what vegetables are good for parrots?

27 Vegetables Parrots Can Eat (And Why!)

Veggies are an essential part of a parrot’s diet as they contain vitamins and minerals that are hard to find in other sources of food. However, not all vegetables are safe to feed to your parrot. Some contain compounds that parrots cannot eat, and others are hard to digest.

Safe vegetables for parrots include hot peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, butternut squash, beets, asparagus, and carrots. If your parrot wants more flavor, it can also have corn on the cob, artichoke, sweet potatoes, parsnip, peas, bamboo shoots, fava beans, and endive. For leafy greens, the best vegetables for parrots include lettuce, green beans, dandelion greens, celery, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and fennel.

Each of these vegetables has its own health benefits and provides different nutrients for your parrot — parrots like eating raw and fresh veggies. Dehydrated, canned, and frozen veggies may even contain more nutrients than fresh ones.

What Vegetables Are Good For Parrots?

Not all vegetables are safe to consume. However, if you choose the right kinds, your parrot can benefit from a health boost and improved digestion.

Asparagus

Parrots love novelty and variety. This crunchy vegetable comes in different colors, the most common being:

  • Green
  • White
  • Purple

While it appears simple, asparagus has many health benefits. Aside from being rich in antioxidants, asparagus can be good for digestion.

That’s because it contains high amounts of fiber, specifically insoluble fiber. This increases bulk in the stool, allowing it to pass more easily through the gut, reducing the chance of constipation.

Asparagus also contains soluble fiber. This helps promote healthy bacteria in the gut. It also strengthens the immune system, and even produces vitamins like vitamins B12 and K2.

Beets

Also known as beetroot, beets are a good vegetable to give to your parrot. This brightly-colored veggie is sure to pique your parrot’s interest.  

For the low number of calories, beets are very high in nutrients. Additionally, beets can improve your parrot’s digestion due to their high amount of fiber.

Aside from digestion, beets have been known to fight inflammation due to a compound of pigments called betalains. According to The Journal of Human Hypertension, beets are shown to lessen inflammation in patients with hypertension.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers come in different colors, making them a great way to keep your parrot’s meals new and novel. They come in:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green

These colors depend on the bell pepper’s ripeness, with red being ripe and green being unripe. There are many health benefits to bell peppers, no matter their age. However, the riper they are, the more nutrients they contain.

For a low amount of carbohydrates, bell peppers have a high amount of fiber. This makes them great for your parrot’s digestion and overall health. Bell peppers are also high in many different vitamins and minerals.

Of all these nutrients, vitamin C is the most abundant. In fact, the amount of vitamin C in one medium-sized pepper accounts for 169% of the recommended dietary intake in humans. That makes even a slice of bell pepper a great health boost.

Hot Peppers

As surprising as it may sound, parrots can safely eat hot peppers. Parrots do not have a receptor that can taste the heat in hot peppers, according to a study published in Cell. This means that parrots can take advantage of all the health benefits, without having to endure the heat.

In fact, what makes hot peppers hot is actually what makes them healthy. Capsaicin is the compound that gives these veggies their heat. It can also relieve pain, lessen arthritis symptoms, and even prevent colon cancer.

Aside from capsaicin, hot peppers also have many vitamins, such as:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K1

Your parrot will also benefit from the minerals copper and potassium. Hot peppers are rich in antioxidants, specifically carotenoids.

Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in antioxidants that can keep your parrot healthy in many ways. Specifically, it is rich in glucoraphanin. This compound is converted into an antioxidant called sulforaphane. Research has linked sulforaphane to different health benefits, like:

  • Lowering blood sugar
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Lessening the development of chronic diseases

Aside from glucoraphanin, broccoli also contains other antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. This high level of antioxidants, paired with a high fiber level, makes broccoli healthy for a parrot’s digestion.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, fiber and antioxidants may play a role in maintaining gut health. That’s because they promote good bacteria, reducing inflammation in the colon.

Butternut Squash

While technically a fruit, butternut squash is considered a vegetable in the culinary world. This brightly-colored veggie contains many vitamins and minerals, keeping your parrot strong and healthy. Butternut squash is low in calories. It’s also high in:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • B vitamins

Butternut squash also contains minerals such as:

  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Iron

That’s a lot, considering how low in fat and calories this veggie-fruit is. All of this can result in a huge boost to your parrot’s:

  • Eye health
  • Bone strength
  • Immune system

Carrots

Carrots are known for their benefits to eye health, but there is more to this vegetable. Carrots are rich in the antioxidant, beta-carotene. It is the compound that gives carrots their bright orange color, but has extra perks.

  • Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, which improves eye health.
  • Vitamin A has been linked to strong immune systems.
  • Vitamin A has also been shown to improve the growth of cells, keeping your parrot young and strong.
  • As an antioxidant, it’s also been linked to lessening the risk of many diseases.

Corn On The Cob

When it comes to vegetables, corn on the cob is one of the most appealing to parrots. Your parrot will enjoy:

  • Pecking at the corn
  • Scratching at the juicy pieces
  • Sharpening its beak on the hard core

As a bonus, parrots will benefit from many vitamins and minerals. That’s because corn on the cob is rich in:

  • Pantothenic acid
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B6
  • Niacin

Corn also has a lot of antioxidants. According to the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, corn has higher levels of antioxidants than other common grains.  These include:

  • Ferulic acid
  • Anthocyanins
  • Lutein
safe vegetables for parrots

Parsnip

Parsnip contains many vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Folate
  • Thiamine
  • Zinc

This veggie also contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C and polyacetylenes. The nutrients work to strengthen the immune system.

Parsnips have also been linked to a lowered risk of digestive issues. This is due to the high amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber in the vegetable.

Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable related to beetroot and quinoa. It is rich in insoluble fiber, which can add bulk to the stool. This helps prevent constipation, keeping your parrot healthy. Spinach is also rich in:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B9
  • Calcium
  • Iron

To top it off, spinach is packed with many antioxidants, including lutein and kaempferol. Parrots need a hefty dose of leafy greens to stay healthy. Spinach is a one-stop-shop of health benefits.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are grown and consumed worldwide, and for a good reason. Parrots will love orange and purple varieties, which are healthier than white kinds.

That’s because of the compounds responsible for giving potatoes their color. Like the orange beta-carotene, this is what makes sweet potatoes healthy.

Sweet potatoes contain two types of fiber, both of which keep the gut well-balanced. Additionally, orange sweet potatoes have the same health benefits as carrots. Specifically, they contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that:

  • Improves eye health
  • Strengthens the immune system

Lettuce

Lettuce comes in many different varieties, filled with its own vitamins and minerals. Just keep in mind, that when compared to other varieties, Iceberg lettuce has the least amount of nutrients.

Lettuce is high in vitamin K, which helps strengthen your parrot’s bones. This veggie has also been known to improve vision, because of its high level of vitamin A. Since lettuce is made of 95% water, it’s also a more engaging way to keep your parrot hydrated.

Peas

For parrots, peas can be a great source of enrichment. Your bird will love pecking at peas from its dish and eating them one by one. As a bonus, peas are one of the best plant protein sources, making them more filling than other vegetables.

This reduces the number of calories that your parrot will need throughout the day. That leaves more space for vitamins and minerals.

Aside from protein, peas also contain a significant amount of fiber. This makes them a good vegetable for healthy digestion, reducing the risk of impaction. Additionally, fiber helps your parrot absorb vitamins and minerals.

Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo has very few calories per serving, with high levels of fiber. Aside from lessening the chances of heart disease, this ratio also leaves more space for other healthier foods. Bamboo contains the following:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Calcium

Perhaps the most beneficial nutrient in bamboo is cellulose. This compound is known to increase appetite, as well as lower the risk of digestive issues.

Green Beans

This humble vegetable contains a large number of nutrients for parrots. Green beans contain high levels of:

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B6
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin

They also contain significant amounts of:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

Green beans contain no cholesterol and a significant amount of fiber. Cooking them increases the amount of fiber. It is recommended to steam the beans instead of using other cooking methods.

Bok Choy

Bok choy, also known as pak choi or Chinese cabbage, is a green leafy vegetable that looks similar to lettuce. Bok choy is full of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Magnesium

Bok choy contains antioxidants, namely the flavonoid quercetin. This antioxidant has been linked to lowering inflammation. This, in turn, has been linked to lower levels of chronic disease, like:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

Fava Beans

Also known as broad beans, fava beans have many vitamins and minerals, and in significant amounts. These include:

  • Thiamine
  • Folate
  • Phosphorus
  • Manganese
  • Copper

Fava beans have been linked to improved bone health, due to the nutrients manganese and copper. This vegetable also contains antioxidants that boost the immune system.

Bitter Melon

Also known as bitter gourd, it can boost your parrot’s health with high levels of vitamin C. It’s so abundant in this vegetable that it fulfills almost all the recommended daily intake for humans. Bitter melon also contains significant amounts of antioxidants. These include:

  • Catechin
  • Epicatechin
  • Gallic acid
  • Chlorogenic acid

Endive

Endive, sometimes called chicory, has many different nutrients. Of these health benefits, it contains more vitamin K than most common vegetables.

Vitamin K has been known to help with blood coagulation. Endive also helps create a healthier gut because of the high amount of fiber.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower contains high levels of choline. This will:

  • Strengthen cell membranes
  • Create DNA
  • Aid the metabolism
  • Improve the nervous system

Cauliflower is rich in the antioxidant sulforaphane, which has been found to suppress the development of cancer. In some studies, this compound has even been found to destroy already damaged cells.

As a plus, it’s also been found to prevent diabetes. It can even reduce the risk of complications from diabetes.

Celery

Despite its size, celery contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Beta carotene
  • Different flavonoids
  • At least 12 different kinds of antioxidants

Celery can reduce inflammation in the body. This is because of the 25 compounds with anti-inflammatory effects. Celery also aids in digestion due to its range of nutrients. Notably, the compound apiuman is linked to:

  • Improved stomach lining
  • Modulated stomach secretions
  • Even a decrease in stomach ulcers

Dandelion Greens

Dandelions may be considered a weed, but there is a lot to be gained from this small plant. In fact, dandelions have been used in herbal medicine for centuries. For parrots, dandelion greens contain significant amounts of:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

Dandelions also contain many potent antioxidants, the most common being polyphenols, and beta carotene. These have been known to reduce the risk of diseases caused by inflammation.

Dandelions have also been linked to better liver health, according to The Review of Diabetic Studies. In this study, dandelion extract was shown to reduce the levels of excess fat in the liver.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts contain the following:

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Folate

Sprouts are rich in antioxidants. In fact, according to a study published in Carcinogenesis, Brussel sprouts can decrease the oxidative damage in cells by 28% due to the antioxidant kaempferol. It’s been linked to:

  • Reduced cancer growth
  • Reduced inflammation
  • A stronger heart

Artichoke

Parrots will love to chew on artichoke hearts, leaves, and stems. Once they have, they can enjoy a health boost to their liver. According to Pharmaceutical Research, artichoke leaf extract can even protect the liver from damage.

Artichoke has also been shown to improve digestion, thanks to the presence of fiber and inulin. Inulin is a compound that keeps the gut bacteria healthy. If your parrot already has digestive issues, artichokes can reduce indigestion symptoms due to the compound cynarine.

Fennel

Fennel has been used in medicine for centuries. Aside from vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium, this vegetable also contains many antioxidants. In fact, according to BioMed Research International, fennel essential oil has more than 87 volatile compounds. These include:

  • Quercetin
  • Apigenin
  • Rosmarinic acid

Rutabaga

Also known as the swede or Swedish turnip, this vegetable can improve your parrot’s bone health. That’s due to the high levels of potassium. It’s been shown to:

  • Lower the risk of stroke
  • Reduce chances of heart disease
  • Lower high blood pressure

Research has also explored rutabaga’s ability to aid in weight loss, due to the high amount of fiber in the plant. If your parrot needs to get back to a healthy weight, add some of this veggie to its diet.

Okra

The okra plant’s seed pods, also known as lady’s finger, are the fruit of the okra plant. However, in the culinary world, they are classified as a vegetable. While uncommon, okra has many health benefits. These include nutrients in significant amounts, like:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Many antioxidants, such as flavonoids and isoquercetin

Notably, the gel-like substance in okra, called mucilage, has been linked to lower risks of heart disease. This can help your parrot to the 20+ years the species is famous for.

Can Parrots Eat Raw Vegetables?

Parrots can definitely eat raw vegetables. Of course, there are a few exceptions, where cooking veggies works to remove toxins. However, that is not the case for any of the above foods.

As a bonus, parrots will enjoy the texture of raw vegetables. The food will remain crunchy, juicy, and easy to tear.

what kind of vegetables do parrots eat?

Can Parrots Eat Cooked Vegetables?

Cooked vegetables will not harm your parrot, so long as other ingredients are not added. You should never fry a parrot’s food, nor should you sauté or bake it in:

  • Oil
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Fats
  • With spices

Likewise, common foods like garlic, onions, and dairy products can be toxic to parrots. If you have the choice between feeding raw or cooked veggies, it’s advisable to select raw.

Vegetables are more nutritious when they are raw. Some methods of cooking will destroy more nutrients than others. However, all methods of cooking will remove nutrients, in one way or another.

Can You Feed Parrots Frozen Vegetables?

Fresh vegetables can be difficult to obtain or expensive. Fortunately, frozen veggies are just as healthy for parrots.

In fact, frozen veggies can be even more nutritious. That’s because nutrients are lost from a vegetable the moment it is harvested. Fresh veggies take a while to arrive on supermarket shelves. Freezing stops this aging process and prevents more vitamins or minerals from fading or leaking away.

Frozen veggies may contain more nutrients than fresh ones. As long as the vegetable is not refrozen several times, your parrot will enjoy the same health benefits.

Are Canned Vegetables Good For Parrots?

Canned vegetables are safe to feed to your parrot. While some nutrients are lost in the canning process, like vitamin C and B, other essential nutrients are increased. For example, antioxidants are tightly packed in canned corn.

Just be careful when picking out canned food. Some vegetables may be canned with added salt. Opt for labels that say ‘low sodium’ or ‘no salt added.’

Dehydrated Vegetables For Parrots

Dehydrated vegetables are safe for parrots to eat. Aside from freezing and canning, dehydration is another way to preserve food. The process is very similar to canning and keeps produce more densely packed with nutrients. While there is a small amount lost, such as the amount of vitamin C and beta carotene, this is minor.

Of course, like canning, it’s important to pay attention to labels and ingredient lists. Make sure that there are no added sugars or salt.

How To Get A Parrot To Eat Vegetables

Vegetables are healthy for your parrot. However, parrots can be picky eaters and may turn up their beak at the sight of veggies.If your parrot isn’t used to eating vegetables, what can you do? Here are ways to train parrots to eat veggies.

Offer Vegetables In The Morning

If you’re trying to introduce new food to your parrot, it’s best to do so before breakfast. In the wild, birds will naturally forage for food first thing in the morning. Although domesticated, this instinct will remain.

Offer the new vegetable a few hours before breakfast, without any other foods. Then, serve the parrot’s breakfast as you normally would.

Include With Other Food

If you’re trying to give your parrot something new, it may not even realize that it’s food. To help the parrot learn, introduce the veggie alongside familiar food.

Chop The Food

You can also serve the new veggie alongside a ‘chop’ of food. A ‘chop’ involves chopping the different types of food finely, so that your parrot cannot pick its way through it.

This method is primarily used to ensure that birds can’t pick out their food, avoiding malnutrition. It’s also a great way to include new food.

Serve In Different Forms

If your parrot still doesn’t eat the new veggie, it may dislike how the veggie is prepared. Try serving the vegetable in new ways. You can:

  • Cook it
  • Serve it raw
  • Chop it into bigger pieces
  • Chop it into smaller pieces
  • Serve it cold
  • Serve it warm

Eat It Yourself

Your parrot will see you as a part of its flock. Naturally, it will want to eat what you are eating. If all else fails, you can try eating the vegetable yourself in front of the parrot. This will pique the bird’s interest. After a while, it will want a bite of the vegetable that you’re having.