Should My Bird’s Veggies Be Served Cooked Or Raw?

Posted by Bird Tricks on

Q: I know that we should give our birds lots of vegetables, but should they cooked or raw?
– Joseph B., Binghamton, NY

A: I give my birds both, but I definitely serve more raw vegetables than cooked. When I feed my birds, especially the more picky eaters, I want to maximize each meal.

Vegetables lose some of their nutritional value in the cooking process. The amount of loss depends on the cooking method used. For instance, of the many methods of cooking vegetables, boiling causes the most severe loss of nutrition. The reason for this is that Vitamin C and several B vitamins are water soluble and get washed into the cooking water which is discarded when the vegetables are drained. Also lost in the process of boiling are cancer fighting antioxidant phyto-chemicals.

A preferred method is steaming.  I use a steamer basket which fits inside of any sized pot.  It is a relatively quick method of cooking and no water touches the vegetables in the process.

Microwaving is also a good alternative to boiling. Since many vitamins are heat sensitive, vegetable nutrition fares better in situations where the duration of heat applied is kept to a minimum. The microwave cooks quickly and is for that reason another preferred method for cooking vegetables.

Even with the nutritional loss, I do serve cooked veggies to the birds once, sometimes twice a week.  Sometimes I give a combination of both.  I do this to keep variety on the menu and sometimes the weather just calls for a warm meal.

Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

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  • What about veggies lightly sauteed in extra virgin olive oil? Is that safe for them?

    Ginger on
  • Hi Patty,

    Thank you so much once again :)

    Jessie on
  • Hi Jessie,
    If you thoroughly wash the veggies, you will be fine in serving them to the lovebirds or your family. If you have a food processor, use it to chop the raw foods. This will give a perfectly cut size for a little bird and you can just add it into the mashed food. If your birds are newly converted to the veggies, I would wait a bit before trying this, maybe a couple of months. It’s far better that they are eating cooked veggies than risking turning them off them altogether by rushing the raw ones. Make sure you establish a good veggie eating pattern first and then make changes.
    Please read this post on egg laying, tips and dangers: It should answer your questions on diet and care during this time.
    I’m glad you find the blog to be helpful. I enjoy writing the posts. If you ever come up with a topic we have not covered, please let us know.

    Patty on
  • Hi Patty

    I have a concern over serving raw veggies.
    Trying to convert my lovebirds to eating veggies like what I mentioned before.
    Currently they are on a new diet of mashed cooked veggies mixed with their usual seed mix.
    Mixed veggies consist of sweet potatoes, corn kernels, carrots, broccoli and long beans.
    All steamed for 15mins and mashed.

    M thinking of mixing the mash with some raw veggies to add some crunch but i am concerned if they are ultra sensitive to the possible use of pesticides on these veggies.
    Its ok to just rinsed the veggies before cut up right?

    Was wondering if u can advise a diet for the 3 females who seem to be going on a crazy egg laying season. I cant seem to stop them so I gave them mashed up chicken egg with shells weekly for sharing.

    Thank you and will like to say your posts have been a lot of help to people like me who have limited knowledge on caring for parrots.

    Jessie on

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