eggshells healthy
- Improves bone formation
- Metabolizes fats and carbs
- Repairs tissue and cells
- Filters waste
Parrots don’t need too much phosphorus, so cherries are a good way to keep their levels adequately topped up.
Are Cherries Toxic To Parrots?
The pits are the only part of a cherry that’s harmful. The flesh and skin are OK for parrots to eat and contain many nutrients, as explained.
However, more than 98% of cherries contain at least one pesticide, making it one of the most contaminated fruits, alongside strawberries, spinach, apples, grapes, and peaches. In truth, most fruits and vegetables contain pesticides, especially if they’re not organic.
If parrots come into contact with harmful pesticides, they’re likely to experience:
- Labored breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Head tilt
To prevent this, wash them or choose organic cherries.
Can Parrots Eat Cherry Pits?
As explained, cherries are healthy – it’s the pits you have to watch out for. That’s because they contain amygdalin, which is a chemical compound.
When the compound’s chewed and digested, it turns into cyanide, which is toxic to parrots. Small birds are most at risk, as the poison affects them more quickly than larger birds.
According to the Journal of Basic and Applied Zoology, a study into domestic chickens found that direct exposure to cyanide through food items induced oxidative stress, damaging their tissue.
While this study strictly relates to chickens, parrots are affected by cyanide in the same way. Even though cherry pits are only small, you must take your parrot to the vet immediately if it ingests one.
In reality, healthy parrots are most likely to metabolize cyanide before it becomes a problem. That being said, it’s not worth taking the risk.
Can Parrots Eat Dried Cherries?
Dried cherries are safe for parrots to eat, and they contain all the nutrients of fresh cherries. In fact, dried cherries are a great way to provide this healthy fruit to parrots out of season.
Organic dried cherries are best, as they’re less likely to contain pesticides. However, avoid store-bought varieties that contain sulfur dioxide to preserve them. Parrots have been known to have allergic reactions to them.
Similarly, dried cherries are far smaller than fresh cherries, so they’re easier to overfeed. Be careful of how much you give to your parrot.
Can Parrots Drink Cherry Juice?
Cherry juice is another way to provide your parrot with the fruit’s essential nutrients. Some parrots prefer to drink fruit juice instead of eating them.
However, many store-bought varieties are packed with preservatives and added sugar, meaning they’re not suitable for birds. Refined sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity. It’s also not something your parrot should eat.
As a result, it’s far healthier to make your own cherry juice. It’s easy to do – squeeze out the liquid after making a small incision on the surface of the cherry. There are also tools you can use that do the same job.
You can also mix cherry juice with your bird’s favorite nuts and seeds to boost the nutrient levels.
Can Parrots Eat Glace Cherries?
While glace cherries originally come from fresh cherries, they’re blanched and soaked in sugar syrup to give them their sweet flavor and soft texture. These preservatives also contain sulfur dioxide, which is harmful.
Even though your parrot would probably enjoy the taste of a glace cherry, they’re unhealthy. They also lose most of their nutrients during the blanching process, so there’s little nutritional value.
Also, what they lose in healthy nutrients, they make up for in calories. This means parrots are more likely to put on weight if they’re allowed to eat glace cherries. So, opt for fresh or dried cherries instead.
Cherries are a delicious fruit that’s full of healthy nutrients, meaning you can safely add them to your parrot’s diet. Just remember to remove the pits first and clean the skin thoroughly to remove all pesticide traces.