what vegetables are good for parrots?

27 Vegetables Parrots Can Eat (And Why!)

Vegetables are an essential part of a parrot’s diet. However, not all vegetables are safe to feed to your parrot. Some contain compounds that parrots cannot eat, while others are hard to digest.

Vegetables that parrots can eat safely 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 health benefits and provides different nutrients for your parrot. Surprisingly, dehydrated, canned, and frozen vegetables may contain even 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

As well as being rich in antioxidants, asparagus is good for digestion because it contains lots of 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 promotes healthy bacteria in the gut, strengthens the immune system, and produces vitamins like vitamins B12 and K2.

Beets

Beetroot, also known as beets, is a brightly colored vegetable that’s low in calories and high in nutrients. Additionally, beets can improve your parrot’s digestion due to their fiber content.

Beets 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, including:

  • 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 vitamins and minerals.

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.

Hot Peppers

According to Cell, parrots don’t have a receptor that can taste the heat in hot peppers. What makes hot peppers hot is what makes them healthy.

Capsaicin is the compound that gives these vegetables their heat. It can also relieve pain, lessen arthritis symptoms, and help prevent colon cancer. Aside from capsaicin, hot peppers contain these vitamins:

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

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

Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in antioxidants, such as glucoraphanin. This compound is converted into an antioxidant called sulforaphane. Research has linked sulforaphane to the following health benefits:

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

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

According to the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, fiber and antioxidants play a role in maintaining gut health 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 vegetable contains many vitamins and minerals. Butternut squash is low in calories but high in:

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

Butternut squash contains minerals such as:

  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Iron

Carrots

Carrots are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene. This has the following benefits:

  • Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, which improves eye health
  • Vitamin A has been linked to strong immune systems
  • Vitamin A improves the growth of cells
  • As an antioxidant, it’s linked to reducing the risk of diseases

Corn On The Cob

Corn on the cob is appealing to parrots because they enjoy:

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

Parrots will benefit from the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Pantothenic acid
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B6
  • Niacin

According to the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, corn has higher levels of antioxidants than other common grains, including:

  • Ferulic acid
  • Anthocyanins
  • Lutein
safe vegetables for parrots

Parsnips

Parsnips contain vitamins and minerals, including:

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

This vegetable also contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C and polyacetylenes, aiding the immune system. Parsnips are linked to a reduced risk of digestive issues due to the high amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable related to beetroot and quinoa. It’s rich in insoluble fiber, which can add bulk to the stool, preventing constipation. Spinach is a good source of:

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

Spinach also contains many antioxidants, including lutein and kaempferol.

Sweet Potatoes

Parrots will love orange and purple varieties of sweet potatoes, which are healthier than white kinds. That’s because of the compounds responsible for giving potatoes their color, such as orange beta-carotene.

Sweet potatoes contain two types of fiber that 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 is high in vitamin K, which strengthens your parrot’s bones. Due to its Vitamin A content, this vegetable can enhance your parrot’s eyesight. Since lettuce is 95% water, it’ll keep your parrot hydrated.

Compared to other varieties, Iceberg lettuce has the least amount of nutrients.

Peas

Parrots will love pecking peas from their dishes and eating them one by one. As a bonus, peas are among the best plant-based protein sources, making them more filling than other vegetables.

Peas also contain 5 grams of fiber per 100 grams. This makes them a good vegetable for healthy digestion, reducing the risk of constipation—additionally, fiber aids in absorbing vitamins and minerals.

Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo has high levels of fiber and few calories per serving. Bamboo contains:

  • 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 vegetable contains a large number of nutrients for parrots, including:

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

They also contain:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

Green beans contain no cholesterol and are a good source of fiber. Cooking green beans decreases the amount of fiber, so it’s recommended that you steam them instead.

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 heart disease and diabetes.

Fava Beans

Also known as broad beans, fava beans contain many vitamins and minerals, including:

  • 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 beneficial antioxidants that will enhance the immune system.

Bitter Melon

Also known as bitter gourd, bitter melon can boost your parrot’s health due to its high levels of vitamin C. Bitter melon also contains significant amounts of antioxidants, including:

  • Catechin
  • Epicatechin
  • Gallic acid
  • Chlorogenic acid

Endive

Endive, sometimes called chicory, contains more vitamin K than most common vegetables. Vitamin K has been known to assist with blood coagulation. Eating endive also leads to a healthier gut due to the high amount of fiber.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower contains high levels of choline, which will:

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

Cauliflower is also rich in the antioxidant sulforaphane.

Celery

Celery contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Beta carotene
  • Flavonoids
  • Antioxidants

Celery can reduce inflammation in the body due to 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
  • A decrease in stomach ulcers

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens contain significant amounts of:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

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

According to The Review of Diabetic Studies, dandelions have been linked to better liver health. 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 Carcinogenesis, Brussel sprouts can decrease the oxidative damage in cells by 28% due to kaempferol.

Artichoke

Parrots will love to chew on artichoke hearts, leaves, and stems. Once they have, they’ll benefit from a health boost to their liver. Artichoke leaf extract can even protect the liver from damage.

Artichoke has been shown to improve digestion due to the presence of fiber and inulin. Inulin is a compound that keeps gut bacteria healthy. If your parrot has digestive issues, artichokes can reduce indigestion symptoms due to the presence of 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
what kind of vegetables do parrots eat?

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 explored rutabaga’s ability to aid in weight loss due to the high amount of fiber. If your parrot needs to get back to a healthy weight, add some rutabaga 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. Okra has many health benefits, including:

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

The gel-like substance in okra, called mucilage, has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

Can Parrots Eat Raw Vegetables?

Parrots are allowed raw vegetables. Of course, there are exceptions, where cooking vegetables works to remove toxins. However, that is not the case for any of the above vegetables. Parrots will enjoy the texture of raw vegetables as they’ll remain crunchy, juicy, and easy to tear apart.

Common vegetables, like garlic and onions, are toxic to parrots. If you have the choice between feeding raw or cooked vegetables, it’s advisable to select raw.

Can Parrots Eat Cooked Vegetables?

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

  • Oil
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Fats

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.

Can You Feed Parrots Frozen Vegetables?

Frozen vegetables can be even more nutritious. Nutrients are lost from a vegetable when harvested, and fresh vegetables take a while to arrive on supermarket shelves. Freezing stops this aging process and prevents more vitamins or minerals from being gradually lost.

Are Canned Vegetables Good For Parrots?

Canned vegetables are safe to feed to your parrot with certain caveats. Some nutrients are lost during the canning process. Also, vegetables may be canned with added salt. Opt for labels that say ‘low sodium’ or ‘no salt added.’

Dehydrated Vegetables For Parrots

The dehydration process doesn’t reduce the calorie or fiber content of vegetables. Unfortunately, the use of heat does destroy certain vitamins, such as Vitamin C. However, Vitamin A is largely unaffected by the dehydration process. Dehydrated vegetables will no longer be a good source of water.

How To Get A Parrot To Eat Vegetables

Parrots can be picky eaters and aren’t always interested in eating vegetables. So, what can you do?

Offer Vegetables In The Morning

To introduce a new food to your parrot, do so before breakfast. In the wild, birds will forage for food first thing in the morning. Although domesticated, this instinct will always remain. So, 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 Foods

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

Chop The Food

You can serve the new vegetable alongside a ‘chop’ of food. A ‘chop’ involves chopping the different types of food finely so that your parrot cannot pick out the bits that it prefers.

Serve In Different Forms

If your parrot still doesn’t eat the new vegetable, it may dislike how it’s prepared. Serve it in new ways:

  • Cook it
  • Serve it raw
  • Chop it into bigger/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’re eating. If all else fails, eat the vegetable yourself in front of the parrot. This will pique its interest.