The diet of parrots needs to be balanced and varied to keep them healthy. Pellets alone will soon become boring, so you may decide to feed your parrot some sliced strawberries to add a little variety.
Parrots can eat all parts of the strawberry, including the leaves, seeds, flesh, skin, and juice. Strawberries are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, notably vitamin B9, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and anthocyanin.
Your parrot should only be fed a few strawberries per week. Fruit and vegetables shouldn’t exceed 15% of your parrot’s diet. Any strawberries offered to parrots should be washed thoroughly to remove any pesticide.
Are Strawberries Good For Parrots?
Parrots can be picky eaters, but they love eating many fruits and berries. In the wild, parrots will forage for nutritious fruits in trees, plants, and bushes. When it comes to strawberries, parrots will enjoy the:
- Sweetness. The natural sugars in strawberries will satisfy that craving.
- Play. The seed-heavy texture, the crunch of the fruit, and the juiciness have appeal.
- Variety. This brightly-colored fruit and juiciness add variety.
Never add cream to strawberries as parrots are unable to process lactose efficiently, leading to digestive problems. Cream is also high in fat, which can lead to weight gain. Just feed your parrot the fruit.
Strawberry leaves are safe to feed to your parrot. However, you may find that your parrot dislikes the taste of the leaves. A picky bird is likely to only accept the delicious fruit itself.
Strawberries are covered in tiny seeds on their exterior, which can be consumed. Some parrots even enjoy picking off these seeds before devouring the fruit.
Pure strawberry juice contains all the vitamins and nutrients as whole strawberries, minus some of the fiber.
However, store-bought strawberry juice often contains added sugars or has processed corn syrup mixed in. If you’re going to offer your parrot a refreshing strawberry juice drink, it’s recommended that you prepare it yourself.
Dried strawberries have a much longer shelf life. However, the dried strawberries in most stores aren’t as healthy because they contain preservatives and sugar.
You can buy dried strawberries from a health food store or make your own. Here’s how:
- Hull the berries
- Slice them into thin pieces
- Lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake them for 1-2 hours in a 200-degree Fahrenheit oven.
Strawberries contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients, including:
Strawberries are high in fiber, which is essential for a parrot’s digestive system. Fiber ensures that the good bacteria present in the gut stay balanced so that parrots can:
- Process foods
- Avoid stomach upsets
- Have regular bowel movements
While most vitamins and minerals are just trace amounts, you’ll find that the following in ample supply:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system. Vitamin C can strengthen your parrot’s ability to fight off illnesses, viruses, diseases, and the effects of aging.
Strawberries are high in folate (vitamin B9). Folate is linked to healthy tissue growth and cell function, including:
- White blood cells
- Red blood cells
- Cell division
Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, enabling wounds to heal properly. That will be beneficial for parrots with overgrown beaks or ones that frequently sustain cuts and scrapes.
Vitamin K has also been linked to a healthy bone structure.
Anthocyanin is a compound that gives strawberries their bright red color. Besides that, anthocyanin can also be found in plants with a red, purple, or blue hue, such as blackberries.
It has antioxidant properties linked to reducing the risk of developing heart disease. Researchers have noted that anthocyanin improves blood sugar regulation, reduces cholesterol levels, and prevents high blood pressure.
How Many Strawberries Can A Parrot Eat?
According to the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, captive parrots are often fed imbalanced diets. Since parrots have long lifespans, a poor diet can affect their quality of life.
You can’t depend on your parrot to self-ration the number of strawberries it eats. Only offer your parrot strawberries 3-4 times a week. It should be fed other fruits, accounting for up to 15% of its diet.
A large parrot with a good appetite may eat 2-4 strawberries per week, along with other fruits and vegetables. A smaller parrot may only need 1-2 strawberries per week.
How To Give Strawberries To Your Parrot
Before you put any strawberries into your parrot’s cage, prepare them correctly.
Like most commercially grown fruits, strawberries are sprayed with pesticides. This keeps them free of bugs and bacteria that would otherwise damage the fruit.
However, pesticides can’t be safely ingested by birds. If you get organic strawberries, this is the healthiest option.
Chop the strawberries into smaller pieces, or your parrot may:
- Smear the strawberry along its cage floor or your table
- Squirt juice as it bites and gnaws on the berry, staining furniture
- Leave messy chunks around the cage
When you slice the strawberry into pieces, you have more control over the portions. You can:
- Hand-feed the parrot to strengthen your bonding process
- Measure out rewards for certain behaviors
- Make your parrot hunt out the pieces
Parrots are messy eaters, especially when eating juicy fruit like strawberries. With a high water content, this fruit might smear all over the feathers, feet, beak, and surrounding area.
Use a damp cloth to wipe down the parrot and area. The mess won’t be too bad if you feed it slices. You should remove any leftover strawberries after 2 hours, or germs and bacteria may develop on the fruit.
Strawberries are a safe, healthy, and tasty treat for parrots. They’re lower in sugar than most fruits, so they can be offered to your parrot alongside other nutritious fruits, such as grapes.