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6 Brightly Colored & Healthy Treats Your Pet Bird Can’t Resist

Be inspired by the colors of the rainbow as you feed these healthy treats your pet bird will love.

By Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)

When it comes to the senses — sight, smell, sound and taste — vision is extremely important in how birds (parrots or otherwise) decide what to eat. Unlike people, many bird species have structures within their retinas that enable them to see ultraviolet (UV) light, making the colors that they see look very different from those that we see. In fact, the way that UV light reflects off the waxy outer layers of fruit helps birds determine whether fruit is ripe to eat. Given the importance of color in food selection by birds, when you choose snacks for your pet bird, consider the colors of the rainbow. 

Strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C.

1) Red:  Strawberries
Who can resist a bright red, mouthwatering strawberry? A ripe strawberry is a perfect sweet treat for your pet bird to sink his beak into. A plump strawberry is a vitamin C-packed snack your pet bird won’t be able to resist. Buy organic strawberries whenever possible, as strawberries absorb pesticides at high levels in their skin. It’s healthier for your bird and for you, too. 

2) Orange:  Mangoes
An ideal snack for a pet bird, mangoes are filled with beta carotene, a vitamin-A precursor made in the body which is essential to a healthy immune system, normal skin, and shiny feathers. Soft and juicy, a chunk of mango is a snack your bird will love to dig into. But if you offer your bird mango, be prepared to clean his cage, because he’s sure to wipe his sticky beak all over the perches when he’s done.

 Mangoes are a great source of Vitamin A.

Peppers (yellow or otherwise) are a great source of vitamin A and C.

 3) Yellow:  Peppers
Although some birds choose fruit over vegetables, yellow peppers are always a hit. When cut in strips, a yellow pepper make a crunchy treat that is easy for birds to hold and great for them to chew. Plus, yellow peppers are vitamin-A and C enriched, so they’re nutritious and delicious. Yellow peppers are crunchy as a potato chip but a whole lot healthier, they’re especially great for feather-picking pet birds that need to busy their bird beaks so that they don’t pick.

4) Green:  Sugar Snap Peas
Another crunchy treat, a sugar snap pea pod is a perfect little package that pet birds can hold and munch. Pet birds love to forage, and what better treat to forage for than little, round peas in an edible wrapper? Available year round, sugar snap pea pods are easy to prepare: just wash and offer the sugar snap peas, no slicing or chopping required. A great source of vitamins A, B, and C, sugar snap peas are sure to please even the fussiest pet bird palates!

Very few pet birds can say no to a sugar snap pea! 

Blueberries are messy, so get the sponge ready to clean the walls.

5) Blue:  Blueberries
An ideal snack for pet birds of all sizes, blueberries are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and  K, and manganese — all essential nutrients in a pet bird’s diet. Plus, blueberries rich in anti-oxidants, which help protect cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced within birds’ bodies that can damage organs, potentially causing heart disease, cancer and other serious illness. What could be better – a yummy,  little ball of blueberry goodness filled with potent disease fighting nutrients?  But be careful, just as we can’t eat only one blueberry, neither will your pet bird! 

6) Purple:  Plums
Few foods combine the tartness of the skin with the sweetness of the fruit than the plum. Who can resist a succulent slice of plum on a hot summer day? Rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K, plums help fight infection and inflammation and promote normal blood clotting, healthy skin and vision. Plus, plums are a good source of iron for red blood cell formation. But, offer a piece of plum, and you’ll wish your pet bird was wearing a bib, because he’s likely to wear as much as he eats. Yet, he’s a pet bird, after all, and he really won’t care!

 Plums are a great source of vitamins A, B, C and K.

Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)
Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics

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6 Brightly Colored & Healthy Treats Your Pet Bird Can’t Resist

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Reader Comments
My Blue-Gold macaw goes "bananas" over... well... bananas. My 2 Sulfur-crested Cockatoos and cockatiels love pieces of grapes. And my African Grey will tell you his favorite "yum yum" is an apple... The only problem (not really) I have is... when I use my NutiBullet to make me a NutriBlast, they all coming "flying". They have figured out that when daddy gets his NutriBullet cup, that means he's hitting the "fruit bar"... Lol
Dylan, Kingsport, TN
Posted: 1/20/2015 8:04:07 AM
Bing Cherries - Ocasional Only - The Blue Crown Conures go nuts over them, but they want their humans to hold the bing cherries as they eat. Droppings become fluid for awhile.
Bob, Jacksonville, FL
Posted: 1/13/2015 9:42:28 AM
I like to slightly freeze the blue berries. My quaker Zu Zu Petals loves to play with and eat them. If it is hot, I put them in her water bowl to keep it cool.
Lila~June, Butte, MT
Posted: 8/9/2013 9:00:20 AM
Interesting! I hope that everyone's weekend was both great and safe,enjoyed the recent holidays that we've had,having a good week and has another good weekend.
Mike, Columbia, TN
Posted: 8/8/2013 9:29:45 AM
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