Cucumbers are a great go-to food for parrots because they are not only completely safe but are also low in sugar which means they can be eaten liberally by your bird. This means, unlike many fruits you can serve up cucumbers with confidence.
This originally South Asian native vine fruit may well have been part of the forage of a range of parrot species and it is certainly enthusiastically received by many pet birds.
Cucumbers also make a cool and hydrating snack for your bird on a hot summer’s day and are quick and easy to prepare.
Read on for everything you need to know about including cucumbers as part of a nutritionally balanced diet for your pet parrot!
Nutritional benefits of cucumbers for your parrot
Including fresh fruits like cucumbers provides a real nutritional boost for your parrot. It is always good for your pet to gain its vitamins and minerals directly from fresh food and despite being a relatively simple food, it does manage to pack a nutritional punch!
- 97% water – this includes the skin and makes cucumbers exceptionally hydrating which is great for parrots that eat a diet that is predominantly made up of dried pellets.
- Low in fat at 0.11g per 100g serving – this fruit is unlikely to contribute to an obesity problem for your bird.
- Relatively low in sugars at 1.67g per 100g serving – excess sugar in fruit can cause digestive upset or be converted to fat, so with cucumber, you are free of those problems.
- Rich in Vitamins B, C and K
- Great for electrolytes like Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese. These electrolytes can replace and rebalance electrolyte losses through sweat and excretion.
Cucumbers are surprisingly versatile
Though you are most like to encounter the generic store-bought slicing cucumbers, this member of the melon family is very diverse in size, seeding, and fragrance meaning you can mix things up from time to time by offering mini varieties like Burpless or the more exotic Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian varieties.
Ways to keep cucumbers exciting for your parrot
You can pique your parrot’s interest in a serving of cucumbers by varying its presentation. Cucumber spears and slices are great for your parrot to grasp with his claws and feed himself.
Alternatively, refreshing cucumber spirals can be happily demolished by your bird. Suspend chunks of cucumber from the top of the cage to make an edible peck toy.
Wash before serving
One of the biggest problems with fresh fruit and vegetables is the presence of harmful pesticides and antifungals that can sicken a parrot even at trace concentration.
Washing your cucumbers thoroughly can make a big difference in removing these substances. Cucumbers can also be peeled before serving them to your bird.
Use cucumbers to ‘dilute’ servings of more sugary fruits
Parrots relish the sweetness of fruits like oranges, grapes, and papaya. However, these fruits are high in fructose which is not good for your parrot in large amounts.
You can stretch their serving by mixing in some chunks of cucumber which is very low in sugar while having a refreshing texture and taste.
But you have to watch the amount of cucumber your parrot eats too
There is such as thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to cucumber. The key problem with this fruit is that it is extremely low in fiber.
Your parrot relies on fiber in the food it eats to aid digestion and give its stools a normal consistency.
An excess of cucumber will almost always lead to your parrot having runny stools for a period after eating them, so brace yourself for the cleanup job!
One type of cucumber you should never feed to your parrot!
You may be looking at that jar of Heinz pickles on the pantry shelf and thinking “Could I?”…
Well, pickled gherkins, cucumber pickles, pickle slices, and other preserved cucumbers are an absolute no-no for parrots.
They are far too high in salt and if your parrot ingests these they can rapidly become salt overloaded and sickened. Pickles also have sugars, spices, and preservatives that are capable of making a parrot ill.
Cucumbers are a safe simple food that is easy to include in your parrot’s diet. Not all parrots are overly enthusiastic about them, but when washed and prepared they are a great snack that you can offer with confidence.