If your parrot always eyes your grapes while you’re munching away and tries to snatch one, maybe you’ve wondered if it’s okay to give one (or more) to your bird.
Are grapes safe for your parrot to eat? The good news is that grapes are a safe and healthy treat for parrots but should only be fed in moderation as a snack because of their high sugar content. We look at the good and the bad of the grape and how much is the right amount for your parrot.
The Healthy Grape
Grapes have been cultivated and enjoyed for thousands of years and are known, of course, for their use in winemaking. They grow in clusters on vines and can have seeds or be seedless and can be pink, green, yellow, red, and even black!
They are cultivated around the world in moderate temperatures in Africa, South America, Australia, Southern Europe, and North America.
Grapes are full of nutrients, particularly vitamins K and C, antioxidants (particularly in red and black grapes), resveratrol, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Health benefits of the grape for us humans include:
Grapes are generally an all-around healthy snack that can also help with a healthy diet and weight loss.
Problems With Grapes
Just like with pretty much anything in life, you can have too much of a good thing. If you eat too many grapes or grape products, such as raisins and sultanas, you might experience diarrhea, stomach upset, vomiting, nausea, indigestion, dry mouth, cough, and headache.
But what about parrots? Let’s look at a parrot’s typical diet.
A Parrot’s Diet
The main part of a parrot’s diet typically comes in pellets. These are compressed combinations of different foods, such as seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables, and added vitamins and minerals.
However, parrots need a variety of different foods, which should include beans, grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit.
In general, fresh fruit and vegetables should be fed to your parrot every day, particularly tropical fruit, such as bananas, mangoes, and papayas.
But how healthy are grapes for parrots?
Grapes and Parrots
Grapes definitely have health benefits for your parrot and are an excellent source of the following:
What are the negatives for your parrot to eat grapes?
The 3 Downside of Grapes for Parrots
Grapes in moderation have obvious health benefits, but if you feed your parrot too much, there are negative consequences.
1. Vitamin Deficiency
Parrots tend to absolutely love grapes, which is not surprising considering how sweet they are. The downside is that your parrot might start turning up her beak at other, necessary food. If your parrot starts to become picky about her food, it will lead to a deficiency in certain vitamins, which leads to an unbalanced diet.
Vitamin A deficiency is common among parrots and can lead to suffocation and death if left untreated.
Grapes have a relatively high sugar content (which is why parrots enjoy them as much as they do), and too much sugar can eventually result in obesity. Obesity can cause illness, disease, and injuries, such as foot lesions, weaker joints, metabolic deficiency, and leg fractures.
Additionally, too much glucose can also lead to lethargy, loss of appetite, and an upset stomach.
Grapes, of course, can be covered in pesticides to help protect the crop from pests. Pesticides can be quite harmful to parrots, particularly because they have sensitive immune systems. In fact, studies conducted by the ASPCA have shown that pesticides constitute 25% of the toxicoses that affect pet birds.
You can combat this by only buying organic for your parrot, and be sure to wash the grapes thoroughly. If you mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 2 cups of water and soak the grapes for 15 minutes, this should effectively remove most, if not all, of the pesticides.
What About the Color of the Grapes?
The hard and fast rule is that the darker the grape, the more antioxidants and, therefore, the healthier it is. Green grapes are the least healthy of the different colored grapes, while black grapes are the healthiest.
Red grapes contain anthocyanin in the skin and flavonoids, all of which have health benefits for your parrot. Black grapes contain the most antioxidants than any other grape and contain the highly beneficial compound of resveratrol.
Related Read: Can Parrots Eat Cherries? What You Need to Know!
How About the Seeds?
Unlike apples, grape seeds are not only safe for your parrot, but they are also nutritious because they contain additional antioxidants and nutrients. Just be sure to cut grapes up into smaller pieces and give the seeds separately to smaller species of parrots. The seeds can become a choking hazard.
Grapes are a nice treat for your parrot, as long as you only give her a few as a snack and not as a meal. She should only be given about one to two grapes each week — while grapes have many health benefits, they also have high sugar content. Parrots need a balanced diet.
If you need extra advice or if your parrot binged on grapes behind your back, do speak to your vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. As long as you only give the grapes as a tasty treat once in a while, your parrot should not suffer from vitamin deficiency (as long as the rest of her diet is balanced), and she’ll thank you for it in the end!
Featured Image Credit by GoranH, Pixabay
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.