Nuts are a good source of protein and healthy fat. And all birds love nuts! (Spoiler: Especially macaws!) Give your birds a mixture of almonds, pistachios, shelled peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, palm nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and cashews, and watch them forage away. Almonds are high in Vitamin E and manganese, as well as walnuts, which are also high in copper. Nuts are a good source of zinc, vitamin A, folic acid and more.
Nuts are also a good way to encourage your bird to forage. If the nut comes in a shell, such as a pistachio or walnut, give it to your bird to open. Some birds will spend a lot of time working on cracking the shell to reach the nut.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are great for your bird and you. Veterinarians recommend pet birds get 30- to 40-percent vegetables and fruit in their diet. But most birds seem averse to trying fresh fruits and vegetables, like kids trying new foods! That is where dried comes in. Vegetables and fruits are usually offered separately from the main food bowl, which could discourage your bird from trying it. Some birds, like cockatiels, seem to dislike fresh, wet foods, which might be natural instincts: they often don’t get fresh foods in the wild. Offering your bird dried fruit and vegetables (sulfite free, please), intermixed with its normal diet, can be a healthy substitute while you work on getting your bird to try the fresh items.
Another reason to offer dried fruits and vegetables is to change the texture of a healthy food. Cooked corn is squishy, but dried corn is chewy. Apples are crunchy and juicy, but dried apple is chunky and chewable. The different textures will delight your bird. Who knows which one it will prefer!
An added benefit of having dried fruits and vegetables available is that they store so easily. You cannot leave fresh produce inside the cage for more than a few hours, while dried fruits and veggies can be left in all day.
Tip: Use a piece of dried fruit or veggie as a trick-training treat.
Watch TiPaul, an African grey, eat a nut.
Want to learn more about bird food?
The Scoop On Feeding Cereal To Pet Birds
Introduce Healthy Foods With Frozen Foods
Good Table Foods For Birds