Parrots are granivorous birds who eat fruit regularly, so strawberries are part of their natural diet. All parts of the strawberry, including the leaves, flowers, tops, and seeds, are safe for parrots.
Despite their sweet flavor, strawberries are surprisingly low in sugar. They’re a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that keep avian illnesses and diseases at bay.
Wash each piece of fruit and check for signs of mold growth. Never feed birds moldy food because it contains fungal spores that can lead to aspergillosis (severe respiratory disease).
While fresh fruit is recommended, frozen and canned strawberries are bird-safe. However, they shouldn’t contain added sugars, sweeteners, artificial flavorings, or preservatives, so check the ingredients list.
You can give pet birds homemade strawberry juice diluted with water if a parrot’s not drinking. Parrots can also eat strawberry jelly as a one-off treat if it’s free from artificial sugars (like xylitol or aspartame).
Avoid strawberry milk, yogurt, and strawberries with cream, as parrots are lactose intolerant.
Can You Give Parrots Strawberries?
Strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) are a favorite fruit for parrots. They’re small and aren’t a choking hazard, so you can offer strawberries whole, sliced, or chopped up.
Of course, cutting strawberries into small pieces can create the illusion of more food. This can be a useful tactic if you have a particularly greedy pet parrot.
These sweet-tasting and juicy berries appeal to a parrot’s sense of taste and smell. They’re also good for parrots because they contain no/minimal sodium, fat, sugar, and bad cholesterol.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries have many beneficial qualities that bolster parrots’ health, including:
- Fiber for healthy digestion and regular digestive transit.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) for a robust immune system.
- Vitamin B9 (folate) for the formation and replacement of red blood cells.
- Vitamin K for faster blood coagulation and faster healing from cuts and wounds.
- Antioxidants like anthocyanins. According to Advances in Nutrition, anthocyanins are linked to blood sugar regulation (diabetes prevention), lower cholesterol levels, and reduced inflammation.
- Strawberries moderate the release of insulin, resulting in more sustained energy levels.
- Strawberries’ low glycaemic index (GI) can help prevent weight gain and obesity.
As long as you control frequency and portion sizes, strawberries are a healthy dietary addition.
There are no adverse side effects of strawberries. However, excessive strawberries can lead to stomach upset, resulting in bloating, gassiness, runny stools, and overall discomfort.
How To Feed Strawberries To Parrots
There are many ways strawberries can be fed to parrots, whether fresh, frozen, dehydrated, or through strawberry-flavored products like jelly.
Fresh, organic strawberries are the healthiest way to introduce a new fruit to a parrot’s diet. You can hand-feed a whole strawberry to a parrot or slice it up and serve it in a dish.
Parrots are messy eaters, so handing each berry over is recommended if you don’t want strawberry residue in the cage. This will minimize the risk of rotting fruit and bacterial contaminants.
If you feed a parrot strawberries in a dish, remove the bowl when done and perform spot cleaning.
Strawberries And Cream
This much-loved human dessert is inappropriate for parrots because birds are lactose intolerant. Unfortunately, their bodies lack the enzyme lactase, so they can’t process dairy products.
If you feed a parrot strawberries and cream in a bowl, it’ll likely experience gastric distress.
Dehydrated or Dried Strawberries
Dehydrated strawberries are more cost-effective because they won’t turn bad as quickly.
The downside of store-bought dehydrated strawberries is that they may contain added sugar. One way around this is to buy a dehydrator or to bake fresh strawberries.
To make dried strawberries without specialist equipment, chop off the leaves and slice the fruit into thin pieces. Bake the strawberries at 200OF for 2 hours and leave them to cool.
Strawberry leaves are safe for parrots. Unlike the fruit itself, the leaves of the strawberry plant taste bitter. Consequently, some parrots reject the leaves and only eat the fruit’s flesh.
Inspect strawberry leaves before giving them to a parrot. According to Plant Disease, angular spots on the undersides of leaves suggest the presence of Xanthomonas fragariae bacteria.
Fluffy white patches on a strawberry leaf signify mildew. Don’t feed parrots these leaves or the suspect strawberry. If you doubt the safety of strawberry leaves, cut them off and discard them.
The seeds of a strawberry (called achenes) are found on the outside of the fruit. These tiny white dots give strawberries a unique and interesting appearance. Each strawberry has about 200 of these seeds.
Strawberry seeds are too small to pose a choking hazard and are non-toxic for birds.
Parrots can be fussy about drinking water, which is dangerous because most birds won’t survive for more than 24-72 hours without adequate hydration. Smaller, sick, and elderly birds may perish sooner.
Parrots have a better sense of scent than many birds, so you can convince a parrot to drink by making the water smell more appealing. Of course, parrots will gain hydration from eating fruit.
Squeeze some strawberry juice into the water and see if this piques the parrot’s curiosity. This purpose encourages hydration, so don’t include pulp or whole pieces of strawberry.
If you want to teach a parrot new tricks, strawberry jelly can be a useful incentive. Jelly should be considered a one-off treat and not a dietary staple.
Avoid mass-produced strawberry jelly that contains artificial sweeteners. While scientific studies are limited in birds, it causes hypoglycemia, liver damage, and death in dogs.
Strawberry Yoghurt or Milk
As discussed, parrots are lactose intolerant. You shouldn’t offer a bird strawberry milkshake, strawberry yogurt, or other dairy product with strawberry flavoring.
Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics explain how lactose intolerance stems from the absence of the lactase enzyme in the body. Lactase breaks lactose down within the body.
Lactose intolerance makes this impossible. The lactase will sit within the stomach, causing painful cramps and bloating, eventually leading to diarrhea in birds.
Even vegan products that market themselves as dairy-free sometimes contain lactose.
How Many Strawberries Can Parrots Have?
Wash strawberries to remove dirt and pesticide residue. Then, throw out any diseased and damaged fruit.
Be mindful of a parrot’s greedy tendencies. Only offer 1-2 strawberries, walking away from begging. You could cut a strawberry into quarters if you want the bird to think it’s getting more food.
Fruit and vegetables should comprise 10-15% of a parrot’s diet. Given that different vitamins and minerals are found in other varieties of fruit and veg, providing dietary diversity is essential.