If you have a parrot, you already know that they love to taste all of your food. But the fact is that parrots do not understand whether this food is dangerous or useful for them. They will try everything carelessly, and unusual food makes them very curious.
Wild parrots learn everything about what they can eat from their flock mates, where the older birds set an example for the younger ones. However, our bird pets are deprived of such experience, so people have to decide everything for them. If you have walnuts in your kitchen, you should find out if they are safe for your parrot. So, can parrots eat walnuts?
The answer is simple. Yes, parrots can eat walnuts because they are completely safe for birds. They contain many beneficial substances for your pet bird. However, you should make sure that the walnuts you give your parrot are high quality and fresh.
Walnuts should be part of your parrot’s diet as a healthy treat. Almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, shelled peanuts, pistachios, and pecans are very healthy and completely safe for parrots. However, nuts contain a lot of fat, albeit healthy, so their amount should be limited.
What are walnuts? How many nuts can your parrot eat? In this article, we will discuss all the details. Stay tuned to find out more!
Main Types of Walnuts
There are many types of walnuts, but they can be divided into three main varieties.
English Walnuts (Or Persian)
The English walnut is the most common and most consumed species for us in the United States. It has a thin, crooked shell and ivory kernels with a delicate texture. They have a mild, gentle taste with a slight sweetness and are very tasty after roasting.
Black Walnuts (Or Butternut)
These nuts are less popular than the English walnut, but they are also delicious. Black nuts have a denser, darker shell and sharpened edges. They have a brighter and richer taste, as well as a strong aroma.
It is the rarest walnut species in Canada and the United States. It is covered with a green husk and a light-colored outer shell with sharp edges. White walnuts have a delicate, sweet, buttery aftertaste and are considered to be very healthy.
Which Type of Walnuts Is Best for Parrots?
Parrots find nuts very addicting because they love the process of opening the shells and getting tasty kernels. Most often, birds eat exactly English walnuts, and they perfectly complement the diet of parrots. They have a thin shell, and it is safe to open them as it cannot harm the parrot’s beak or claws. However, you’d better peel the nut yourself before giving it to your parrot to avoid the possibility of injury.
Are Walnuts a Good Source of Vitamins and Minerals for Parrots?
These nuts contain many beneficial elements such as phosphorus, folate, vitamin B6, and various beneficial plant compounds. All types of walnuts are full of antioxidants and healthy fatty acids (Omega-3). Let’s take a closer look at the main elements in walnuts.
Walnuts are a unique source of a special form of vitamin E – gamma-tocopherol, an antioxidant that protects your parrot from various diseases. It prevents the formation of bad cholesterol and supports heart health.
Manganese supports the proper metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in parrots. It controls blood insulin spikes and promotes healthy cholesterol levels. Manganese also helps maintain healthy bone and blood cell growth.
Copper helps maintain the health of the heart and blood vessels by protecting them from the harmful effects of toxins and increasing their elasticity. Also, this element improves the immune system of parrots, protecting them from infections and various inflammations.
Do I Need to Chop Walnuts before Giving Them to My Parrot?
You can feed your parrot a whole nut as they can clean it themselves with their strong beaks and claws. Therefore, you do not need to chop the nuts for the parrots. In this case, English walnuts are perfect because their thin shell is unlikely to harm your pet.
Should I Soak Walnuts in Water before Giving Them to My Parrot?
Soaking helps your parrot digest walnuts more easily. Green nuts may taste bitter and unpleasant, but soaked and dried nuts do not. During soaking, the water removes the bitter components, leaving only a delicate sweetish aftertaste. It also softens the nuts and makes them easier for your parrot to eat.
You should soak a small number of nuts as they have a very short shelf life after soaking. Moisture can build up mold on the nuts, which can be toxic to your pet. Rinse the nuts well and store them in an airtight container.
Can I Feed Roasted Walnuts to Parrots?
Yes, your parrot can eat roasted walnuts. Possibly, your pet will like these nuts even more than raw nuts, as they become crisper after roasting.
The main rule is not to use oil when roasting and not to give your parrot too much because roasted nuts contain more fat than raw ones.
Can Parrots Drink Walnut Oil?
Walnut oil has a pleasant nutty aroma and flavor, and it is neutral cooking oil. Usually, people use it for dressing salads or adding it to dishes during baking. This oil has many health benefits.
Parrots can also have many health benefits with walnut oil, so you can feed them with it. However, you should give them a very small amount, as a lot of fat can harm your pet bird. Eating too much fatty food damages a parrot’s heart by raising cholesterol levels. I will tell you how much oil you should give your pet bird.
How to Feed Your Parrot with Walnut Oil?
Use any healthy fruit or vegetable that your parrot likes. For example, I can chop up crunchy carrots, tasty butternut squash, and a couple of sweet apple slices and add a few drops of walnut oil to that snack. Alternatively, you can add 1-2 drops to your parrot’s water or make fruit juice with one drop of walnut oil. Your parrot will love this flavor.
Can Walnuts Prevent Atherosclerosis in Parrots?
Atherosclerosis is a disease that affects both humans and birds and results in the hardening of the arteries. This condition often affects pet birds and especially parrots. Usually, disturbances in the arteries can occur due to long-term consumption of food with a high content of oil, cholesterol, and various fats.
However, the fats in walnuts are predominantly composed of Omega-3 fatty acids and help prevent atherosclerosis. Omega-3 reduces inflammation in blood vessels, keeping them healthy and elastic. Omega-3 also protects the heart and prevents the formation of cholesterol plaques in parrots.
How Many Walnuts Should I Give to My Parrot in a Day?
There is no universal answer to this question. The amount of walnuts depends on your pet’s size, regular diet, and activity. One or two walnuts are a great addition to your bird’s healthy diet. When adding healthy fats to your pet’s food, you should increase their activity time.
Walnuts Should Just Be a Treat for Parrots
The pet birds do not have as much activity as their wild relatives because, in the wild, a parrot can fly many miles a day to get food. Your pet parrot receives ready-made food and does not make any effort for this. As a result, they can often eat more than they really need to stay healthy.
Therefore, you need to carefully select a healthy diet for your parrot, make it balanced and beneficial for them. Walnut and its oil should be a treat, a reward, and a small, healthy addition to your bird’s regular diet. Make sure your parrot does not eat too much fatty food and is active enough.
Harmful Effects of Walnuts If Eaten in Excess
Walnuts are high in fiber. And while it is a very healthy ingredient for birds, eating too much fiber can disrupt their digestive system. Also, high fat and fiber content can lead to weight gains in your birds, especially if they are not too active.
Excess weight makes birds very lazy and picky about food. If you are feeding your parrot with food that contains fats and oils, you should carefully monitor their health. Visit your vet if you notice any changes.
To summarize, I can say that walnuts will be a healthy addition to your parrot’s diet. It is important for you to keep track of the number of walnuts or amount of oil and use them as a tasty treat full of vitamins and fatty acids. Be aware that eating too many high-fat foods can negatively affect the health of your bird.