Wild parrots eat nuts because they’re a good source of energy, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Pet parrots can eat unsalted and dry-roasted nuts without seasonings.
The best nuts for parrots are pine nuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts. You can feed parrots peanuts (monkey nuts) if they’re fresh, human-grade, and roasted.
Some nuts are more likely to harbor mold or trigger allergies. So, avoid feeding your parrot unshelled nuts unless you’re 100% certain they’re clean and mold-free. Only get nuts from reputable sources and closely inspect any with cracked shells for signs of mold.
Are Nuts Healthy For Parrots?
Nuts are good for parrots and are a natural part of their diet in the wild. Parrots are found in habitats across the southern hemisphere, from Central and South America to Australia.
Here, budgies forage for the following nuts:
They can be found in ample supply in these regions. Since parrots aren’t hunters, they rely on these easy-to-find food supplies. A solid cache of nuts can provide a flock of parrots with:
- Vitamin E
Parrots can fly great distances, so nuts are a valuable energy source. Nuts also help keep their beaks strong, their feathers long and healthy, and their minds sharp.
Cracking the outer shells of nuts also provides enrichment.
Are Nuts Dangerous for Parrots?
Your parrot won’t be foraging for nuts from natural sources in an untouched habitat.
It’ll be eating store-bought nuts that may be salted or roasted with oils and added flavorings. The nuts may also be grown improperly or even contaminated.
Before you feed your parrot nuts, let’s explore the risks:
Parrots shouldn’t be fed nuts that are salted, roasted in oil, or have added flavorings due to:
- Synthetic ingredients
So, only give your parrot dry-roasted, unsalted, and unseasoned nuts.
Nuts can contain aspergillus, which is derived from mold. This can impact a parrot’s health by causing it to develop aspergillosis. This is an infection that causes:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
Unfortunately, mold can grow inside nuts. Due to the shell, it can be hard to determine whether a nut is moldy. If your parrot has eaten moldy nuts, its health will decline.
Before offering nuts to a parrot, do the following:
- Crack open and check any nuts before feeding them to the parrot, especially peanuts.
- Wash all nuts under hot water to remove any invisible traces of mold.
- Get human-grade peanuts from reputable sources, such as grocery stores.
- Check the sell-by date on the packaging.
Although rare, allergies can have negative effects on parrots. Common allergic reactions include:
- Itchy skin
- Swollen eyes
- Eye discharge
- Sneezing or wheezing
What Nuts Are Safe for Parrots
Few nuts contain compounds that are harmful to parrots. Let’s explore the nuts you can feed parrots:
Can You Feed Parrots Almonds?
Almonds are among the best nuts to feed parrots. They are easy to find in stores and have the most health benefits. Almonds have the highest amounts of:
- Dietary fiber
Almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which perform many functions in a parrot’s body, including:
- Preventing heart disease
- Reducing the chances of stroke
- Controlling arthritis
- Lowering the risk of atherosclerosis
Can Parrots Eat Bitter Almonds?
Sweet almonds are safe for parrots, but bitter almonds are toxic when eaten raw because they contain glycoside amygdalin.
Bitter almonds are banned for sale in the U.S. However, in most European countries, they can still be purchased as they can be cooked to remove toxins.
Can Parrots Have Macadamia Nuts?
Macadamia nuts are safe but may not be the best option for parrots.
Macadamia nuts have the highest amount of fat per nut and the lowest amount of protein. While they’re still a good treat, this makes them less nutritious.
Macadamia nuts may have lower protein levels than other nuts, but that amount is still significant. For 3 ounces of macadamia nuts, a parrot will get 7 grams of protein.
Macadamia nuts are also rich in vitamin B6, which:
- Metabolizes fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
- Creates red blood cells
- Renews neurotransmitters
These nuts are also high in the following minerals:
Only feed raw macadamia nuts to your parrot.
Can Parrots Eat Cashew Nuts?
Cashews have the highest amounts of zinc and copper. That assists with blood creation, nutrient absorption, and eye health. Also, cashews contain minerals, such as:
Vitamins in cashews include:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
Cashews are linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disorders, like stroke and heart disease.
Are Cashews Too Oily for Parrots?
Cashews contain healthy oils. Only offer a small number of cashews to your parrot in raw, unsalted form. You can also soak cashew nuts in water to reduce the amount of phytic acid.
Can Parrots Eat Monkey Nuts?
Peanuts (also known as peanuts) can be a healthy treat for parrots, but they must be 100% fresh and fit for human consumption.
This is due to the presence of Aflatoxin, which is toxic to the liver. Roasting peanuts slightly reduces the amount of Aflatoxin, but it doesn’t remove the presence entirely.
Peanuts have a higher chance of harboring mold than other nuts, leading to aspergillosis.
According to Mycopathologia, Aflatoxin can be found in other nuts, not just peanuts. However, peanuts contain more Aflatoxin as they grow underground.
Before offering them to your parrot, you must always shell, inspect, clean, and roast any peanuts.
Once they’re clean and roasted, your parrot will benefit from:
- B vitamins
Peanuts are high in calories and can lead to obesity in parrots. 3-5 peanuts 1-2 a week will suffice.
Can Parrots Eat Brazil Nuts?
This nut is known for its buttery texture, so it’s tasty when eaten raw. Parrots will likely prefer Brazil nuts’ robust taste and silky exterior over the alternatives.
Brazil nuts are good for parrots. Of the nuts on this list, they contain the highest magnesium level. This plays an important role in:
- Energy creation
- Developing proteins
- Repairing DNA and RNA genes
- Healthy nerves and muscles
Alongside that, Brazil nuts are among the most concentrated dietary sources of selenium, an antioxidant responsible for boosting a parrot’s metabolism and maintaining a healthy thyroid.
A healthy metabolism prevents digestive issues and improves how a parrot absorbs nutrients. This is also due to the thyroid’s role in improving growth and development.
According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the thyroid contains more selenium than any other body part. A lack of selenium has been linked to a higher risk of hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis.
Can Parrots Eat Walnuts?
Walnuts are sweet and buttery in texture, making a healthy addition to your parrot’s diet when unsalted. When fed 1-2 walnuts a week, your parrot can benefit from:
- Vitamin B6, E, and B9
Walnuts are a good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants come from plant compounds, most concentrated in the walnut’s brown skin. They include:
- Ellagic acid
- Phytic acid
Antioxidants lower the risk of diseases related to aging. With 1-2 walnuts, your parrot will absorb nutrients more effectively and maintain a more balanced sleep cycle.
Walnuts have the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids of all nuts. Specifically, they contain 2.5 grams of omega-3 per ounce of walnuts.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the omega-3 found in walnuts lowers the risk of mortality from heart disease by 10%.
Can Parrots Eat Pine Nuts?
Parrots can safely eat pine nuts, just like most tree nuts. These are the primary source of fat and protein for species like the thick-billed parrot. Pine nuts are a good source of:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
This can aid in your parrot’s digestion, strengthen bones, and improve the vibrancy of feathers.
Can Parrots Eat Hazelnuts?
Hazelnuts have a sweet flavor and high amounts of vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
These nuts have a high amount of:
Are Hazelnuts The Best Nuts For Parrots?
The antioxidants in hazelnuts fight oxidative stress, which has been linked to cell damage. Oxidative stress can cause aging, cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.
According to the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, hazelnuts are linked to lower levels of oxidative stress. The study determined that a higher level of hazelnut consumption lessened the damage to the DNA of the observed patients.
So, they’re a good choice for sick and aging parrots. Likewise, if you’ve recently adopted a malnourished parrot, hazelnuts can help them regain lost weight and improve their health.
Only feed raw hazelnuts to your parrot. The antioxidants in hazelnuts are concentrated in the skin, and roasting has been shown to lower their levels.
How Many Nuts Should You Feed Your Parrot?
Parrots can be given 2-3 nuts daily, depending on their activity level. This can be reduced to 2-3 nuts for older or more sedentary parrots 3-4 times a week.
If a parrot is overfed nuts, you may encounter the following problems:
- Refusal to eat other foods
Can Parrots Eat Unshelled Nuts?
Avoid feeding parrots unshelled nuts due to the mold that may exist within.
You won’t be aware the nut is affected until the shell is opened and the nut has been consumed. So, you must shell any nuts before feeding them to your parrot.
Be suspicious if you see any cracks in the shells, as this means that the nuts have been exposed to moisture and air, increasing the chances of mold growth.