Fruit is healthy for parrots to eat in moderation. In fact, 30% of a parrot’s diet should consist of fruits and veggies. If you’re considering various treats, you may be curious if watermelon is safe for parrots to consume.
No part of the fruit is harmful or toxic, so watermelon is safe for parrots to eat. It can boost your parrot’s immune system, bone health, and organ health. It will sharpen your parrot’s mind and keep its feathers pristine. Pair that with the essential nutrients and minerals found in melons (vitamin A, vitamin C, choline, potassium, and phosphorus), and your parrot can also enjoy various health benefits.
The only part of a watermelon that should be avoided is the rind. The rind itself is not toxic but is often covered in wax or pesticides. As such, you should avoid feeding this to parrots. If you do, be sure to clean it thoroughly and consider shaving off the outmost layer.
Is Watermelon Good For Parrots?
Parrots not only can eat watermelon – they should. Watermelons are full of health benefits that can help your parrot live its best life.
Source Of Water
Watermelons are composed of 92% water. Not only does this make them juicy and delicious. It also means your parrot can stay hydrated with a few slices of watermelon. In fact, the fruit has been a favorite throughout history for its high water content.
The indigenous peoples of the Kalahari Desert region used this fruit to hydrate themselves. In the harsh, arid desert, watermelon was not only used for water but was also cooked for nutrition.
In parrots, water is essential for all the bodily processes that keep your pet healthy. By keeping properly hydrated, your parrot can maintain its:
Water is also necessary to ensure that toxins and waste is flushed out of the parrot’s system. This includes excess vitamins and minerals, which could otherwise become harmful.
Fiber is essential in every bird’s diet. It ensures that your parrot has a healthy digestive system and flushes out toxins. That’s because it’s crucial in maintaining a healthy colony of good bacteria, which is naturally present in the gut. In the day-to-day, you’ll note this as:
- Healthy bowel movements
- Lowered risks of constipation
Aside from helping your parrot’s digestive system, fiber has been linked to many other health benefits, too. This includes lowered rates of:
- Cardiovascular diseases
L-citrulline is an amino acid that is important for a healthy cardiovascular system. It’s been linked to strengthening the heart and all its blood vessels. Also, this amino acid has been shown to boost the immune system.
L-citrulline is converted to L-arginine in the kidneys. According to the Italian Journal of Animal Science, in birds, L-arginine is vital for weight gain, especially in a parrot’s early years. Here, arginine was determined to be a significant factor in the weight gain of chicks.
L-citrulline is a non-essential amino acid. In other words, parrots do not naturally produce this amino acid, even if it has a lot of health benefits. That’s why it’s important to have this amino acid present in a parrot’s diet.
Watermelon is also full of different vitamins and minerals. These include:
Choline helps keep the brain running efficiently, so your parrot remains sharp and attentive. It also aids in muscle development, as well as movement. In other words, not only will your parrot be quick mentally. It’ll be physically dexterous, too.
Watermelon is also high in Vitamin A. This is responsible for the production of keratin. Keratin is what makes up your hair and nails. For parrots, this is what makes up their feathers. Vitamin A allows your bird’s iconic red, blue, yellow, or grey feathers to be smooth, full, and healthy.
Vitamin C is crucial in fortifying your parrot’s immune system. It helps birds fight off diseases and illnesses, whether it’s from bacteria or mites.
Aside from the immune system, Vitamin C also ensures that your parrot’s skin stays healthy. Sure, you’ll be quick to notice the state of the bird’s feathers, and the skin might be ignored. However, the underlying skin is crucial for the bird’s comfort, health, and the state of its feathers. Without enough vitamin C, the bird may develop rashes, sores, or loose feathers.
When it comes to minerals, watermelons are full of them, too.
The most notable of them all is potassium, which watermelons contain in abundance. Potassium is important for ensuring that your parrot’s muscles stay healthy and strong. Of course, strong muscles also mean that your parrot can breathe better and gives it a healthier heart.
Phosphorus is essential in the body for ensuring that the bones – including the beak – stay healthy. Once it has fortified the skeleton, it goes to work on:
- Healthy cell and tissue production
- The production of carbohydrates
- The metabolism of fats
This will improve your parrot’s energy levels, mood, and overall well-being.
Lycopene is what gives the watermelon its reddish hue. It is present in many plants, such as the iconic tomato.
However, watermelons actually have higher levels of lycopene than tomatoes. As an antioxidant, it has been linked to the fight against signs of aging. Likewise, it’s been shown to reduce the risk of diseases like:
- Heart disease
This is mainly concerning humans. When it comes to birds, lycopene can help against the effects of radiation from sunlight. Additionally, it can also make your parrot’s heart, lungs, and eyes much healthier.
|L-citrulline:||Cardiovascular health, weight gain|
|Choline:||Memory, intelligence, and movement|
|Vitamin A:||Healthy feathers|
|Vitamin C:||Immune system, skin health|
|Potassium:||Healthy muscles, better respiration, and heart health|
|Lycopene:||Reduces effects of radiation, boosts health for heart, lungs, and eyes|
Do Parrots Like Watermelon?
Watermelons are a great source of vitamins and nutrients essential to a parrot’s diet. However, the real question is whether or not parrots will actually like them. Most parrots love eating watermelon.
- The stringy texture provides resistance for the parrot to chew through
- The juicy squish of a watermelon will entertain the bird
- The seeds will be fun to pick out and munch on, providing enrichment
- The sweet flavor will sate a parrot’s craving for natural sugar, serving as a great treat
Parrots will like watermelons as much as they enjoy any fruit.
How To Make Watermelons Appetizing To Parrots
Parrots are known to be fussy eaters. There is still a chance that your parrot won’t like watermelons. However, if your bird turns its nose up at the sight of the fruit, don’t stop yet. Here are things you can do to make watermelons more appealing:
Where you put food can play a role in your parrot’s appetite. If your parrot is ignoring its meals, including watermelon, try changing the location of the food. For example, you can:
- Place it higher in the cage, so your bird has to reach for it
- Place it on the cage floor, so the bird doesn’t struggle for it
- Feed the bird by hand, so you two can bond
Bigger Chunks Are Better
Changing the serving size can also impact your parrot’s interest. Remember, when it comes to feeding parrots, the bigger the chunks, the better.
Parrots like dealing with large chunks of food not only because it’s tastier. It’s also more fun. The process of having to break it down into smaller chunks serves as enrichment. If your bird ignores little pieces, give it a slice equal to the palm of your hand.
Make Eating Stress-Free
It’s also good to consider your parrot’s disposition. Parrots are prey animals. Like other prey animals, they will only eat food if they know they’re in a safe environment. If your parrot does not have a good appetite, check if its environment stresses it out.
- Considering moving your parrot to a less busy area of the house
- Feed it during quieter times of the day
- Play with your bird first to relax it, and then hand feed it
Keep It Clean
When it comes to eating watermelons, expect a bit of a mess after your parrot is done with its meal. Make sure to clean up any messes to keep bacteria or odors at bay.
If your parrot hasn’t eaten the watermelon after 2 hours, throw the rest away. Leaving fruit out in the open for more than 2 hours will attract bacteria. Not only will the fruit be unsafe to eat, but it can make the cage unsanitary.
Can Parrots Eat Watermelon Rind?
Rinds are often coated with wax, which is necessary to preserve the fruit. Aside from this waxy coating, commercial watermelons are often sprayed with pesticides. It can be harmful when ingested by parrots.
On the other hand, you may find that throwing out the rind is a waste. It is still possible to feed the rind to your parrot. Just make sure to:
- Rinse it thoroughly with water
- Ensure that all traces of wax or pesticides are removed
- Scrap down a layer or 2 if you’re uncertain, and feed the rest to your bird
Alternatively, you could get your watermelons from an organic farm. This will limit the amount of pesticide or wax coating the outside.
Birds will suffer from pesticides used on farms, whether it’s fruit farms or other crops. In fact, an article published in Waterbirds determined that pesticides don’t just affect a bird’s health. They affect their ability to reproduce, too.
Of course, a single watermelon will only have a bit of insecticide on its rind. Even still, it’s a good idea not to feed it to your parrot. Pesticide poisoning is a real threat, even in small doses. In birds, the symptoms include:
- Excessive urination
In high enough dosages, this can lead to:
- Irreversible neurological damage
In some cases, this can lead to paralysis, and even death.
Can Parrots Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Parrots can eat watermelon seeds. Watermelon seeds are full of nutrients, minerals, and proteins. Nothing bad will happen to your parrot, and undigested seeds can easily come out on the other end.
If your bird really likes watermelon seeds, it’s recommended to serve them separately from the fruit itself. Soak the seeds overnight to make them easier to peck and eat. White seeds will be softer, so feel free to leave them along with the meat or forgo soaking it.
How Much Watermelon Can I Feed My Parrot?
Parrots should be fed at least twice a day. The amount of food that your parrot actually needs will depend on its species. In general:
- Bigger species will need 1 ½ cups of fruits and veggies a day.
- Smaller species will only need a ¾ cup of fruits and veggies.
Of course, you should always make sure that your parrot has a balanced diet. No matter how healthy watermelon is, it’s still not enough if your parrot isn’t receiving other foods. Its diet should consist primarily of:
- Edible weeds
Fiber should also be a huge part of a parrot’s diet, coming from leafy vegetables. All in all, watermelons are safe for your parrot to eat. The bird will even enjoy the process, so long as you prepare the fruit correctly.