Parrots thrive on a diet that includes veggies, fruits, and herbs. Mint is a popular household herb favored because of its strong flavor, aroma, and calming effects. While it may seem like a good addition to your parrot’s diet, some owners are concerned that the flavor and aroma may be overwhelming.
Mint is OK for parrots to eat or drink as tea. Parrots with anxiety, digestive issues, or a habit of self-plucking feathers will benefit from the calming menthol. It balances the metabolism, relaxes the muscles, and prevents stomach cramps. It contains vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, folate, iron, manganese, and antioxidants.
Parrots can eat almost every type of mint, from spearmint to peppermint and beyond. It contains no harmful compounds or chemicals that need to be avoided. Parrots can enjoy fresh mint, dried mint, mint tea, and peppermint extract. However, they should not be exposed to any essential oil, whether or not it’s mint.
Are Parrots Allowed Mint Leaves?
When sharing with their parrot, many owners need to exclude spices and flavorings from their food. However, mint is healthy for parrots to eat. That puts several treats on the menu.
It contains no harmful compounds or chemicals that will hurt your parrot. Although some plants react negatively once digested by parrots, mint is an exception. It will harmlessly pass through the crop, the gizzard, the stomach, and the intestines without issue.
Mint belongs to the Lamiaceae family, which includes peppermints and spearmints. Because of this, the term “mint” can also refer to other members of its family. Most plants that have mint in their name share a similar scent and taste to the original. Your parrot will be intrigued by this herb’s strong flavor, interesting aroma, and novel textures.
Can Parrots Have Mint Leaves?
This herb is not only tasty but also very healthy for parrots. In fact, mint is a common herbal remedy used by owners to alleviate symptoms of:
- Digestive issues
- Cognitive issues that come with aging
That means you can regularly incorporate mint into your parrot’s diet. It will improve its overall health. Here are the primary benefits:
|Mint Compounds||Health Benefits|
|Thymol||Lessens anxiety and prevents indigestion|
|Antioxidants||Prevents age-related illnesses, like cardiovascular diseases and cancer|
|Vitamins and Minerals||Improves eye health, builds stronger bones, and balances the metabolism|
Helps Parrots Calm Down
Parrots are easily startled and prone to destructive behavior when they’re upset. If your parrot has recently moved into your home, is a rescue, or is generally anxious, mint can be a useful home remedy.
This is because of the menthol present in mint. Known to be a natural muscle relaxant, it can soothe nerves, relax gastrointestinal muscles, and help with inflammation. According to Gastroenterology, this not only improves digestion but helps to relieve stress.
That makes it ideal for parrots that are prone to self-mutilation or plucking from stress. Mint can soothe any pain from the yanked-out feathers and ease the stress from your parrot’s muscles. With these calming effects, your parrot can enjoy a more well-balanced mood and a calmer disposition.
Improves Digestive Issues
Because of their complicated digestive system, many parrots struggle with indigestion. Thankfully, mint’s greatest superpower is in calming the stomach. According to The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, peppermint oil alleviates symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although this is more common in humans, it can also affect parrots.
Once again, we can thank the compound menthol for this result. It relaxes the muscles in the body, making the intestinal tract less likely to cramp or spasm. If your parrot is experiencing digestive issues, it will help resolve this and make your parrot feel better in the meantime.
Any kind of mint can relieve indigestion, especially when it is taken with meals. According to the Journal of Gastroenterology, food passes quicker in the gut when accompanied by peppermint oil. You can buy the extract and mix it with food or offer mint leaves to your parrot so it can eat it naturally.
Keeps Your Parrot Sharp
Parrots are known as the most intelligent birds of all, with long lifespans to match. Because of that, they can also experience cognitive decline with age. By adding a few servings of mint to the parrot’s diet, you can help your pet’s brain stay alert and sharp throughout the years.
That’s because menthol also works to stimulate the hippocampus. Although this section of the brain differs slightly from mammals, the results of mint can be the same. Your parrot can enjoy a stronger memory, better reaction times, and mental clarity.
Aside from that, parrots show difficulty in problem-solving and socialization when stressed. According to Lab Animal, parrots have significantly shorter lifespans when exposed to long-term trauma, especially early in life. Mint’s calming effects can also help your parrot focus, live longer, and live better.
Rich In Nutrients
Aside from the beneficial effects of menthol, mint is packed full of vitamins and minerals. Some of the most prominent include vitamin A and folate. Vitamin A is mainly responsible for eye health. Meanwhile, folate helps in creating red blood cells. This can help your parrot improve its already impressive eyesight, enjoy healthier blood, and have better circulation.
As for minerals, this herb is packed with iron and manganese. Iron is mainly responsible for creating blood, while manganese primarily focuses on:
- Building tissue
- Creating stronger bones
- Producing hormones
- Balancing the metabolism
- Improving brain function
Since parrots have a fast-paced metabolism and rely on hormones to control their molts and egg production, that’s highly valuable. Adding mint to your parrot’s diet can keep it balanced, healthy, and energetic.
High Levels Of Antioxidants
Perhaps best of all, mint contains a high level of antioxidants. In fact, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, mint has some of the most potent antioxidants of all herbs and spices.
Antioxidants help the body prevent oxidative stress, which has a dramatic effect on parrots. The free radicals that cause oxidative stress can result in more diseases related to aging. These include neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer.
Oxidative stress is a natural part of aging and impossible to prevent. However, with a diet rich in antioxidants, your parrot can stay happier and healthier for longer.
Can Parrots Eat Fresh Mint?
While mint in any form is healthy for your parrot, fresh mint leaves are ideal. That’s because they:
- Contain the highest amount of nutrients
- Have a stronger, brighter flavor
- Have a more enticing aroma
- Have a fresh, leafy texture that parrots enjoy
- It can easily be chopped, smashed, or mixed in with other food
Fresh mint leaves can be found at farmer’s markets, health food stores, or grown yourself. Because mint is such a hardy plant, it’s simple to cultivate in a potted plant or a box outside your window.
Just keep in mind that some commercial mint leaves are sprayed with insecticide. These will need to be properly washed off before offering them to your parrot.
Can Parrots Have Dried Mint?
Dried mint lacks many of the vitamins and minerals that are found in fresh mint. It also has a duller taste, which your parrot may find uninteresting. However, it’s completely safe to eat and will not harm your pet.
Dried mint can be crushed and easily sprinkled on top of your parrot’s food. It’s easy to store in jars, can be purchased with other spices, and lasts for years.
Can Parrots Have Mint Tea?
Mint tea is a great way to offer this herb to your parrot. That’s because some parrots will dislike the fresh leaves, or your pet may constantly beg for a sip of your tea. In this case, mint tea works as:
- A great bonding activity between you and your parrot
- A home remedy to calm down an anxious bird
- A clever way to make your parrot drink more water, consume more mint, or both
Simply make a cup of mint tea as you normally would. Then, dilute ¼ of the tea by adding 1 cup of hot water.
To make the activity more effective, sip your own cup of tea alongside the parrot. Sometimes, your calm presence is enough to alleviate your bird’s anxiety. The mint tea can just be a nice, tasty bonus.
Is Peppermint Oil Safe For Parrots?
Nearly all essential oils are toxic to pets, especially birds. Essential oils should never be ingested by your parrot, even in small amounts.
Likewise, essential oils should not be placed topically, either. They are too concentrated to be used safely on your parrot’s feathers or skin. Essential oils may cause irritation, inflammation, and even pain. In the worst-case scenario, your parrot will begin plucking out its feathers and pecking at its skin to remove both the sensation and the scent of the oil.
To cap it off, parrots have a very sensitive respiratory system. This makes them highly susceptible to toxins in the air, so diffusers are out of the question. The fact that it’s peppermint oil does not change this.
On the flipside, peppermint extract can be a safe ingredient to use in your parrot’s diet. It can sometimes be confused with oil, depending on the kind you buy. This should never be fed directly to your parrot, nor should it be poured into its water. It’s only acceptable if it’s highly diluted and mixed with other food like you would in your own meals.
Do Parrots Like Mint Leaves?
Mint checks all the boxes for food that parrots will love. It has an interesting texture, an enticing aroma, and it tastes unique, too. For birds that like novelty in their food, mint will be a welcome addition.
This is especially true for parrots that are interested in the smell of chewing gum or toothpaste. If you find your parrot is drawn to these scents, offer it a healthy version with natural mint leaves.
Of course, some parrots are finicky. Yours may dislike mint and refuse to eat food that contains it. Do not take this as a sign that mint is unsafe for your parrot. The bird may be unfamiliar with the scent or flavor and unsure of how to proceed.
How To Give Peppermint to Your Parrots
If your parrot is new to mint, or seems to dislike it, there are ways to encourage it to try this new food. You can:
Chop Mint Into Pieces
Unlike other herbs, mint can have a strong and overpowering flavor. A little goes a long way. If your parrot is hesitant with mint, lessen the amount that you offer. You can chop it into small pieces and mix it in with other food. The other flavors may dampen the strong aroma and the taste.
Change It Up
Mint comes in several different varieties, the most common being spearmint and peppermint. Spearmint tends to have a more refreshing but subtle taste. Peppermint, on the other hand, has a stronger taste with grassy, bitter flavors.
Changing up the mint that you feed to your parrot can keep things new and novel. Other herbs in the mint family are mostly safe for your parrot, so feel free to check them out as well.
Avoid Giving At Night
The menthol compounds found in mint can be a muscle-relaxant. However, mint also has stimulating properties. With its sharp odor and strong taste, it’s not hard to see how it can energize your parrot.
According to Nutrients, ingesting peppermint oil capsules can even lessen fatigue. If your parrot keeps turning the mint down, try offering it early in the morning, especially if it seems groggy.
Mint is a common herb that serves as a good addition to your parrot’s diet. By sprinkling it into food, steeping it in tea, or offering it straight, your parrot can enjoy a health boost. Over time, it will even feel more energized, calm, and sharp.