Pet parrots should regularly eat different fruits. Since oranges are among the most popular varieties, you may wonder if oranges are healthy. This tropical fruit contains no harmful toxins or substances to parrots.
All parts of an orange, including the flesh, seeds, and peel, can be eaten by parrots. Oranges are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re good for a parrot’s eyesight, immune system, heart, feathers, and skin.
Orange juice is a rich source of vitamin C, which can fight off illnesses. Don’t let your parrot drink store-bought orange juice as it contains colorings, flavorings, preservatives, and added sugar.
Can You Give Parrots Oranges?
While some foods can’t be fed to parrots, all parts of the orange are safe to eat. They don’t contain any harmful toxins, compounds, or enzymes that might be dangerous. In fact, they’re an excellent source of:
Oranges aren’t a food staple for parrots in the wild, but many species still eat them. This is similar to how parrots eat scavenged meat but don’t actively hunt prey.
Oranges are a tropical fruit native to Asia, but they also grow in balmy regions. Since parrots can be found in parts of Asia, they naturally encounter these citrus plants.
The Malay Archipelago is the most common site of oranges, with dense jungles of parrots and other birds. Here, oranges, along with other citrus fruits, provide a source of sustenance.
Are Oranges Good For Parrots?
Oranges are dense in nutrients, leading to improvements in your parrot’s short-term and long-term health.
Oranges are rich in compounds known as flavonoids. Scientists believe that flavonoids:
- Improve blood flow
- Regulate blood pressure
- Prevent heart disease
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports these claims. It was determined that hesperidin, a type of flavonoid, is linked to lower blood pressure levels.
Additionally, oranges are high in fiber, which can improve your parrot’s digestion and heart health. According to Nutrition Research, fiber from citrus fruits decreases blood cholesterol levels.
Oranges contain plant compounds that are antioxidants. Antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of:
- Metabolic diseases
- Diseases related to inflammation
Flavonoids include hesperidin and anthocyanins. In particular, anthocyanins give oranges their bright orange color. This is why blood oranges have a strong reddish hue and can give your parrot:
- Better vision
- Healthier blood cells
- Mental sharpness
- A robust immune system
With a lifespan of upwards of 80 years, this will be crucial as your parrot ages.
Carotenoids And Vitamin A
Carotenoids are present in fruits with a yellowish or reddish hue. These include:
These convert into vitamin A and other compounds. They can boost your parrot’s energy levels and strengthen its:
- Immune system
Citrus fruits get their sour taste from citric acid, which can improve your parrot’s:
- Feather strength and color
Most of all, citric acid works wonders in preventing kidney stones from forming. According to The Journal of Urology, citric acid is strongest in orange juice.
While uncommon in birds, there have been recorded cases of parrots being diagnosed with anemia. Anemia is a condition in which the body has a lower level of red blood cells or hemoglobin. The most common cause of anemia is a lack of iron in the body.
To safeguard your parrot’s blood, their diet should include a balanced amount of iron. While oranges aren’t iron-rich, they have compounds that help your parrot better process iron from other sources. This includes organic acids, such as:
- Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- Citric acid
Do Parrots Like Oranges?
Most parrots like oranges, even if they don’t actively search them out in the wild. Your pet parrot should enjoy the:
- Rough and textured skin
- The stringy inner flesh
- The juicy nature of oranges
- Sweet flavor
With that said, every parrot is different. Yours may be hesitant to try new foods or be put off by the orange’s smooth skin. If it refuses this citrus fruit, don’t worry. Other foods can provide the same health benefits as oranges.
You can also train your parrot to like oranges. Tactics include:
- Offering the parrot slices by hand.
- Eating an orange in front of your parrot.
- Adding orange juice to your parrot’s water bowl.
- Chopping up oranges and mixing them with other food.
Can Parrots Eat Orange Peel?
Parrots can eat orange peels. In fact, your parrot may love the skin most of all. Its beak will easily dig in and tear it free. Once it has, the parrot will enjoy a rich boost of vitamin C, which is found most densely in the skin. Peeling oranges alone can be a source of enrichment.
However, not all peels are safe. While not toxic by themselves, they may be exposed to pesticides during the farming process. Because of the spongy nature of orange peels, it’s difficult to wash away all traces of these poisons.
Only choose organic fruits if you want your parrot to enjoy the vitamin-rich peels. These can be found at farmer’s markets or health food stores.
Can Parrots Eat Orange Seeds?
Orange seeds are harmless and can be safely fed to parrots. This is good news, as there will be many seeds tethered between the orange’s stringy meat. They do not contain cyanide or other toxins that might otherwise harm your parrot.
Your parrot may enjoy picking out the seeds individually or swallowing them whole as it eats the juicy fruit. The chances of choking are minimal, as orange seeds tend to be small and flat.
Can Parrots Drink Orange Juice?
Orange juice is a good source of citric acid with more packed into the liquid than anywhere else in the fruit. Your parrot can safely drink it from the orange while munching on it. If you juice oranges at home, you can also offer your parrot a small glass or mix some into its water bowl.
Never give your parrot commercially-bought juice. Most brands, even in organic stores, often contain some measure of:
- Supplements designed to increase the vitamin or mineral count, but which are harmful to parrots
Even if you juice the oranges at home, keep in mind that the juice is less nutritious than the body of the fruit. Your parrot will not gain the same amount of fiber or minerals. It’s a great way to condense vitamin C, but it does exclude other health benefits.
Fresh orange juice is high in natural sugars. These are healthy, but the condensed amount in orange juice may be too much for a single serving. Offer your parrot a few tablespoons at most. The best approach is to mix a small amount with water, so your parrot can drink in moderation.
How Much Orange Can You Give To Your Parrot?
Fresh fruits should comprise around 10% of your parrot’s meals. Oranges are good and healthy, but all their nutrients go to waste without a balanced diet surrounding them. A slice of orange every 2 days is a safe amount.
The sweet flavor may encourage your parrot to overeat. As such, only offer your parrot a slice at a time. If it wants to play with a whole orange, offer this only once every 1-2 weeks.
Too much vitamin C at once may also lead to your parrot’s body flushing out the extra. If you’re trying to top up its vitamin levels, consider chopping up oranges or mincing them. This can be mixed with seeds or grains, so they’re included in several meals throughout the day. This small amount gives your parrot a chance to metabolize the nutrients properly.
When feeding orange to your parrot, be sure to rinse the fruit well and keep the food bowl clean afterward. If the bird happens to smear the sugary juice everywhere, clean up the bird and the area with a damp cloth. Oranges are very healthy for parrots, but the resulting bacteria won’t be.