If there is one thing that parrots love to eat, that is nuts and seeds. Nuts are a very nutritious source of food for our feathered friends. But to say that nuts are safe to be fed to parrots is too wide of a statement to pass considering the wide range of varieties available. While some nuts are safe, some can be toxic for our parrots, and thus it is important to know in specific which nuts you can give your parrot.
The commonly asked question related to nuts is peanuts. Peanuts are the cheapest nuts and are the most common ones available. They serve as a great snack for humans, and since parrots are social eaters and enjoy sharing our food, we need to make sure peanuts are safe to offer them.
To answer the question, the answer is yes and no. Parrots can eat peanuts since they contain a wide variety of nutrients, which are key to a healthy diet. However, even in peanuts, certain kinds of peanuts should be avoided. To be clear, peanuts with added spices or salt flavors are not safe to be offered to our birds. Moreover, the quality of shells plays an important part when it comes to your parrot’s health. Low-quality shells contain Aflatoxin, which causes diseases in your parrot, and so you have to be careful.
Do peanuts have any health benefits?
Peanuts do have quite a few health benefits for your parrot. To name a few:
Protein is an essential part of your parrot’s diet but is required in specific amounts since too much or little of it can result in possible complications. Protein plays a role in your bird’s feather formation and is also needed to keep them warm for the molting process. Protein deficiency can result in your bird ending up with fatty liver disease as well as stunted development and growth.
Vitamin E is needed for parrots to avoid skeletal and muscular dystrophy, softening of their brains, parakeratosis, and other bird specific diseases.
Biotin or Vitamin B7 is needed to fight different kinds of skin conditions, heart diseases, and neurological disorders. However, too much biotin can also lead to health complications, and thus, a balance is required.
Magnesium is needed for many, including incluincludinge formation, a healthy heart, and well-functioning carbohydrate metabolism. If missing from their diet, parrots can suffer from poor growth, lethargy can even suffer from convulsions, and it can even prove to be fatal for your bird!
Phosphorus is another mineral needed for healthy bone development as well as a healthy metabolic system in your parrot. If lacking, your parrot can face difficulty producing eggs or having eggs with poor shell quality.
Copper is needed to form and upkeep healthy blood vessels, bones, and connective tissue in your parrot’s system. Copper deficiency can lead to issues with the bird’s pigmentation in their feathers and bone fragility.
Manganese is of utmost importance for your parrot’s muscle coordination and is needed for their growth, reproduction, and their bone growth in particular. If manganese is missing, it can lead to luxation or perosis.
How to ensure the peanuts are safe for our parrot’s consumption:
When you introduce peanuts into your parrot’s diet, you have to ensure they are of high quality, and so the question is how to do that.
The first thing to make sure of is that the peanuts are safe for humans to eat too. This brings us to the second prong, which is to opt for a brand name. These commercial brands go through the process of making sure their peanuts do not contain Aflatoxin and have to pass the USDA test for them to reach the shelves. Avoid peanuts that are sold in bulk without any brand name.
How many peanuts should be offered:
Peanuts should always be given to parrots as a treat. Two or three peanuts at a time, on occasion as a snack, are a perfect amount to give to your parrots. If you give them too many peanuts, it could pose a health risk.
Some owners choose to forgo giving peanuts altogether for fear of aflatoxin present and don’t want to trick it. This comes down to your confidence in the quality of the peanut.
If you choose to give your parrots peanuts, make sure their shell is removed before giving it to them. The shell is most likely to contain aflatoxin and thus deshelling will remove the risk of consumption.
Can we give parrots peanut shells?
While some nut casings are perfectly safe to be given to parrots, that isn’t the case with peanuts. As we mentioned above the shell is most likely to have aflatoxin present in it so it should be avoided at all costs.
Can parrots eat salted peanuts?
Salt should not make its way into your parrot’s diet because it can be toxic for your feathered friend. Even in the smallest amounts, Too much salt can lead to excessive thirst and dehydration as a result of an imbalance of fluid and electrolytes and in severe cases can lead to kidney failure and even death.
What about peanut butter?
Peanut butter is considered to be safe for your bird as long as it is given in small amounts. Precautions should be taken, and a known brand name should be given to avoid aflatoxin traces.
Raw or roasted?
This depends on what your parrot seems to prefer. Although roasted peanuts are softer and easy to chew, parrots don’t have a problem with raw peanuts either.
Roasting peanuts doesn’t get rid of aflatoxin so don’t fall into that belief!
Peanuts are a great snack to offer your parrot since they are rich in nutrients. Just be sure to follow all the precautions while feeding them to your parrot to avoid health scares!