The bulk nutrition of your pet parrot's diet should come from either one of two sources: a premium brand pellet, or an all-natural seed mix.
This, along with a mix of fresh, organic fruits and veggies will ensure they are given all the vitamins, minerals, protein and other key nutrients necessary for proper health and development...
Rather than feeding them the typical seed or pellet meal day after day, you can also mix things up once in a while with an occasional bird treat!
But where do you start?
Instead of buying the same old treats from the grocery store or pet store, however, you should consider making your own. With some basic ingredients and a little bit of free time, you can make your very own DIY parrot treats.
Most of the below recipes can be made from common staples and are sure to please the pickiest parrots—whether you have a Macaw, Budgie, Conure, African Grey, Quaker, or anything in between.
Of course, treats will also prove a valuable tool for training your parrot. Whether you are trying to train your parrot how to speak or get them to perform a new trick, you'll need plenty of parrot treats on hand to accomplish this.
Keep reading for some healthy treat ideas for pet birds...
Peanut Butter and Crackers
While some parrots are picky when it comes to their food, nearly all of them love the sweet and buttery taste of peanut butter. You can literally make balls of this stuff, place it in their cage, and they will eat it right up!
A better approach, though, is to smear some peanut butter on a saltine or cracker and then give it to your parrot. This will make it easier for them to eat with the bread-like cracker.
Spreading a little bit of creamy peanut butter on a cracker is a simple yet delightful treat that your parrot is sure to love. The salty, oily flavors of the peanut butter spread out on a crunchy cracker is a real treat for a pet parrot.
Of course, you'll only want to give them this type of treat in moderation, as it contains a high amount of fat and oil.
On the upside, though, peanut butter is loaded in protein. If you're looking for a quick and easy treat for your parrot, give this a try to see if they like it. Assuming your bird has a 'normal' appetite, they'll be begging you for more after getting their first taste.
You can also hang the peanut butter saltine by a piece of string and hang it from the top of your parrot’s cage. Either way, these are deliciously simple homemade treats that your parrot is sure to love.
Pro Tip: You'll want to choose a peanut butter with as few ingredients as possible, ideally just peanuts. If there aren't any good options in your area, make your own!
Fresh Apple Slices
Parrots seem to love most any type of fruit or vegetable. One of my parrot’s favorite type of fruit is apples. Just chop them up into small slices or cubes and feed them to your parrot as an occasional treat.
Apples have a certain crunchy texture that parrots seem to enjoy. Of course, the sweet flavoring is likely another reason why parrots love eating them.
After placing them inside the cage, he will eat them up in a matter of minutes. Not only are they delicious treats, but apples are also loaded in beneficial vitamins and nutrients, giving your parrot a kick of nutrition.
You can take this treat to a different level by covering the apple slices in some peanut butter beforehand and then sprinkling bird seed on top. This will create the ultimate mix of salty and sweet flavors that are simply a delight for your parrot.
Be warned, though, your parrot will probably go crazy anytime you have an apple around once he gets a taste of this delicious treat!
Another treat idea is to bake some seed cookies for your parrot. There are dozens of different recipes out there for seed cookies (also called biscuits)
One fave of mine is to mix about half a cup of almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and flour together, followed by mixing in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and an egg.
Use a whisk or mixer to blend these ingredients well. Once blended, shape them into small cookie shapes on a waxed cookie sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Parrots LOVE seed cookies such as this and best of all, you can play around with the ingredients to accommodate your parrot's preferences; if they enjoy eating peanuts, toss some peanuts into the mix; if they dislike sunflower seeds (not sure which parrots don't like sunflower seeds), remove them.
Baby carrots are yet another wonderful treat for parrots. They are crunchy, flavorful and loaded with nutrition.
You can pick up a bag of baby carrots at the grocery store for a couple of bucks, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious shoppers. Depending on the size of the carrots, you may need to chop them up into smaller pieces before feeding them to your parrot.
No matter what fruits or vegetables you intend on feeding your parrot, be sure to choose the ones labeled "organic." The fact is that most produce at the supermarket is covered in potentially harmful pesticides and growth hormones. Choosing the organic variety will help reduce the number of chemicals ingested by your parrot.
Parrots seem to naturally love eating grapes. These perfectly bite-sized balls of sweetness are a real treat for a parrot. Grapes are both delicious and nutritious, which are two characteristics that every treat should possess.
If you intend on giving your parrot these as a treat, however, it's important to only give them the seedless variety; otherwise, you run the risk of having them choke on a seed.
For a seriously sweet and delightful treat, you can dip some strawberries in yogurt, place them in the freezer to harden, and then serve them to your parrot. Yogurt-covered strawberries are one of the few treats that both you and your parrot can enjoy.
It’s important to note, however, that yogurt should only be given to your parrot in moderation, as it’s still a dairy product and too much of it can upset their stomach.
Other Snack Ideas:
- Celery sticks (with or without peanut butter for extra taste)
- Banana pieces
- Unsalted peanuts
Why Homemade Is Better Than Store Bought
One thing to remember is to avoid store treats.
Some owners like yourself might feel inclined to purchase treats for your parrot at the local pet store or supermarket.
After all, it's usually easier and cheaper than giving a parrot fresh foods.
But hear me out:
The problem, however, is that most of these packaged treats contain little-to-no nutritional value.
For this reason, it's recommended that you avoid store treats and choose fresh, all-natural ones instead.
The additional money it costs will prove to be well worth the investment in your bird's health. Know more about the best foods to feed your pet budgie from our other post.
Spread The Love One Treat At A Time
You can also always use treats to aid in training your parrot to perform various tricks. Most professional parrot experts will agree that treats are the number one tool when it comes to training.
Treats are a great way to show your parrot love and appreciation. There's no easier way to lift a parrot's spirits than by giving him or her a tasty treat.
These are just a few ideas to consider when preparing treats and snacks for your pet parrot.
Above all else, make sure you stick with natural, organic, non-processed foods that offer nutritional value to your favorite feathered friend.
Read more on Parrot Healthcare 101 here.