A large part of being a good caretaker for a cockatiel is providing your feathered friend with a healthy diet. For cockatiels, this involves more than just buying seed mix from the store. Cockatiels require a balanced diet to stay healthy that consists of formulated feed as well as fresh foods, especially vegetables. The next question becomes what vegetables can cockatiels eat safely. Here is the answer.
Good Vegetables To Feed Your Cockatiel As Part Of A Healthy Diet
When it comes to what vegetables can cockatiels eat, they can eat a wide variety, including kale, bok choy, zucchini, peppers, green beans, mustard greens, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots, romaine lettuce, beets, endive lettuce, peas, collard greens, pumpkin, lentils, beans, corn, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes, among others. Most vegetables commonly found in grocery stores are safe and healthy to feed a cockatiel, with the exceptions outlined below. The darker the color, the better as this tends to indicate a vegetable has higher nutritional content.
Vegetables such as parsley, spinach, and broccoli are safe and can be fed to your cockatiel. However, you should do so in moderation because these vegetables have high levels of oxalates, which can inhibit calcium absorption. This can weaken your bird’s bones and hinder the healthy laying of eggs, if breeding.
You can also feed a cockatiel grains such as cooked brown rice and barley. Fresh fruits should consist of a smaller part of your bird’s diet because they are high in sugar, but they can and should still be provided. Apples, papaya, nectarines, mango, pears, and melon, as well as most other common fruits are sufficient. Nuts can be fed occasionally as a treat but not often as they are high in fat.
Vegetables You Shouldn’t Feed Your Cockatiel
Unfortunately, not all vegetables are created equal and there are some that you should avoid feeding your cockatiel. Vegetables that are pale and have a high concentration of water, such as iceberg lettuce and celery, do not have sufficient nutritional value and should be avoided. This can prevent your bird from eating healthier foods and cause malnutrition and other health problems.
Another food to avoid is avocados, which are thought to be toxic to cockatiels. Nutmeg is also toxic to them. You should avoid canned vegetables too, as these often have high levels of sodium that is unhealthy for your bird. Other vegetables to avoid include eggplant, onion, garlic, and rhubarb.
What Percentage Of Their Diet Should Vegetables Be?
Roughly 20-25% of your cockatiel’s daily diet should consist of fresh vegetables, with the rest consisting of specialty formulated pellets and a small amount of seeds. Many owners assume their birds can thrive on a diet of only seeds but this is unhealthy for the birds and seeds should really only make up a small portion of a cockatiel’s diet. Because cockatiels love seeds, a bird that shows a strong preference for seeds should be weaned off of them as soon as possible.
Variety is key to a balanced diet, so a bird that begins to show a strong liking for any food should have that item reduced or removed from their diet in order to coax them to eat other foods as well. Birds can be stubborn so you should never remove a certain type of food until you are sure the bird is safely eating other offered foods as well. It can be a challenge to train a cockatiel but it is important to train your bird rather than the other way around.
Never forget to ensure fresh water is always available as well. If your tap water is of poor quality you may need to provide filtered or bottled water for your bird. You should not need to provide your bird with dietary supplements if it is being fed a healthy, diverse diet, though these can easily be added to your pet’s water in the form of a powder.
It is incredibly important to do your research before bringing a pet home so you know what its needs are and how to properly care for it. Feeding your cockatiel a poor diet makes it far more likely your bird will have health issues. By knowing the right vegetables to feed your pet, you can have many years together with a happy, healthy bird.