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feeding corn on the cob to parrots

Can Parrots Eat Corn on the Cob? (Raw vs. Cooked)

Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Corn on the cob without salt, butter, or other additives is parrot-safe. They like the sweet taste of corn, and the cob that remains after pecking off the kernels can wear down the beak.

It’s good for parrots’ health because it contains vitamins A, B, E, and K, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, antioxidants (phenolic acids and flavonoids), and fiber.

Corn on the cob can be served raw or cooked because its nutritional profile remains unchanged.

Raw corn mirrors what a parrot would eat in the wild. That said, cooking releases a scent and makes it more enticing. Corn can attract fungal growth (mycotoxins), so remove it post-mealtime.

Parrots Like The Taste of Corn on The Cob

Captive parrots need a diverse diet that mirrors the foods eaten in the wild. Parrots sometimes eat raw corn in their natural habitat, making it a worthy dietary addition.

Each parrot is unique, so there are no guarantees it’ll enjoy corn on the cob. If you’re feeling uncertain, hand-feed them a handful of pieces of corn and assess the response.

The leftover cob is a source of nutrition and a toy for wearing down the beak.

Feeding Corn on The Cob To Parrots

Here’s the nutritional profile for one large ear of corn on the cob:

Total Fat3.4 g
Saturated Fat1.6 g of 3.4 g
Cholesterol5.8 mg
Sodium29.2 mg
Potassium359.2 mg
Carbohydrates32 g
Protein4.5 g

Health Benefits of Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is healthy for parrots. The nutrients in corn include:

Copper:Copper is essential for energy production and healthy immune and nervous systems.
Fiber:Fiber is needed for digestive transit and releases calories more slowly.
Iron:Iron is essential for red blood cell production. It’s also vital for immune function, gastrointestinal processes, and body temperature regulation.
Manganese:Manganese regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism. It’s also needed for bone health, connective tissues, and blood clotting.
Potassium:Potassium balances fluid levels and is essential for nervous and muscle function.
Vitamin B5:Iron is vital for red blood cell production. It’s also critical for immune function, gastrointestinal processes, and body temperature regulation.
Vitamin B6:B6 creates hemoglobin and metabolizes protein and glucose.
Vitamin B9:B9 generates cell growth and reduces the risk of heart problems.
Zinc:Zinc is necessary for nerve function, metabolism, and digestion.

Corn contains antioxidants (quercetin, carotenoids, etc.), reducing the impact of free radicals.

Corn on The Cob Can Be Bad for Parrots

Corn on the cob is high in carbohydrates (natural sugars). Overconsumption can lead to weight gain, which can result in mobility issues, joint pain, and diabetes.

Another concern is fungus in corn. Many cereals and legumes attract fungus, which can result in mycotoxins. According to Clinical Microbiology Reviews, mycotoxins can be deadly to parrots.

The journal Toxins said fumonisins are the mycotoxins most commonly found in corn on the cob. Corn on the cob grown and sold in the USA is subject to FDA checks and approval.

is corn good for parrots?

Raw or Cooked Corn

There’s little difference in the nutritional profile of corn on the cob, whether served cooked or raw. However, the aroma of cooked corn can make it more enticing.

Corn on the cob can be boiled, microwaved, baked, or grilled. You can even warm it over a barbeque. Never add butter, oil, salt, or other seasonings for flavor.

Frozen Corn

Freezing the corn ensures it remains fresh before feeding and will not lose flavor or nutrients. Ensure the corn is entirely defrosted before offering it to a pet parrot.

Canned Corn

Parrots can eat canned corn, but there are caveats. Canned corn may contain added sugar, sodium, additives, and preservatives. These additions will negate the health benefits of the corn.

Also, avoid creamed corn, as parrots are lactose intolerant. Parrots lack the enzyme lactase required for processing the lactose found in dairy products (milk, cheese, etc).

How To Feed Parrots Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob must be washed thoroughly before serving, even if it’s sold as organic.

You can strip the corn and place it in a bowl or hand-feed each piece to the parrot. Alternatively, you can hang the corn on the cob in the cage, allowing the parrot to peck at will.

Monitor the corn, ensuring it doesn’t start to decay before the parrot finishes. Corn on the cob only lasts around 2 hours (if not refrigerated) before it starts to turn.

Amount of Corn on The Cob for Parrots

As corn shouldn’t be left in a parrot’s cage for more than a few hours, offer it to them in small quantities. If a parrot eats a small corn on the cob once a week, it won’t experience any adverse effects.