Simple Ways To Make Food More Interesting To Parrots

Umbrella cockatoo

Parrots are picky eaters. Which, when you think about it, is strange for an animal who spends the majority of its life in the search for food in the wild. You’d kind of think that they would be a little more forgiving when it comes to the meals we serve. Far be it for a parrot to make anything simple.

That leaves it up to we humans to figure out some way to get them to try the foods we know are good for them. Sometimes the answer has little to do with the foods themselves, but is in their preparation and presentation.

Some birds prefer their food chopped into small pieces while others prefer chunks. Some birds have temperature preferences. Some like softer foods better than crunchy .

6 different ways to prepare a carrot

One thing all parrots have in common is an inquisitive nature. Things that look different will certainly attract their attention. We can use that to our advantage…

Goffins cockatoo

And in the process, we can get them climbing around the cage for their food…

Umbrella cockatoo

And get them to taste something they might otherwise overlook…

Umbrella cockatoo with swiss chard

Linus lugged this piece of cabbage all the way up to his stainless steel bucket which is directly above the pile of wood chips. Once there, he ate some and shredded the rest…

Umbrella cockatoo

Today, Linus had a bagged breakfast!…

Umbrella cockatoo

And Theo had a kabob…

Pepper, corn, apple and carrot

The cockatiels and quaker had these…

broccoli, carrots and green beans

The point to all of this is to show you just how easy it is to get your birds interested in new foods, or ways to re-invent already accepted foods to make meals more interesting and appealing. Very often, just a single taste is all it takes to get them eating the things we know they should. Please share your clever feeding ideas with us all.

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

9 comments

tricia Bartolucci

My Amazons Prefer Veges over fruit , but after several years of watching our Macaws eat fruit, our Amazon will eat grapes, melon, Apple, lemon, peach….just a bit at a time since they can be high in calories. She has a slice of apple and several string beans in the bowl with many healthy new ones helped get all of our birds used to different tastes. Macaws are very inquisitive so are pretty open to try new foods, especially if we seems to be eating it. I think tying Veges to their cage or trees is a great idea as a toy. They love destroying their toys so if they perceive it as a toy it should be fun. I find their differences funny too. Most of our birds prefer room temp or slightly warm food, but our Galah is perfectly happy eating his Mash of Veges, greens, beans, pasta, grains just out of the fridge. Our avian vet said sweet potatos are so full of nutrients that they are great to feed regularly. All of our birds except the titles love it cooked, but none will eat it cooked and mixed into their mash! Thanks for the suggestions Patty.

tricia Bartolucci
Margaret Laurens

I put my Galahs food in a strawberry container and snap it shut. Sometimes it takes him a good while to open it and get the treats that I put there for him. Keeps him busy for a time.

Margaret Laurens
Gaye

As per usual, great info. my friend; I must try a bagged breakie with Alex, especially since she loves shredding them up. I also weave greens through the bars of her cage. She wouldn’t eat carrots, so I bought some organic carrot juice, sprinkled some avi greens into it, and voila, success!!! I also tried this with Kirby, my GCC and he loved it. That’s one way of getting carrots into them, huh? ;-D

Gaye
Ann Couch

Thanks for the post i will try some of these tricks and see if it works.Thanks u guys.

Ann Couch
Shirley

Thank you for some really cool ways of getting our birds to try different or new foods. I am going to try some of these things on my Cockatoo she wont eat very many veg. at all so its always a surprise when she does. Maybe if I try some of these ways she will at least try the veg. more often.

Shirley
Theresa Rij

I love this post – I’m going to try this with newly surrendered birds many of which have never had fresh fruit and veggies. Thank you!

Theresa Rij
Dianna

My parrot likes his veggies cooked and room temp to warm. Of course corn is his favorite but he also like sweet potatos and sometimes carrots. He prefers his broccoli cooked with just a touch of butter (which he doesnt get very often) and I try to sneak in some greens by mixing it with corn. hes a lightly overweight blue fronted amazon so he doesnt get much in the way of nuts or seeds or fattening foods. He gets multigrain cheerios as a treat and occasionally the crust from 15 grain bread which has the nuts and grains on top.

Dianna
Narelle

Love these ideas. My Ekkie loves foot foods and foods hidden in his draws more than food in a bowl. I also smear a small amount of peanut butter or yogurt around the inside of a plastic bottle cap. he spends ages holding this in his foot and licking it clean.

Narelle
June

I liked the ideas and pictures but I had to ask about the cabbage..no offence intended.

June

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