Bad Foods for Birds | Bird Species Info

You’ve just brought your new baby parrot home. You’ve prepared a cozy bird cage with all the necessary toys and bird-supplies. You’ve compiled a list of all the good foods you should feed your bird. Now it’s time to share your first meal together. Suddenly, you stop to think. Are there any foods you shouldn’t feed your bird? Are their foods that are dangerous, hazardous, or simply unhealthy for your new feathery baby? Suddenly dinner is on hold.

In fact, there are some foods you should avoid feeding your parrot.

Macaw Eating from Friendly Feeder

Avoid these foods:

  • Avocados: Avocados are extremely toxic and can quickly kill your new pet. They can cause your bird to stop eating and develop short, rapid breath.
  • Rhubarb: This plant contains a high amount of Oxalic acid, a toxic substance. Cooking does not remove all traces of this acid, so it should be avoided all together.
  • Asparagus can cause your bird to develop an upset stomach.
  • Caffeine can cause heart problems and hyperactivity. So unless you want your bird to act like it has ADHD, avoid feeding any food or beverages that contain caffeine.
  • Fruit pits: Fruit is a wonderful source of nutrients for your pet. However, the pits should be removed before feeding your bird the actual fruit. This includes apple, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum pits.
  • Some bird experts recommend avoiding onions and garlic as well.


Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which is stimulant. This compound is deadly to birds and can cause heart problems, depression, liver damage, seizures and death. Because birds are small animals, even a bite of chocolate can prove deadly to them. If your bird starts to show signs of illness, contact your avian veterinarian immediately.

Look Out For Salt, Sugar & Junk Food

You should never feed your parrot food that is high in sugar or salt. There are simply too many other healthy alternatives.

Also, avoid feeding your pet food that is high in fat. This especially refers to processed foods. Too much fat and not enough exercise can cause your parrot to gain an unhealthy amount of weight. Pickled foods should also be avoided as they are high in salt.

If you need to cut back on your own salt and sugar intake, consider teaming up with your bird and going on a “healthy diet.” Watching your parrot devour an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies can be a great motivator for you.

Making Feeding Fun for You & Your Bird

Anyone who owns a bird will tell you that they are messy eaters. Birds love to fling their food all over the place. So after giving your pet a healthy meal that excludes all the bad foods mentioned here, you may find yourself with a sizable mess. At first, it can be a lot of fun watching your bird eat his dinner. He’s obviously enjoying himself to the fullest. But when it’s all over and the parrot cage and surrounding floor looks like a bomb went off, your bird’s eating habits may not seem so funny.

The good news is there are ways you can minimize your bird’s mealtime messes. The Friendly Feeder, offered by Custom Cages, provides a unique way to prevent flying food from landing on your carpet and walls. The feeder has a hood attached to it which keeps food inside the dish, eliminating much of the mess. It also helps keep your bird’s water dish clean so that flying food particles do not dissolve in the fresh drinking water. You can easily wipe the dish clean with a damp cloth after your bird has finished stuffing his gizzard.

If you keep your bird in a flight cage, or if you are housing a whole colony in an aviary, Custom Cages’s Rotating Feeder Station makes meal time extremely safe and convenient. Each system is equipped with three, stainless steel, 16 oz. food bowls. You will need to cut several vertical wires off one of your cage panels in order to properly mount the feeder. The Rotating Feeder station will easily mount on either side of your bird cage and fasten together with 6 nuts and bolts. You can rotate the station in and out without even opening the cage door. This prevents the possibility of your birds escaping as you are trying to fill their bowls with delicious goodies.

Watch the Peanuts!

Although birds love peanuts, they could eventually kill your parrot. Peanuts are sometimes filled with a toxic substance called aflatoxins, which is believed to cause cancer. Aflatoxins develop as a result of improper storage. As a result, feed peanuts sparingly or not at all. If you insist on giving your pet a bowl of peanuts, open at least 20% of the shells to make sure they are not moldy or contaminated. Only feed human-grade peanuts. Peanuts sold by bird manufacturers are not human grade. This dramatically increases the risk of aflatoxin contamination.

Dairy Products

You can feed your parrot a little bit of nonfat yogurt or a few small pieces of cheese. But keep these at a minimum and only as a special treat. A bird’s gastrointestinal system is not made to digest diary products. Avoid feeding milk altogether, as this could cause digestive upsets.