Last Updated on: 31st May 2023, 12:38 pm
Pineapples (Ananas comosus) grow in South America, the Caribbean, and tropical Asia, many of which are native to parrots. Parrots can eat pineapple, including the meat of the fruit, core, skin, and leaves.
Pineapple is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. So, parrots will benefit from superior digestion, a robust immune system, improved healing, and increased disease resistance.
Most parrots enjoy pineapple, while some dislike the sharp flavor. However, the natural sugars are usually sufficient to tempt even the pickiest bird into partaking in this delicious and flavorful fruit.
Are Parrots Allowed Pineapple?
Pineapple contains no harmful substances, so it isn’t toxic or dangerous for birds. Wild parrots eat pineapple to meet their high metabolic needs, as it’s a good source of quick-release energy.
It’s also an essential source of hydration, where water sources can be hard to find. The average pineapple comprises 86% water. Some parrots are reluctant to drink, deriving water from their food.
All parrots can eat pineapple, including the following species:
- African greys.
- Eclectus parrots.
- Amazon parrots.
- Indian ringneck parrots.
- Quaker parrots.
- Alexandrine parrots.
Let’s look at the different parts of the pineapple and assess if they’re healthy for parrots:
The core is safe and a good source of essential nutrients:
- Bromelain. This proteolytic enzyme is an anticoagulant (slows blood clotting time), reduces pain and swelling, helps with muscle soreness, and is an immune system booster.
- Fiber. The core of a pineapple contains more fiber, aiding birds’ digestive health and transit.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). It’s an essential antioxidant that protects the cells against oxidative stress. It’s also needed for iron absorption, tissue growth and repair, and lower blood pressure.
You can safely feed a pineapple core to a parrot, but it may not be its favorite part of the fruit. Pineapple cores are less juicy, bitter, and thick-textured.
A parrot will likely prefer the juicy outer meat over the taste of the core. However, putting a few chunks or slices of the core in the parrot’s food bowl is recommended.
When a pet parrot is bored, it can gain enrichment by grinding through the tough core.
This thick, sometimes sharp outer layer will keep parrots busy. They can peck and gnaw at the surface, benefitting from the diverse range of vitamins and minerals in/near the skin.
This includes high amounts of beta-carotene, a pigment that gives the pineapple its bright yellow color. Once ingested, this compound is converted into vitamin A, which can improve parrots:
- Eye health.
- Bone strength.
- Immune function.
- Fluid balance.
- Disease resistance.
Beta carotene is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and slows the effects of aging. It can also reduce the incidence of problems like feather-destructive behavior (feather plucking).
Unfortunately, many parrots have a vitamin A deficiency (hypovitaminosis A).
Pineapples have a tall crown of leaves on their head that are usually thrown away during food preparation. Humans won’t benefit from consuming these hard, spiky greens, but parrots can.
Pineapples belong to the bromeliad family, a common plant family in the tropics. Wild parrots and bromeliads co-exist, so a parrot may instinctively know to rip, pull, and gnaw on the leaves.
Is Pineapple Good for Parrots?
Pineapples benefit parrots in the following ways:
Antioxidants fight free radicals, which cause large-scale chain reactions in the body’s chemical balance called oxidation. The oxidation process is reduced if a parrot gets enough antioxidants.
So, a parrot must eat pineapple and other nutritious foods with antioxidant properties because they reduce the harsh effects of aging and the risk of degenerative diseases.
There are many antioxidants in pineapple. The most abundant are phenolic acids and flavonoids. According to the Journal of Natural Products, flavonoids have a positive effect on:
- Limiting the incidence of allergies.
- Fighting off viral infections.
- Reducing inflammation.
Pet birds should eat various fruits and vegetables for maximum health benefits.
The most abundant compounds in pineapple are vitamin C and bromelain, which achieve the following:
- Cell regeneration.
- Wound repair.
- Bacterial and viral infection prevention.
- Collagen creation.
- Iron absorption.
Eating pineapple may enable parrots to recover from and ward off illness.
Pineapple contains different minerals, enzymes, and compounds that can:
- Strengthen the stomach lining.
- Rebalance good bacteria in the gut.
- Promote superior digestion.
- Assist with healthy bowel movements.
The stringy nature of the meat, the thick outer shell, and the leaves provide roughage.
Parrots have hollow bones, which reduces their weight and enhances their ability to fly. Birds must get the right balance of vitamins and minerals to keep their bones strong and healthy.
Pineapple is rich in manganese, which has been linked to strengthening:
- Bone fiber.
- Connective tissue.
The average pineapple contains 118 mg. of calcium, which is also beneficial. To absorb calcium into the bones, parrots must be exposed to the sun’s UV rays for vitamin D3.
Can Parrots Eat Canned Pineapple?
The canning process doesn’t remove the nutrients, but always check the list of ingredients for unwanted additions. However, canned pineapples usually retain their original flavor and texture.
While the canning process doesn’t change the pineapple, the water content may vary. Some canned pineapples are also sweetened with added sugars to:
- Preserve the original texture.
- Maintain shape and consistency.
- Keep the color vibrant.
- Add more flavor.
This makes canned pineapples more marketable, but it’s not good for parrots. Birds shouldn’t consume artificial sweeteners, processed sugar, or too much natural sugar to prevent weight gain and obesity.
Preparing Canned Pineapple
You can remove most of the sugar from canned pineapples by:
- Placing the fruit in a strainer.
- Rinsing it under cold, running water.
This should wash away most of the syrup, but some will remain. Opt for fresh or tinned, unsweetened pineapple chunks to keep the parrot’s food as sugar-free as possible.
Look for cans that have little or no added sugar. These are often labeled ‘light syrup’ or ‘100% juice.’ Those branded with ‘heavy syrup’ are used for desserts or candied dishes and must be avoided.
Can Parrots Eat Dried Pineapple?
While some nutrients will be lost in the drying process, others remain. Store-bought varieties add preservatives and sugar to improve the taste and lifespan of pineapple.
Preparing Dried Pineapple
Drying the fruit at home is the safest, healthiest option. To make dried pineapple:
- Chop the pineapple into small chunks.
- Place the pieces on a baking tray.
- Heat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let the pineapple chunks cook slowly.
Can Parrots Drink Pineapple Juice?
The juice will be safe for parrots if freshly squeezed from organic chunks you’ve diced at home. It’ll contain the original vitamins and minerals, keeping the parrot healthy and hydrated.
Avoid commercially processed fruit juice because it’s high in sugar, preservatives, and artificial colors. You can look for sugar-free brands which may contain sugar substitutes like xylitol (which is toxic for birds).
How Much Pineapple Can Parrots Eat?
Parrots can eat pineapple and many other healthy fruits and vegetables. Fruit and veg should comprise around 15-20% of a parrot’s diet.
You can give parrots a few pineapple chunks 2-3 times weekly. Dietary diversity is essential, so give them an assortment of fruits for added flavor, texture, and nutrients.
Too much pineapple (or any fruit) can unsettle parrots’ digestive systems, leading to diarrhea.