This is probably going to come as a shock to most, but parrots – the more than 350 different species of birds classified as parrots – are technically considered omnivores.
While parrots (for the most part) eat a lot of plants, a lot of seeds, and a lot of small insects and vegetables like every other bird out there, they also have no trouble whatsoever eating meat! Bugs and insects form a large part of their diet in the wild.
Below we dig a little deeper into the ins and outs of whether or not you should be feeding your parrot meat, how much meat you should be feeding them, what kinds of meats you can comfortably give your bird and which ones you should stay away from and so much more.
Let’s jump right in!
Can Parrots REALLY Eat Meat?
Now, it isn’t as though a parrot is going to track down a nice piece of prime rib anytime soon and jump right into it – but they can eat meat without doing anything negative to their health or wellness.
These kinds of birds generally do not eat a lot of meat in the wild, but because their digestive systems have adapted to a more omnivorous appetite, they can eat more meat than you might expect.
This adaptation came about with parrots eating insects and small fleshy animals like fish and carrion that they pulled from animal bodies found naturally in the wild.
Parrots aren’t going to dig into carrion the way that a vulture might, but they aren’t going to turn down this kind of meal in the wild, either.
Why You Want to Keep Your Parrot’s Meat Intake Low
Parrots (like pretty much every other living thing out there) need a little bit of protein in their diet, and meat will go a long way towards making sure that they get enough to stay healthy.
At the same time, a parrot just isn’t built to consume a lot of meat on a regular basis. They are going to get lots of protein through the nuts and seeds that they eat on a regular basis – and the rest of their diet is generally going to be made up of fruits, vegetables, and other plants or tiny insects.
Meat a couple of times a week isn’t going to hurt your parrot. If you go overboard, though, you can flood their body with far too much protein, causing them to become fat and potentially obese, and that’s when their health and wellness is going to be in jeopardy.
On top of that, because their bodies and digestive systems aren’t designed to process all that extra protein, you force their kidneys to work double overtime to make sure that excess protein is pushed out in their waste.
That can lead to some pretty significant health issues for your birds, potentially even threatening their life.
A lot of meat can also flood their daily diet with a lot of cholesterol and saturated fats (as well as dietary fat), and that’s never going to be great for birds that aren’t adapted to that kind of food either.
Some of the Best Meat Options to Feed Your Parrot and Meat to Avoid
Believe it or not, poultry (chicken and turkey) are fantastic meat options to feed your parrot every now and again.
These protein sources are very lean, are quality sources of protein that are easily broken down by your bird and aren’t going to flood their system with a lot of extra dietary fat or excessive cholesterol.
Fish also works wonders when you want to feed your parrot a snack and even eggs (scrambled or hard-boiled) will be a nice treat for your bird every now and again.
Meat you’ll want to avoid include cured meats, cold cuts, fatty red meats like steak, and absolutely ANYTHING that has been fried. Steer clear of those meat choices and you should be good to go.
How to Prep Meat for Your Parrot to Eat
If you are going to be giving your parrot meat at all you need to make sure that it has been properly prepared.
For starters, the meat should be 100% unseasoned. No salt, no pepper, and no special spices or marinades.
Secondly, you’ll want to boil your meat so that it is as bland as possible. Keep it simple and keep it straightforward.
Finally, avoid feeding your parrot raw meat. All kinds of issues (including salmonella) can crop up if they are eating raw meat on a regular basis.
As you can see parrots and other birds can eat meat but it’s probably not going to be suggested to you as part of their diet plan by your local pet store. But to ensure your birds get the correct diet you’ll need to emulate their natural eating habits in the wild and bugs and insects are part of the diet.
Below are some good food sources that you should consider feeding your birds.