Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens
All parts of the strawberry, including the leaves, flowers, tops, and seeds, are parrot-safe. Despite the sweet flavor, strawberries are lower in natural sugars than most other fruits.
Strawberries contain antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folate, magnesium, and iron. These are beneficial in reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
Wash each piece of fruit, rejecting any with soft spots or mold growth. Offer parrots up to 2 to 3 servings of strawberries per week and only 1 to 4 at a time, perhaps as part of a delicious fruit medley.
Feeding Parrots Strawberries
Strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) are a favorite fruit. They’re relatively small and soft, so they don’t represent a choking hazard. You can offer strawberries to parrots whole, sliced, or chopped up.
Cutting strawberries into small pieces can create the illusion of more food. This can be helpful if you have a particularly greedy pet parrot that doesn’t know when it has eaten enough.
These sweet-tasting and juicy berries appeal to a parrot’s sense of taste and smell. They’re suitable for parrots because they contain no/minimal sodium, fat, sugar, and bad cholesterol.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
The benefits of giving strawberries to parrots include:
- Fiber for healthy digestion and digestive transit, helping to prevent constipation.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) for a robust immune system.
- Vitamin B9 (folate) for the formation and replacement of old red blood cells.
- Vitamin K for blood coagulation and healing from wounds/cuts.
- Antioxidants. According to Advances in Nutrition, anthocyanins are correlated to blood sugar regulation (diabetes prevention), lower cholesterol levels, and reduced inflammation.
- Strawberries control the release of insulin, resulting in sustained blood sugar levels. They have a low glycaemic index (GI) of 41, which can assist with satiety and weight control.
There are no adverse side effects of feeding parrots strawberries in moderation. Excessive strawberry consumption can result in stomach upset, bloating, gassiness, and runny stools.
How To Feed Strawberries To Parrots
There are many ways to feed strawberries to parrots, whether fresh, frozen, dehydrated, or through strawberry-flavored products like jelly.
Ripe vs. Unripe Strawberries
If strawberries are white or green at the top/bottom, they need more time to ripen fully.
Underripe (green or white strawberries) retain some nutritional benefits. Unfortunately, unripened strawberries contain less anthocyanin, the antioxidant that gives strawberries their bright red color.
The bitter or astringent taste makes unripe berries unappealing, meaning most parrots won’t partake.
Fresh, organic strawberries are the healthiest way to introduce a new fruit to a parrot’s diet. Of course, you shouldn’t feed parrots strawberries that are turning bad or have gone rotten.
Bad strawberries have the following warning signs:
- White, brown, or black discoloration.
- Soft and mushy areas.
- Yellowing and crinkly leaves.
- Acrid aroma.
You can hand-feed a whole strawberry or slice it up and serve it in a dish.
Parrots drop their food, so handing each berry over is recommended if you don’t want strawberry residue everywhere. This minimizes the risk of rotting fruit (fungal spores) and bacterial microbes.
If you feed a parrot strawberries in a dish, remove them once it has lost interest.
Strawberries And Cream
This human dessert is unsuitable 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 may experience a bad stomach.
Dehydrated or Dried Strawberries
Dehydrated strawberries won’t turn bad as quickly.
The downside of store-bought dehydrated strawberries is that they may contain added sugar. One solution is to buy a dehydrator or to bake strawberries.
To make dried strawberries without a dehydrator, slice the fruit into thin pieces. Then, bake the strawberries at 200°F for 2 hours. Allow them to cool before serving.
Strawberry leaves are safe to eat. Unlike the fruit, the leaves of the strawberry plant taste bitter. Consequently, many parrots reject the leaves because they’re unappealing.
Inspect the strawberry leaves for problems. 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 have safety concerns about strawberry leaves, discard them.
The seeds of strawberries (achenes) are found externally on the fruit. These tiny white dots give strawberries an interesting appearance. Each strawberry has about 200 achenes.
Strawberry seeds are non-toxic and won’t pose a choking hazard.
Parrots can be fussy about drinking water. This is dangerous because parrots won’t survive without water for more than 24-72 hours. Small, sick, and elderly parrots may perish sooner.
Parrots have a better sense of smell than many birds. You may convince a parrot to drink by making the water smell more appealing. Of course, parrots also hydrate themselves by eating fruit.
Add some strawberry juice to the water and see if this piques the parrot’s curiosity.
Jelly should be considered a one-off treat (perhaps as a training reward) and not a dietary staple.
Avoid mass-produced strawberry jelly that contains artificial sweeteners. While scientific studies are limited in birds, artificial sweeteners cause hypoglycemia, liver damage, and death in dogs.
Strawberry Yoghurt or Milk
Don’t offer a parrot strawberry milkshake, yogurt, and other dairy products 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.
The lactase will sit within the stomach, causing painful cramps and bloating, leading to diarrhea. Even vegan products that market themselves as dairy-free sometimes contain lactose.
Number of Strawberries Parrots Can Eat
Throw out moldy and decaying strawberries to avoid digestive and respiratory distress. Mold spores can cause Aspergillosis in birds. Then, wash them to remove residual pesticides (agrochemicals).
Offer parrots 1 to 4 strawberries, depending on the size of the parrot species.
- Small parrots: 1 or 2 strawberries.
- Medium parrots: Up to 3 strawberries.
- Large parrots: Up to 4 strawberries.
Limit strawberry servings to 2 to 3 times per week, alongside other nutritious fruits. If a parrot begs for more strawberries, cut them into quarters to make it believe it’s getting extra food.
Sliced strawberries can be used as a training reward or to encourage positive behaviors.