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Is Bamboo Safe for Parrots?

Last Updated on March 31, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Parrots can eat bamboo shoots once they’ve been cooked for 30 minutes.

Uncooked bamboo is bitter-tasting and toxic because it contains taxiphyllin (cyanogenic glycosides). These organic compounds are broken down during digestion, leading to cyanide poisoning.

Bamboo shoots have a slightly earthy, woody, and nutty flavor, which most parrots like.

Bamboo shoots are a source of calcium, fiber, B vitamins, potassium, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, and manganese. They also contain phytochemicals, which have antibacterial and antiviral properties.

How To Prepare Bamboo for Parrots

Bamboo is a vegetable harvested from the ground.

According to the Royal Society of Open Science, bamboo shoots contain cyanogenic glycosides. When ingested, glycosides break down into cyanide, which causes oxidative stress and damages bodily tissue.

Cyanogen, specifically taxiphyllin, is an anti-nutrient that must be removed before consumption.

To prepare bamboo for parrots, you must:

  1. Cut away the hard, fibrous outer layers and leaves.
  2. Chop the bamboo into small pieces.
  3. Allow it to soak for 24 hours to reduce the bitterness.
  4. Cook the bamboo in plain, unsalted water for 30 minutes to detoxify it.

Alternatively, oven-dry the bamboo shoots for about 8 hours at 120-125°F.

To determine if the detoxification process has been successful, verify that the bitterness has gone.

do parrots like bamboo?

Health Benefits of Bamboo

Bamboo shoots contain the following nutrients:

Vitamin C

According to Science Direct, vitamin C is a life-critical antioxidant. However, most bird species (including parrots) can produce vitamin C from glucose in the liver.


Calcium is essential for strong bones and eggshells. Without sufficient calcium in the avian body (hypocalcemia), parrots are at risk of:

Large parrots, like macaws and African grays, have a higher bone density and need extra calcium.


According to the Victoria State Government, bamboo shoots are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

Fiber keeps the digestive system working efficiently. It softens stools, so bamboo shoots may prevent constipation by regulating digestive transit.

Fiber fills parrots up, reducing hunger and the risk of weight gain.

B Vitamins

Bamboo is an excellent source of B vitamins, including:

  • Thiamine (vitamin B-1).
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B-2).
  • Niacin (vitamin B-3).
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5).
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6).

Bamboo shoots are high in vitamin B-6. This is vital for the brain, nervous system, and immune function.


100 g of bamboo contains 533 mg of potassium, which aids bone and muscle development. Potassium works alongside sodium to regulate nerve signals, fluid balance, and muscle contractions.

Potassium aids in recovery from injuries. If the parrot sustains a wound, potassium helps stem the blood flow and reduce the risk of anemia. Vitamin K is also needed for blood coagulation.


Bamboo shoots contain phytochemicals, which are antibacterial and antiviral.


Bamboo is an excellent source of other minerals, including:


Selenium is an antioxidant. It also assists with:

  • Growth.
  • Reproductive success.
  • Thyroid hormone production.


Parrots only need trace amounts of zinc. This assists with insulin production and vitamin A absorption.


Parrots need copper for heme synthesis and the creation of healthy blood vessels, connective tissues, and bones. Parrots store copper in their bones.


100 g of bamboo contains 0.5 mg of iron. Parrots need iron to create hemoglobin, which transports oxygenated blood around the body. Birds without enough iron are at risk of anemia.


Parrots need manganese for normal bone and eggshell growth. Without it, parrots are at risk of:

  • Poor muscle coordination.
  • Perosis.
  • Tarsometatarsal joint dislocation.

Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots, or sprouts, are the tastiest and most nutritious part.

can parrots eat bamboo?

Bamboo Leaves

The leaves of “true bamboo” are safe for parrots.

Bamboo leaves contain up to 22% protein, assist with digestion, reduce inflammation, and contain vitamins B, C, and E. Parrots also use bamboo leaves to create shelters and provide cover.

The leaves of bamboo plants, including the lucky and heavenly varieties, are dangerous.

Bamboo Branches

Bamboo branches are inedible, so you can’t feed them to parrots. However, a bamboo branch is an ideal wood for building structures because it’s solid and water-resistant.

If the branches are thick enough, you can use them to make bamboo perches.

A bamboo branch is safe for parrots to chew. It’s beneficial because it keeps their ever-growing beaks filed down. If a parrot’s beak’s too long, it’ll experience problems:

  • Difficulty eating and drinking.
  • Become imbalanced and uncoordinated.
  • Feather-preening difficulties.
  • Unable to climb the bars of its cage.

Bamboo Perches

Bamboo is good for perches because it’s comfortable for the feet, reducing the risk of bumblefoot.

Many toys use bamboo as their primary building blocks because parrots like to chew. Bamboo provides parrots with countless hours of mental enrichment and stimulation.

Bamboo is safe and healthy to eat if it’s been cooked thoroughly. Alternatively, it can be made into cage toys and accessories for parrots to enjoy.