Eating seasonal fruit and veggies has always been the preferred way. Nowadays, when you have all those international trade channels, we are not strictly bound by the seasonal harvests of our homelands. So we can eat a pineapple on Christmas, a watermelon on Easter (it’ll be challenging but not impossible), and have tomatoes all year round.
However, local seasonal produce comes with more nutritional benefits for you and your pets. At this time of year, when the leaves are turning to warm orange, a vegetable of the same color fills the shelves of local vendors. It’s already pumpkin time in my city! And I’ll indeed be buying lots of it soon.
When you have lots of local eco vegetables in your home, you always wonder whether you can give them to your pets. I know I do!
Good news – parrots can eat pumpkins safely! This is one of the veggies that bring no harm to the bird. Be sure to feed your bird only the plump flesh without the strings, though, as they can disrupt digestion.
As you choose the biggest and the prettiest pumpkin to take home, know that a small part of it can go to your parrot!
Now, let’s discuss all the benefits this vegetable brings to parrots and the ways to include it in the diet.
What Is Pumpkin Nutritional Value for Parrots?
There are many benefits a pumpkin can bring both humans and animals. It’s a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Omega 3 and 6 are essential nutrients that should be included in everybody’s diet. They strengthen your heart and work as fantastic immunity boosters. The usual source of Omega for humans is fish oil. On its own, this product is terrible. There’s no surprise why parrots don’t like the taste. I hate it as well!
Instead of fish oil, you can introduce pumpkin to a parrot’s diet in the fall. It’ll provide the necessary Omegas plus other unsaturated fats beneficial to a bird’s diet.
We, humans, are used to taking our protein from meats and fish. Nuts as well. But pumpkin is a great alternative for parrots. Muscles, tissues, and feathers are dependent on the adequate amount of proteins. I believe that you should also remember that broccoli is also full of proteins. And it is available during the times of pumpkin absence. Thus, you can use this “superfood” as an effective substitute. You can check all the other benefits in the previous article Can Parrots Eat Broccoli.
You may think that as your parrot is already a “grown-up,” you don’t need to worry about the contents of calcium to strengthen its bones and aid growth. However, calcium is needed throughout the bird’s life, especially in the coming of elder years.
Do You Peel Pumpkin for Parrots?
Now, to the ways of feeding your bird!
The general rule is that pumpkin skin is safe for parrots to consume. Just wash it before!
However, some smaller parrots may find this part too hard to bite and chew. Basically, it all depends on the bird.
You should just try giving the parrot one piece with skin and see whether it manages to eat it whole. If yes, feel free to give it as is. It provides additional elements such as zinc, vitamin A, and beta-carotene.
If your parrot doesn’t even touch the skin, just peel it next time. Parrots also have their preferences in tastes, and you can’t make them eat something they don’t like.
If you see that the bird tries to eat the skin but can’t effectively, try blanching it in the boiling water. It’ll soften the skin but will preserve all the valuable nutrients.
If you want a bit of entertainment, you can also give your parrot a small whole pumpkin and see how it’ll fight to open it. Don’t worry; your bird will take it as an exciting puzzle and will flex its intelligence to get food! But be careful with the strings that I’ve mentioned in the beginning!
Is Raw or Cooked Pumpkin Better for Parrots?
Both are good and safe!
However, if I had to choose one, I’d stick to the raw vegetable if my parrot could chew it comfortably. As you cook veggies, they lose some of the nutrients. Not all, but a fair share is lost. Thus, I prefer raw pumpkin. But if your bird finds it too tough, you can quickly blanch it.
However, there is one case where soft-cooked pumpkin is preferred – if you have to give medicine with food. Pumpkin hides it all perfectly; your bird won’t even notice that something is wrong. In other seasons, you can choose soft bananas as a substitute for the purpose.
Do Parrots Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Sure! Pumpkin seeds are among the most popular ingredients among parrot foods! They adore the seeds. If there is a product that all parrots love without exception, it’s pumpkin seeds! So, you can easily include this treat in your parrot’s diet, even outside of pumpkin season!
Aside from being the favorite treat for parrots, the seeds also bring a super pack of nutrients; among the most important for a parrot are:
- Vitamin A
Also, pumpkin seeds are full of fats and calories. As a result, you have to limit the portions if your parrot is obese.
Can You Give Store Pumpkin Seeds to Your Parrot?
If you find commercial seeds that are free of any additives, you can feed them to parrots without worry. Usually, they are not treated with something harmful for pets, even salt. However, you still have to be careful and read the labels. No salt, so seasoning, no anything else!
Speaking of organic stuff, I don’t suppose that pumpkins are subjected to pesticides often, but still be sure to choose a local vendor.
Also, check the storage conditions if they are in the clear! It’s better to store them in dry environments, and high humidity can cause rot and other undesirable effects.
You can also find some pumpkin seeds outside of birds mixes in pet stores, but they are the same as in any other store and cost more! Just make sure to buy the proper ones.
Is Anything in Pumpkin Toxic for Parrots?
If you buy a pumpkin at a reputable store or at a friendly farmer’s market, nothing in a pumpkin is harmful to your bird! This is a tasty delicacy that should be included in your parrot’s diet every fall! While you have access to pumpkin seeds all year round, the fresh vegetables are not as long-lived. Be sure to enjoy it yourself and provide all the necessary nutrients for the bird while you can and while it’s naturally grown in your region.
All in all, a pumpkin is one of the irreplaceable foods for a parrot’s diet. A significant bonus is that parrots actually lie the taste very much. You’ll find them munching on the vegetables right away!
Of course, parrots also have different preferences, just like humans! So, if you find the bird reluctant to eat pumpkin every time you offer it, do not push it! There are other sources of the same nutrient you can substitute for!