Apples are a hit with almost all parrots all over the world. Many parrot owners have found out that their pet birds enjoy eating apples so much, that they normally pick them out of other fruit or vegetable mixes to eat first. After all, they are crunchy, sweet, and juicy – in terms of the overall experience of eating them, it must be something very enjoyable for parrots!
THE VERDICT: Can parrots eat apples? YES, parrots can eat apples but not the seeds, and you’ll have to be mindful of the peels as well. Read why below!
- Nutritional Benefits of Apples
- Nutritional Content of Apples
- Are Apples Toxic for Parrots?
- How To Feed Apples To My Parrots?
- Can Parrots Eat Apple Peels and Skin?
- Can Parrots Eat Apple Seeds?
- My Parrot Has Eaten Apple Seeds, What Do I Do?
- Can Baby Parrots Eat Apples?
- Final Notes
Nutritional Benefits of Apples
Apples are an excellent source of vitamins, water, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for your bird’s general well-being. Apples are also low in calories, making them a perfect treat for your feathered friend.
Apples contain the following nutrients:
Apples contain vitamin A, which mainly promotes your bird’s eyesight, and promotes overall growth and tissue repair in the body. Vitamin A is also responsible for enhancing healthy skin and feathers in parrots. It’s very important that your parrot gets a daily intake of vitamin A.
Apples are a good source of vitamin C, a nutrient that is very essential in parrots. Vitamin C boosts the parrot’s immune system, especially when it is sick. It also enables parrots to deal with stress by maintaining normal physiological needs and metabolic processes.
That’s why you find parrots engaging in excessive preening whenever they don’t get enough of vitamin C. Supplement vitamin C if you find your parrots engaging in these destructive behaviors. Of course, there might be other health problems that can cause your parrot to preen too much.
Apples are packed with fiber, which enhances digestion in parrots. It helps prevent constipation and loose stools in your bird. Besides, soluble fiber also controls the level of cholesterol and blood sugar in a parrot’s body.
The antioxidants present in apples protect parrots against cell damage caused by free radicals. They play a major role in protecting your birds from heart diseases, cancer among others. They do so by neutralizing the free radicals.
Apples are loaded with magnesium that is responsible for the following:
- Enhances normal functioning of the nerves and muscles
- Promotes heart health
- Regulates blood pressure
- Control blood glucose
- Production of energy
Therefore, magnesium plays a key role in a parrot’s health.
Potassium that is present in apples enhances the metabolism of protein and glucose in parrots. Potassium also promotes a healthy nervous system and ensures that your parrot stays active always.
Nutritional Content of Apples
A 100g of apples contain the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C: 6 mg
- Vitamin A: 2 mcg
- Carbohydrates: 11.6 g
- Proteins: 0.3 g
- Potassium:107 mg
- Magnesium: 1%
- Water: 86%
- Fats: 0.2 g
- Calories: 52
- Sodium: 1 mg
- Fiber: 2.4 g
- Sugar: 10 g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Are Apples Toxic for Parrots?
Apples are safe for parrots to eat. They generally do not contain any harmful elements that could harm your bird, except for their seeds, which contain a toxic substance known as cyanide. Apple peels might contain pesticides if not properly washed as well. But as we all know, too much of a good thing may potentially harm your parrot. Apples, like many other fruits, contain a high amount of sugar, and it is usually advised that fruits do not make up an excessive portion of your bird’s diet.
So, as much as we would like to please our feathered friends by feeding them as many apples as they want, we should always remember to offer them in moderation to avoid potential health problems.
How To Feed Apples To My Parrots?
Buy organic apples because they are free of pesticides. Wash the apples thoroughly, and slice them into smaller pieces. You may have to peel the skin if the apples are not organic, or wash it thoroughly. Remove the seeds.
You can hand-feed your parrots or just place the pieces of apples in a bowl. Some parrots may not recognize it as food initially, so mixing it with their regular food can help. You may have to present the apple in different ways such as diced finely, large cubes, or on a skewer, depending on which way your parrot likes eating it best.
Some owners may eat an apple themselves and let their birds nibble from their apple directly, especially if the bird is one that gets curious of what its owner is eating. Just take note to avoid letting your parrot come into contact with parts where your saliva has touched, as our saliva is not good for them.
Avoid leaving uneaten apples out for more than two hours as they may attract bacteria and pests such as ants, due to the sugar content.
Can Parrots Eat Apple Peels and Skin?
Some parrots may enjoy eating apple peels. While it’s not absolutely necessary to remove the apple skin before feeding your parrot, I’d recommend to wash the apple thoroughly before offering it to your bird, skin and all. Apple skins, if not washed properly, may contain traces of pesticides which can be harmful to your bird.
Can Parrots Eat Apple Seeds?
This may not be well-known among parrot owners, but we should avoid feeding our parrots apple seeds. They contain amygdalin, a toxic substance, which releases cyanide into your bird’s blood stream when broken down. But before you panic, we’ve assessed the risks for you!
In humans, a small amount of apple seeds may not harm us since enzymes in our bodies can detoxify smaller amounts of cyanide. Large amounts of apple seeds may be dangerous though. It is estimated that humans need to eat 83-500 apple seeds to get cyanide poisoning.
There isn’t such specific data for birds yet, though, but Queensland Aviaries has estimated that a 100-gram parrot would have to eat 50 apple seeds from 10 apples in order for substantial harm to be done.
In any case, it never hurts to avoid any potential issues. So, make sure you peel the apple, remove all the seeds, and then chop the apple into smaller sizes before giving them to your pet bird.
My Parrot Has Eaten Apple Seeds, What Do I Do?
Firstly, do not panic!
As mentioned in the previous section, apple seeds contain a very tiny amount of cyanide compounds, which require the breaking down of the seeds to be released. It generally requires quite a lot of seeds to cause any harm.
You will need to assess how many seeds the bird might have eaten. For very small birds, eating several apple seeds might have caused some degree of poisoning, but this scenario is pretty unlikely as people do not usually leave tons of apple seeds lying around. For larger birds, if they have eaten just one or two seeds, it might not cause too much harm. Cyanide is generally quickly broken down by the hepatic enzyme called rhodanese, and then excreted from the body.
In short, it is generally unlikely that your bird would die from eating a couple of apple seeds. If you caught your birds munching on some, immediately remove the seeds, monitor your bird for signs of weakness, and bring your bird to the vet if you notice something wrong.
Can Baby Parrots Eat Apples?
You can feed apples to your baby parrot, but in very small amounts. Their digestive system isn’t fully developed to handle a lot of fruits. Otherwise, apples don’t pose any threat to baby parrots as long as you feed them in moderation.
Depending on the beak strength of the baby bird, you may have to dice the apple into tiny pieces in order for the young bird to be able to chew it.
Based on what I’ve heard from many parrot owners, most parrots seem to love eating apples. Apples are a safe and healthy addition to your birds’ diet, so feel free to include a few pieces in your bird’s chop bowl! You only have to avoid feeding the seeds, and wash the skin thoroughly if you intend to feed them apples with skin. Feeding a healthy and balanced diet is key to your bird’s health, so be sure to feed apples in moderate amounts and not make it a major portion of your bird’s diet.