Fish is the best animal protein your parrot can eat. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It can improve your parrot’s immune system, brain, feathers, beak, and energy levels. However, there are dangers present in seafood, so be sure to consider all of the risks.
Parrots can eat fish, but certain types of seafood can be harmful. While there are no types that are strictly off-limits, shellfish do present more dangers. Exposure to pollutants, natural toxins, and mercury can make crabs, shrimp, and other shellfish unhealthy for parrots. This also applies to fish, but less is present in salmon, cod, and catfish. To safely feed your parrot seafood, be sure to cook it thoroughly.
You should also be careful of the seafood’s source. Farm-grown fish and shellfish will are the safest options. If you feed the parrot canned fish, make sure that it’s water-packed without extra salt or oil. Fish and seafood should be fed to your parrot in small quantities. Too much will unbalance its diet, lead to digestive issues, or cause weight gain.
Are Parrots Allowed To Eat Fish?
Parrots can eat fish. In fact, fish contains many nutrients that can’t be found in other types of food that your parrot eats. A few pieces of tuna or a salmon steak can work as a treat and a supplement.
Parrots should only have fish once or twice a week. For less active parrots, this can be less often. Fish or seafood should never replace your parrot’s other meals. A couple of pieces of fish as a treat will suffice.
When provided in the right amounts, fish can provide a health boost. That’s especially valuable if your parrot is trying to recover from:
- A growth spurt
- A recent molt
High Quality Animal Protein
Alongside chicken, fish is considered one of the best sources of animal protein. That’s because it is lower in saturated fat and calories. Parrots rely on high amounts of protein in their diet. This helps to:
- Boost their immune system
- Give them more energy
- Strengthen their cardiovascular health
- Produce healthy blood cells
- Keep their minds sharp
When it comes to protein, the best source is animal protein. Indeed, vegetarian diets (or diets that do not contain meat) may become problematic. They do contain some protein but tend to lack many of the essential amino acids parrots rely on. That makes a seed-only diet a no-go.
According to Food and Chemical Toxicology, eating the recommended quantity of fish per week can significantly increase a parrot’s lifespan. This makes it even better than traditional red meats, which have been linked to many diseases and illnesses. For example:
- Esophageal cancer
- Chronic diseases
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re found in abundance in this white meat. These acids are responsible for:
- Improved brain function
- Better eyesight
- Healthier skin
- Improved feather and beak growth
- Stronger immunity
- Better functioning metabolisms
Certain kinds of fish are especially plentiful in omega-3. For example, salmon and sardines are often used for extracting omega-3 to include in vitamin capsules. If you want to round out your parrot’s diet without using supplements, you can go right to the source.
Even better, fish contains more than one type of omega-3. These include EPA and DHA, which are found more plentifully in fish than any other creature. You can help your parrot stock up for a healthier future with just a couple of servings per week.
Certain types of fish meat are a great source of calcium. Calcium is important for maintaining joint health and keeping bones strong. That’s even more crucial for parrots, which rely heavily on their:
All of these body parts are made of bone. If your parrot gets low on calcium, you may find:
- Its feathers growing brittle
- Its beak chipping more frequently
- Its talons beginning to crack or develop fissures
Adding fish to your bird’s diet will top it up on this crucial mineral. Seeds, leafy greens, and fruits won’t be enough to accomplish this, so parrots are usually calcium deficient, according to the Journal Of Veterinary Medicine in Germany. This makes it important to add fish to the menu.
Phosphorus plays a vital role in the creation of bones. This makes it an essential mineral for your parrot’s body. Fish contains phosphorus in abundance. This mineral also helps to:
- Create proteins that are used in growing, maintaining, and repairing cells and tissues.
- Make ATP, a molecule used in the body to store energy
- Improve kidney function
- Regulate muscle contractions
- Keep the heartbeat steady
- Keep nerve signals strong
Parrots don’t fare well in dark, secluded environments. This is partly because it limits how much vitamin D they absorb from the sun. However, if your parrot needs an extra boost during gloomy winter months, feed it fish. According to a study published in Nutrition, fish and fish products are among the best sources of vitamin D.
The main role of vitamin D is to keep bones healthy. It accomplishes this partly by helping your parrot to absorb any calcium that it eats. Even if your parrot gets a lot of calcium and phosphorus, lacking vitamin D will make the bones brittle and weak.
While it’s making your parrot’s beak, talons, and feathers stronger, vitamin D will also:
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote the growth of cells
- Strengthen the immune system
Do Parrots Like Fish?
Parrots love the taste of fish. This type of meat is lean, flavorful, and easy to tear through. A lightly cooked piece of tuna will taste like fresh meat in the wild. Your parrot should eat it after smelling and lightly tasting it.
However, all parrots are different. Yours may be hesitant to try new foods or even refuse the taste of fish. If that’s the case, you can help your bird warm up to the idea.
- Try fresh fish. Your parrot might dislike the packed flavor.
- Avoid seasoning or using oil on the fish. The more natural the food, the better.
- Eat some of the fish in front of your parrot. The parrot might enjoy sharing a meal with you and trust the meal once it’s seen you eat it.
- Offer it by hand. It may be hesitant to taste new foods in its bowl, but trusts food out of your hand.
- Let it investigate the fish. Set it on the table to let your parrot nudge, smell, and lick the fish.
Of course, some parrots never warm up to fish. If that’s the case, you can try other types of meat to discover what your parrot likes best. While fish is really healthy, you can round out your parrot’s diet in other ways.
Do Parrots Eat Fish In The Wild?
In the wild, parrots typically do not eat fish. This isn’t because they dislike fish, though. It’s because they struggle to hunt for them.
Fish-eating birds have long and sharp beaks to stab fish in the water. Exceptions include the pelican, but this bird has a pouch that allows it to scoop up fish. Since parrots have hooked beaks, it’s difficult for them to snatch up prey from the water.
Aside from that, birds of prey that naturally hunt fish burn a lot of energy doing so. Wild parrots much prefer to leisurely forage on bugs, berries, seeds, and fruits. They save their energy for long flights and escaping predators.
If parrots could easily catch fish, it would become a regular part of their diet. In the meantime, wild parrots rely on scavenging. If a fish-eating bird has left behind a kill, a parrot will happily eat the remaining meat. This isn’t a regular occurrence, so most parrots find animals like mice or lizards to gain the necessary amount of protein.
Will Fish Make Parrots Fat?
Of course, wild parrots get far more exercise than domestic parrots. Fish is a great way for them to store up extra fat to fuel their active lifestyle. If your pet parrot isn’t spending all day flying, foraging, and playing, this will be a problem. Fish can make your parrot fat in short order.
As such, it’s important to feed your parrot fish in moderation. It should be treated as a reward or a mild supplement, not the main course.
Can Parrots Eat Seafood?
Along with fish, parrots can safely eat certain types of seafood. This should be approached with caution. Seafood not only concerns fish but also:
These types of meat offer the same benefits as fish. They’re rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. However, they also have compounds that can make them dangerous to parrots. Before you offer your parrot seafood (and particularly shellfish), consider this:
Shellfish have a higher chance of retaining pollutants found in the oceans. That’s especially true for shellfish, which rely on eating decay or waste found on the seafloors.
While many types of seafood are reared on farms that limit how contaminated they can be, this isn’t always the case. In fact, wild-caught seafood is often considered fresher and tastier. While you might like this feature, your parrot may not. It will be more susceptible to bacteria and toxins than the average person.
In addition to man-made chemicals or waste, shellfish may pick up naturally occurring dangers. These include different forms of bacteria, parasites, and toxins.
In particular, crabs and shrimp rely on algae as one of their main food sources. Some types of algae are toxic and remain in the meat of the shellfish. If your parrot were to eat it, there is a chance of becoming ill.
Of course, there are strict safety standards in place to prevent a toxic shellfish from reaching your plate. However, the risk is still higher than with fish.
Aside from that, seafood can be deeply affected by ocean acidification. High levels of carbon dioxide cause this in the atmosphere. It results in heavy metals building up inside fish and other marine animals, making them toxic. This makes fish just as risky as other seafood. However, shellfish are more likely to retain these qualities after being cooked.
In particular, mercury is one of the most poignant metals found in seafood. It’s toxic to humans and parrots and is why pregnant people are encouraged to avoid shellfish. Fetuses, like parrots, are more susceptible to toxic hits on their system.
Does this mean that all types of seafood are dangerous? Not quite. Smaller fish tend to have higher levels of mercury due to their size. Likewise, bigger fish will have less of it. Types of fish that pose less risk include:
- Water-packed, canned tuna
The preparation of the seafood will also affect the amount of mercury present.
Can Parrots Eat Shellfish?
It’s more dangerous for parrots to eat shellfish than regular fish. You may wish to avoid crab or shrimp because of the higher chance of containing toxins that will impact your parrot’s health.
With that said, shellfish is not immediately harmful to your parrot. You can safely feed it if you:
- Ensure any seafood is farm-grown.
- Check the health and safety regulations on where the seafood is sourced.
- Thoroughly cook the seafood.
- Only feed the shellfish to a healthy parrot.
- Do not feed shellfish to young, elderly, or ill parrots.
How To Prepare Seafood For Your Parrot
As mentioned, thoroughly cooking your food will greatly lessen the amount of toxins present, if any. This will also kill off any harmful bacteria that may have gotten on your seafood during transit. The best ways to prepare seafood for parrots is:
You should not add oil, seasoning, or salt to the fish during this process. You should also avoid breading or frying the fish. Fish is already high in sodium, so adding more will only hurt your parrot’s system. Likewise, seasoning, breading, and oil can make your parrot sick or disrupt its digestion.
Can Parrots Eat Tuna Fish?
Plain tuna has many health benefits and can be a great choice for your parrot. When purchased in steaks, lightly baked, and fed without seasoning, your parrot will love it. Canned tuna, however, presents unique issues.
Your parrot can eat canned tuna, but be sure to feed it in moderation. This is because of the high level of sodium that is found in canned tuna. Likewise, you should always opt for water-packed tuna since tuna packed in oil can be too fatty for your parrot. It may lead to weight gain, digestive issues, and lethargy.
Can Parrots Eat Salmon?
Salomon is one of the best choices for your parrot. It’s high in vitamins in minerals, easy to source, and less likely to contain mercury. Both baked and smoked salmon are great choices. Just be sure to avoid adding salt, lemon juice, or other seasonings.
Can Parrots Eat Cod?
Like salmon, cod has a lower chance of containing mercury and can be found in nearly any store. You can grill the cod, smoke it, bake it, or sear it in a pan. Just make sure that you do not add oil or flavoring. While it may taste bland to you, plain cod is delectable to parrots.
Can Parrots Have Crab Legs?
Parrots can eat crab legs, but it may not be wise to feed this to them. As mentioned, crabs are a type of shellfish and carry additional risks with them. If you have crab legs that are as well-sourced as possible, though, this can be a healthy treat.
Crab legs have sweet, juicy meat that’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids. They’re a good source of protein and vitamins. Your parrot may even like prying off the hard outer shell itself. Just be sure to monitor this closely so your parrot doesn’t choke.
Can Parrots Eat Shrimp?
Like with crab legs, you should be hesitant to feed your parrot shrimp. If you do, the parrot will enjoy a burst of antioxidants and fatty acids. They can peel off the shell and gnaw on the meat underneath. Be sure to limit this to one shrimp every few days.
Can Parrots Eat Fish Sticks?
Parrots should not be given fish sticks. While the meat at the core is healthy, fish sticks are generally breaded and fried. This is unhealthy for a parrot and may result in health complications from the:
- Fat content
- Heavy starch
- High amounts of sodium
It’s far better to give your parrot normal fish. If you have to, you can peel away the breading and offer your parrot the meat. Just keep in mind that this should be a rare treat. The amount of sodium that’s added to fish sticks will upset your parrot’s digestive system.
Can Parrots Eat Sardines?
Sardines are safe to feed to your parrot. However, you should do so in small quantities. This is because of the high number of calories that sardines have. If you have the choice, it’s better to feed your parrot salmon or cod.
Like with canned tuna, you should select any brands of canned sardines carefully. They tend to have a high salt content and may be full of oil. Always choose the kinds that are packed only in water.
Parrots do love fish, and can safely eat most seafood. The key is choosing only the healthiest options.