Can A Cockatiel Eat Too Much Millet?

Cockatiels go crazy for millet, so it’s a staple of many commercial seed mixes. Even picky eaters like this delicious treat. The color and crunchy texture of the millet is very enticing. But, can a cockatiel eat too much millet?

Can A Cockatiel Eat Too Much Millet?

Can A Cockatiel Eat Too Much Millet? No cockatiels can not eat too much millet because it may lead to several health problems. Too much millet can make a cockatiel fat. About a teaspoon per day is a good amount of millet for your cockatiel to eat as a nice treat without negatively impacting their diet.

Millet is high in fat and deficient in some vital vitamins and minerals. Also, millet addiction can lead to cockatiels refusing other food, resulting in starvation.

Millet is a relatively healthy dietary supplement when limited to 1 teaspoon per day. Millet addiction can usually be resolved by offering cockatiel alternative foods and slowly weaning them off millet.

What Is Millet?

Millet is often pictured as clusters of golden grains on the stalk. When harvested, it can resemble seeds, although biologically speaking, it belongs more in the sorghum family.

There are several types of millet, but the most popular ones have hues of yellow and brown.

Also, it’s actually a very old grain as it has been grown and harvested for food for around 7.000 years. The millet seed is a good source of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and carbs.

Further, millet can be found worldwide, most commonly in Asia and Africa. However, some types of millet are native to Australia, especially in the western territories, where cockatiels live in the wild.

As mentioned, millet is a common addition to commercial bird feet. Although any millet can be used, proso millet, which has a pale yellow tint, is favored.

Is Too Much Millet Bad For Cockatiels?

A cockatiel can eat too much millet, which has adverse health implications.

The high amounts of fat can lead to your cockatiel becoming overweightOpens in a new tab.. Most worryingly, cockatiels may start to refuse other foods, consuming nothing but millet.

On the other hand, millet is good for young cockatiels because it provides the calories and protein to sustain their growth.

As I said above, millet doesn’t contain all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that cockatiels need to stay healthy. This means that a cockatiel fed a diet of millet will become malnourished and vitamin A deficient.

Overfeeding millet can lead to a cockatiel becoming dependent on this treat. If it starts gaining weight and you begin to reduce its millet consumption, the cockatiel may go on a hunger strikeOpens in a new tab..

Unfortunately, cockatiels that stop eating food rarely survive for longer than 24 hours.

Can Cockatiels Survive On Millet?

Pet cockatiels can’t survive on millet alone. Wild cockatiels that regularly eat millet from bird feeders and open fields don’t live exclusively on millet.

Wild cockatiels are less likely to become addicted to millet as they have more food sources. Also, wild cockatiels require more energy to fly around and survive, so they can burn off the extra fat content of millet.

Without intervention, a millet-addicted cockatiel can die from malnutrition. This is why veterinarians recommend giving your cockatiel a mix of pellets, seeds, nuts, fruit, and vegetables.

Is Millet Good For Cockatiels?

Is Millet Good For Cockatiels?

Millet is a treat for cockatielsOpens in a new tab., but it doesn’t contain all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need to grow and thrive. All seeds and grains are bad for cockatiels if it’s all they eat.

Because millet has a high fat and carb content, it may cause:

  • Obesity
  • Yeast infections
  • Millet addiction

Even still, millet is a great food to offer cockatiels in moderation.

Seeds and grains are essential for keeping a cockatiel’s diet balanced. It is high in protein, fiber, and natural fats, as long as your cockatiel doesn’t eat too much millet.

Millet NutritionIn 1 teaspoon (174 grams)
Calories207 kcal
Carbohydrates41 g
Fiber2.2 g
Protein6 g
Fat1.7 g
Sugars0.2 g
Sodium3.5 mg

Why Is Millet Good For Cockatiels?

The following minerals and nutrients can be found in large amounts in millet:

  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Protein
  • Calcium

Especially spray millet, also called finger millet provides a great treat for birds. It has an appealing texture and delicate taste and satisfies a cockatiel’s need to forage by harvesting his seed.

Also, many vets recommend millet for cockatiels due to:


Millet is high in fiber, making it good for your cockatiel’s digestion.

It contains two types of dietary fiber:

  • Soluble fiber: A prebiotic that helps the good bacteria in the gut.
  • Insoluble fiber: Adds bulk to stools, so constipationOpens in a new tab. is less likely.


Antioxidants, particularly phenolic compounds, are abundant in millet (catechins and ferulic acid). Each has been connected to decreased oxidative stress levels.

Skin Pharmacology and PhysiologyOpens in a new tab. report that ferulic acid is known to:

  • Protect the skin
  • Heal wounds faster
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory

Catechins are blind to heavy metals in the blood. This lessens the chance of metal poisoning, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Antioxidants give plants a reddish tinge. As a result, millet with deeper colors, such as proso millet, and foxtail millet, will have higher antioxidant levels.

Why Do Cockatiels Love Millet?

Cockatiels go wild for millet, even if they are picky about other foods. Cockatiels love this cereal grain because it meets their taste and preferences.

Here are the reasons why cockatiels like millet so much:


Cockatiels naturally want to forage and work for their food. Millet allows cockatiels to pick through the grains to get to the seed, ensuring that mealtime doubles as a source of enrichment.

With millet sprays, which have a protracted, thick stalk loaded with seeds, this is much more true. It resembles a wheat stalk closely and allows cockatiels to pull, tear, throw, and feed on the treat.


Millet is crunchy, abrasive, and layered. Since Cockatiels naturally feed on seeds, grains, and nuts, they prefer harder food that wears down their beaksOpens in a new tab..


With a sweet taste, millet has a moderate flavor similar to cornOpens in a new tab.. Cockatiels are known for their sweet tooth and enjoy subtle flavors that aren’t overwhelming.

Additionally, millet has natural fats and carbs, creating a rich but delicate taste that cockatiels enjoy.


Cockatiels see in color and can even pick up ultraviolet light hues that humans can’t see.

So they are entertained by vibrant colors and a wide range of shades. Although there are many different shades of millet, the most common variety has a vivid yellow hue.

Comfort food

Some cockatiels love to eat millet because, it’s tasty, fun to eat, brightly colored, and boosts energy levels.

Which Millet Is Best For Cockatiel?

There is three best millet apart from the rest millet:

Proso millet

Proso millet is bigger than the small millet. It has a glossy appearance and it is thinner than Foxtail millet.

The grains are spherical to oval in shape. There are longitudinal lines on the grain. It contains 12.5 mg of protein, 70.4 gm of carbohydrates, 5.2 gms of fiber, and 206 mg of phosphorous per 100 gm of grains.

Foxtail millet

Foxtail millet grains are yellowish and creamy in color. It is smaller than proso millet. It contains 12.3 gms of protein, 60.2 gms of carbohydrates, 4 gms of minerals, 6.7 gms of fiber, 290 mg of phosphorus, and 31 mg of calcium per 100 gms of grains.

Pearl millet

Pearl millet comes under major millet. It has three shapes: ovoid, globose, and hexagonal. It contains 11.8 gms of protein, 67 gms of carbohydrates, 2.3 gms of fiber, 240 mg of phosphorus, and 42 mg of calcium per 100 gms of grams.

How To Feed Spray Millet To Cockatiels?

How To Feed Spray Millet To Cockatiels?

Spray millet is something that cockatiel prefers besides all other millets. They like the taste and texture of this type of millet and really enjoy eating it.

You can hang the spray millet in your cockatiel’s cage so they can forage as they would do in the wild.

Another way to feed your cockatiel spray millet is to germinate it:

  • You should germinate it for no less than 24 hours.
  • Cover with clean water.
  • Change the water 4-5 times within 24 hours.
  • The seeds will sprout if the spray is kept damp but not soaked for a couple of days.
  • This process changes the fat-sugar-carbohydrate content of the stored dry seed, making it even healthier once the cockatiels get used to eating it soft.

Also, it is always important to buy a good quality millet spray as you do not want to buy anything which has been sprayed with toxic chemicals.

You can find cockatiel spray millet at any large pet store or specialty bird food store. But, also, spray millet is available online.

I personally use this spray millet for my cockatiel, and my cockatiel enjoys eating it. It is nutritious and delicious, and the all-natural millet is freshly harvested from the wild and does not contain any additives. You can check it on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

Do You Need A Spray Millet Holder To Feed Your Cockatiel?

In most cases, a spray millet holder is not necessary to feed your cockatiel spray millet but is often a very useful accessory.

A holder is great if you have more than one cockatiel and want them all to get their food without squabbling or fighting with each other for it.

On Amazon, you can purchase a spray millet holder at a reasonable price. Check the price hereOpens in a new tab..

You can use this type of spray millet holder for almost any type of millet. It is effective because it keeps fragments and debris from falling out of the cage, and also keeps millet clean, and makes it easy to feed.

4 Tips On How To Stop A Millet’s Addiction

Not every cockatiel will fall prey to millet addiction, but you can rebalance its diet if it happens.

These tips will encourage your cockatiel to eat other foods and stop hunger strikes:

Wean your cockatiel

The best approach is to gradually wean your cockatiel off the millet. Instead of removing it all at once, reduce the amount by 10% daily and replace it with healthier foods.

In the ensuing days or weeks, you can gradually increase the other foods while decreasing the millet.

Alternative treats

Consider offering a less addicting reward rather than replacing the millet with a blander seed. This can include nuts, fruits, or vegetables, particularly those with crunchy textures or sweeter flavors.

Red millet

Red millet contains larger grains, making it harder for cockatiels to eat as much or as quickly.

This is perfect for fulfilling your cockatiel’s need to forage while limiting its millet intake. Additionally, red millet is a healthier diet option because it has more antioxidants.

Smaller pieces

When giving millet sprays to your cockatiel, cut them into smaller pieces to ensure the cockatiel gets the enrichment it needs while limiting its intake.

A cockatiel can eat too much millet, and if this is allowed to continue, it can lead to death due to starvation or malnutrition. Limit your cockatiel’s millet intake to 1 teaspoon per day.

Cockatiel Enthusiast

My name is Bojan. I have been around Cockatiels for the past 7 years. I love writing about Cockatiels and helping people understand how these beautiful birds live, what they like, and how to provide them the best possible care.

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