The idea of parrots eating meat may come as a huge surprise to owners, but you should offer your parrot some white and red meat to replicate its diet in the wild. Meat shouldn’t be the main part of a parrot’s diet.
Parrots are omnivorous, so they eat plant and animal matter in the wild. Chicken and turkey are the healthiest types of meat but shouldn’t be the main part of your parrot’s diet. Red meats, such as pork, beef, veal, and lamb, are less healthy as they’re high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Never add salt or seasoning to meats.
Your parrot can live a healthy life without consuming meat, but consumption is normal. Meat contains quality protein (amino acids) and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, zinc, selenium, and pantothenic acid. Chicken bones enhance beak health, and animal eggs are a rich source of calcium and iron.
Can Parrots Eat Meat?
Wild parrots will readily consume meat if it’s available. However, animals are difficult for parrots to hunt. The process of chasing down and killing another animal is time-consuming, exhausting, and dangerous. Instead, most parrots reserve their energy by foraging for food. Insects are easy to find and plentiful in supply.
Aside from this, parrots will seek out animal matter that’s easy to steal. For example, parrots eat eggs and baby chicks from the nests of other birds. Parrots will also take a fresh corpse abandoned by a predator that hunted it down should one suddenly become available. This includes:
To parrots, the most desirable parts of an animal will be their muscle and bones. Parrots love to pull apart the bones with their powerful beaks as the marrow can provide vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
Is Meat Bad For Parrots?
Meat is healthy in moderation, but consumption can introduce health and behavioral problems:
Weight Gain And Obesity
Red meat is high in fat, so a parrot that eats too much may grow obese. The easiest way to check for those extra pounds is by feeling around the parrot’s keel bone.
This bone runs vertically across the chest. On each side of the keel bone are the breast muscles. Since parrots accumulate fat in that area, check if both breast muscles protrude past the keel bone.
If so, your parrot is overweight. Your priority should be to reduce your parrot’s calorie consumption, not add to it. Consider substituting part of your parrot’s food for some white meat, such as turkey or chicken.
Unhappy parrots let you know how they feel through their behavior. Parrots dislike change, and irritability is common when there’s a dietary modification that parrots disapprove of. Not all parrots like eating meat.
High cholesterol leads to heart problems in parrots. By recognizing the signs of heart disease, you can switch from red meat to white meat. Signs of high cholesterol include:
- Blue tint around the eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Resistance to exercise
Feeding Parrots Meat
If your parrot is keen to eat low-fat meat, here are some options:
Do Parrots Eat Chicken?
Chicken is one of the best types of meat for parrots. Here’s why:
- Lean poultry. It contains low amounts of saturated fat
- Bone development. Important for, standing, flying, and all forms of activity
- Protein. Amino acids are essential for muscle and cell regeneration
Never feed chicken nuggets to a parrot. They contain chemical preservatives, such as TBHQ. This is an aromatic chemical found in varnishes and perfumes. Chicken nuggets are also high in sodium and fat.
Do Parrots Eat Beef?
Red meat, such as beef, isn’t recommended as it’s high in cholesterol. Some wild parrots do consume red meat, but the opportunity rarely presents itself. The amount eaten isn’t sufficient to pose a health risk.
Beef jerky is processed food, which isn’t healthy for parrots to eat. Most processed food contains sodium nitrite, which is used to discourage bacterial growth. Too much sodium nitrite can cause heart disease and damage blood vessels.
Do Parrots Eat Pork?
Pork is high in saturated fat, so it shouldn’t be fed to parrots more than twice a month. However, if your parrot prefers pork to poultry, it should only receive small portions of pork.
Do Parrots Eat Lamb?
Lamb is red meat, so it also has a high saturated fat content. In the same way that pork should be fed in moderation, the same applies to lamb.
Do Parrots Eat Turkey?
Turkey is a good alternative to chicken as it has the same nutritional value. It can be included in a parrot’s diet if your parrot doesn’t like other poultry. For poultry, you should boil or bake it plainly. No seasoning should be added.
Do Parrots Eat Ham?
Ham is processed, cooked, and ready to be eaten. That tempts some owners to use it as a convenient, ready-made treat for their parrots. Unfortunately, most cold cuts contain preservatives. Like other red meats, it’s also high in saturated fat.
Do Parrots Eat Bones?
Parrots like eating animal bones. Wild parrots will often break open bones with their beaks and eat the bone marrow inside. Because they find it so entertaining, a bone can turn into a:
- Fun toy
- Source of calcium, like cuttlebones
Playing with bones promotes beak health, so consider putting one into your parrot’s cage. Remain close to supervise. The parrot may be enthusiastic about chewing on the bone, and you don’t want it to swallow the bone fragments.
You could also extract the marrow from the bone and mix it with your parrot’s regular food. By doing so, the parrot will acquire all the rich nutrients, and you won’t have to worry about it choking.
Will Eating Meat Make My Parrot Aggressive?
Some believe that meat awakens some primal instinct deep within a parrot. It supposedly turns them into aggressive carnivores once they’ve tasted flesh. This has to do with how humans see carnivores and herbivores.
Herbivores are seen as peaceful creatures, while carnivores are perceived to be aggressive predators. Many people are surprised to learn that parrots are omnivores like:
However, those birds are predators while parrots are prey animals. Those predator birds look to make parrots their meal and tend to be very aggressive. It’s not often that wild parrots eat meat. However, you may find your parrot becomes irritable when presented with meat for the first time. Here’s why:
Wants To Eat More
Parrots usually like the taste of meat, developing a craving for it and wanting more of this new, tasty treat. If you refuse to offer it, your parrot may grow agitated.
Your parrot may overeat meat and become sick. This can make it irritable as it struggles to process the food. If the meat is not properly cooked, it can also make a parrot ill. This can be dangerous because:
- An upset stomach may disrupt a parrot’s digestive tract
- It could cause a loss of trust because you gave it something that caused discomfort
Wild parrots learn what’s safe and unsafe to eat from their parents. Pet parrots, however, don’t have this instinct and trust their owners to feed them tasty and nutritious foods.
White meat and some red meat makes a healthy addition to your parrot’s diet. It’s a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, it should only be offered to your parrot occasionally, especially if your parrot is overweight.