You take your parakeet out of its cage for a moment of interaction and use this opportunity to share your snack with your friend: a delicious piece of a cantaloupe! But then you start to wonder, is it really okay to feed this fruit to your bird? Is it toxic? Can it cause diarrhea or other nasty illnesses?
The good news is, yes, parakeets can absolutely eat cantaloupe! In fact, it’s good for them because it’s full of vitamin C and other nutrients that your tiny budgie might be missing out on. So, go ahead and give your little feathered clown some cantaloupe, but be sure to take some precautions beforehand. Here’s what you need to know about giving fruits to parakeets, plus a few other handy tips.
What Is the Best Budgie Diet?
The parakeet’s diet isn’t all about seeds (and shouldn’t be!). Indeed, it is an omnivorous bird that will eat a variety of foods in its natural habitat. This consists of seeding grasses, a few insects, fruits, plants, buds, nectar from flowers, and more. This diversity provides all the nutrients your budgie needs: vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibers, sugars, and trace elements.
Your budgie must be able to find this variety in the food you give it. Thus, its basic diet will include:
You can also give them some seeds as an occasional treat.
Can Parakeets Eat Table Scraps?
As long as you’re not thinking of French fries, then yes, you could give your budgie table scraps occasionally. Indeed, as a general rule of thumb, healthy food for humans could be given as a small treat to parakeets. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, though, as too much of a good thing is neither good for you nor your pet bird. Also, you should pick up any leftovers that remain at the bottom of the cage after feeding time, as they may attract some undesirable guests (such as mice, germs, bacteria, mold, etc.).
What Food Is Poisonous to Parakeets?
There are some foods that you should never give to parakeets, or most pets, for that matter. You’re probably familiar with most of them, as it’s largely common sense not to feed, say, alcohol to birds, but let’s go over the others on the list:
What Fruits Are Good in a Parakeet’s Diet?
Fruits, in general, are good for feeding your parakeet because they contain vitamins and minerals. Cantaloupe is rich in vitamin A and packed with fiber, which is excellent for improving digestion for your little one. Plus, this delicious treat is an essential ally for your bird’s immune system (like yours!), as it is rich in vitamin C. Here are some other fruits that may be part of your bird’s diet:
Note: Make sure to remove the apple’s seeds, as they contain cyanide, which is highly toxic to your birds.
How to Feed Cantaloupe to Your Budgie
Does Feeding Your Parakeet Fruits Cause Diarrhea?
Pet birds can get diarrhea from many causes, including stress, poor nutrition, intestinal parasites, or infection. A change in diet can also cause diarrhea. The same goes for fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well to remove pesticides. Diarrhea can also be a sign of kidney, liver, or pancreatic disease.
However, true diarrhea is not common in birds. Abnormal droppings are often a sign of too much urine in the stool, which is called polyuria. A diet too rich in fruits and vegetables with a high water content can lead to this condition, but it is generally treated well.
As always, if you are unsure whether or not you are sure your bird has diarrhea, contact your veterinarian.
Do Parakeets Eat Fruits in the Wild?
In the wild, parakeets eat small amounts of fruit and primarily small wild berries. This is why it is possible to supplement your parakeet’s diet with fruit, but only sparingly. Instead, formulated pellets, fresh vegetables, and a small source of protein like cooked eggs should make up the bulk of the diet of your little winged creatures.
Regarding their dietary needs, parakeets are not complicated birds. Good quality formulated pellets, fruits, veggies, proteins, and some occasional seeds and other treats will help provide them with all the nutrients they need to thrive. Of course, there’s no problem if you want to share your cantaloupe with them either; just make sure to add a variety of other food to their diet. Also, snacking time with your little budgies is a good way of strengthening your bond with them; the only real problem here is that they might steal it all from you!
Featured Image Credit: Kolotygin Igor, Shutterstock
Genevieve is a biologist and science writer. Her deep love for capuchin monkeys, pumas, and kangaroos has taken her worldwide to work and volunteer for several wildlife rehabilitation centers in Bolivia, Guatemala, Canada, and Australia. As a Canadian expat, Genevieve now lives in Argentina, where she wakes up every morning to horses and cows saying hello from the vast plain next to her home office window. She is the proud mom of three rescued dogs, Lemmy, Nala, and Pochi, and a frisky kitten, Furiosa. Having the privilege of sharing her knowledge and passion for animals of all kinds is what makes her fulfilled and happy.