What Can Cockatiels Eat? (And What Cannot)

If you are a cockatiel owner, one of the most important things you need to know is what can cockatiels eat and what cannot. Sure there is a classic diet of seeds, but can there be more to it? In this article, we will talk about this.

What Can Cockatiels Eat? (And What Cannot)

Cockatiels can eat a large variety of fresh fruits, pellets, seeds, and vegetables. They can also eat some food that humans eat, like eggs, chicken, and fish. Food to avoid for cockatiels includes chocolate, avocado, fruits pits, apple seeds, and also food that are high in fat, sugars, and sodium.

Cockatiels are not limited to pellets and seeds. Cockatiels are, after all, tropical birds. Moreover, their diet shows that just like humans need a diet with a variety of food to keep them healthy and give them essential vitamins, so cockatiels can and need to eat a complete and varied diet. Of course, there is a list of acceptable and unacceptable food for a cockatiel to eat. So let’s take a closer look at each food separately.

Foods Appropriate For Cockatiels To Eat

Cockatiels can enjoy many foods that humans eat, even some that you probably never thought of before.

1. Pellets

Pellets are the main staple in a cockatiel’s diet. Get a high-quality pellet from a pet store or your vet. Grocery varieties have artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives that aren’t healthy for your cockatiel.

2. Protein

While protein can be obtained from a mixture of cockatiel seeds, another source of protein that is good for cockatiels is hard-boiled eggs, tuna in water, and other cooked meats like chicken. Make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked before serving it to your cockatiel. Also, raw or cooked cornOpens in a new tab. is another good source of protein. If you want to add protein to your cockatiel in these ways, keep in mind that fresh protein should be limited to cockatiels of about one finger every two weeks.

Remember that if your cockatiel were still in the wild, they would still eat protein-rich foods like bugs and worms. So giving it small amounts of protein along with a seeds diet will make up for it.

3. Bread

Whole grain can be broken up into small pieces and fed to your cockatiel. Try to stick to plain whole-grain bread the most, as sweet bread may contain harmful ingredients to cockatiels. Some fun bread variations can be dried rolls or a twice-baked bread.

4. Cuttlebone

Cuttlebones are flat oval-shaped discs that you see at the pet store in the bird section. Like its name, it’s the internal skeleton of a cephalopod called the cuttlefish. Not only can it keep your cockatiel’s beak and claws trimmed, but it’s also a good source of calcium and other mineralsOpens in a new tab.. Just hang it in their cage and let them gnaw off.

Fruits And Their Benefits For Cockatiels

Fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Here is a list of fruits that cockatiels can eat:

  • BananasOpens in a new tab.
  • Grapes
  • OrangesOpens in a new tab.
  • Apples- Apple seeds can be harmful to your cockatiel, so be sure to remove the seeds before offering apples to your cockatiel.
  • Pineapple
  • Coconut
  • Mango
  • Apricots – Apricots and mangos are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A.
  • BlueberriesOpens in a new tab.
  • Cherries
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries- The seeds in strawberries are safe for cockatiels to eat, so there is no need to remove them.
  • Melons

Remember that you should most often feed your cockatiel with fresh fruit. Sometimes, added colors in packaged or dried fruits can be bad for your cockatiel.

Great Vegetables That Cockatiels Can Eat

The primary diet of cockatiels should consist of seeds or grain. But the typical store-bought seed diet doesn’t contain all the necessary vitamins for your cockatiel. So that’s why vegetables are an essential part of your cockatiel’s diet.

Furthermore, the fresh vegetables give your cockatiel all the essential vitamins like A, B, C, and calcium. For example, spinach and alfalfa sprouts are high in vitamins A, E, and K. Leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuceOpens in a new tab., kaleOpens in a new tab., sprouted seeds, and dandelion leaves contain vitamins K and C, fiber, calcium, and iron. But make sure to rinse the vegetables well before giving them to your cockatiel to eat.

Here is a list of vegetables that your cockatiels can eat:

  • Potatoes
  • CarrotsOpens in a new tab.
  • Corn
  • Celery
  • Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber
  • Spinach
  • BroccoliOpens in a new tab.
  • Cooked beans are a great source of protein, and the high amount of fiber will facilitate the work of your cockatiel’s digestive system. But make sure that the beans are cooked, as raw beans are toxic to cockatiels.

Just like with fruit, make sure you always feed your cockatiel with fresh vegetables. However, it’s recommended that a cockatiel can eat no more than 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh vegetables and fruits every day.

Snacks And Treats For Cockatiels To Eat

Like all other pets, cockatiels like to get occasional treats. So here are some different ways that you can treat your cockatiels:

1. Pasta

Cockatiels enjoy eating pasta, whether raw or cooked. This is because they’re rich in carbohydrates, which increase the cockatiel’s energy levels. Try sometimes to mix the pasta with your cockatiel’s favorite vegetables. If your cockatiel likes crunchy, you can give it raw macaroni filled with nut butter. However, make sure that the pasta cools down before serving it to your cockatiel.

2. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is an excellent treat for cockatiels and another excellent protein source. Smear some peanut butter on a celery stick and offer it to your cockatiel.

3. Honey

Honey is a sweet treat that many cockatiels will like. However, keep in mind that honey contains many calories, so it’s recommended to give it in moderation or store it for special occasions.

4. Millet

MilletOpens in a new tab. is a small seed grass. They have long been a staple of many birds and animals. So, we recommend spraying millet ( it has a form of cob corn) or white proso millet, which is a favorite for cockatiels. However, spray millet can cause a mess if it’s clipped inside the cage. One way to avoid this is by attaching it to the top of the cage.

5. Nuts

Nuts are rich in nutrients that your cockatiel may isn’t getting anywhere. Cockatiels love nuts. Some of the nuts that cockatiels eat are:

  • AlmondsOpens in a new tab.
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios

Also, before you feed your cockatiel with nuts, make sure that they are chopped beforehand because they have a narrow throat and all of these nuts have a size such as their head, so it’s tough to swallow whole. But first, be sure to remove the shells as well, as your cockatiel will not bother with them.

Most Toxic Foods For Cockatiels To Not Eat

Here is a list of the most toxic foods for cockatiels that cannot eat

1. Chocolate

Chocolate is dangerous for cockatiels to eat. It contains caffeine theobromine which can cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate, and even death in cockatiels if ingested in a toxic dose. However, the bitter and darker chocolate is, the more harmful it’s to your cockatiel.

2. Onion and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain thiosulphate, which is toxic to cockatiels. As a result, eating these foods can cause hemolytic anemia. Red blood cells burst in the cockatiel’s body or cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

3. Avocado

Avocados contain persin( a fungicidal toxin) that is very toxic for cockatiels. The persin may cause respiratory difficulty, heart damage, and even death.

4. Fruit Pits and Apple Seeds

As we have already said, although the apple is safe for cockatiels, the seeds contain cyanide and should permanently be removed when you want to offer an apple to your cockatiel. But, cyanide is also found in cherry pits, apricot pits, plum pits, etc.

5. Comfrey

Comfrey is a plant that you can recognize by its small purple bell-like flowers. Unfortunately, this plant is harmful to cockatiels and can cause liver damage.

6. Foods High In Fat, Sodium, and Sugar

Although the table with these concentrates isn’t toxic, it can still cause serious health issues for cockatiels. Too much salt can upset a cockatiel’s electrolyte and fluid balance, leading to dehydration, kidney failure, and death. So, for example, if you are planning to roast a carrot or a potato in the oven, roast it without spices.

7. Certain Plants

Peppers, potatoes, and eggplants are safe for cockatiels to eat, but the plants themselves are toxic. The leaves of these plants contain oxalate crystals that can cause kidney issues.

Not-Toxic Foods For Cockatiels That You Should Avoid

The foods below aren’t toxic to a cockatiel but should still be avoided or fed in minimal amounts.

1. Dairy

Cockatiels and all other birds lack the enzyme responsible for lactose fragmentation. Although dairy isn’t considered toxic, including a lot of dairy in a cockatiel’s diet can cause diarrhea. Some dairy products contain little or no lactose, such as lean curd cheeseOpens in a new tab.. However, even with this food, you should feed your cockatiel in small quantities and occasionally.

2. Mushrooms

Almost all mushrooms that people can eat are also considered safe for cockatiels. But don’t feed your cockatiel with false morel mushrooms. Therefore cooking can make these mushrooms less toxic but not wholly relieve their risk of death.

3. Peanuts

Avoid moldy peanuts, as a toxin-producing fungus can contaminate them.

4. Grit

Cockatiels can consume high amounts of grits when they are not feeling well, which puts them at risk for intestinal blockage.

5. Crackers

Although some crackers contain grain, which is 90% of the cockatiel’s diet, they don’t offer any nutrients for cockatiels. But, there are plenty of other things that you can give to your cockatiel.

6. Tomatoes

TomatoesOpens in a new tab. aren’t highly recommended for your cockatiel because they contain acidic. However, there are options such as dried tomatoes or a spaghetti sauce because acid is removed when cooking tomatoes.

Tips For Feeding Your Cockatiel

Cockatiels have different food preferencesOpens in a new tab., so try experimenting with other foods to see what they like, don’t like, and which are their favorite foods. Also, don’t forget to give your cockatiel biteOpens in a new tab.-sized pieces of food. If you give them a whole head of broccoli or a piece of apple, for example, it will be difficult for them to break it apart and eat it.

So it’s best to chop up their food into pieces to eat more efficiently. One way to find out what types of food your cockatiel likes most is to give it a bowl filled with different foods. Throw away the uneaten fruit to don’t deteriorate in the cage at the end of the day. If they eat certain pieces and ignore others, give them what they want.

Your cockatiel may get bored of getting the same meal every day, so mix the meal with fruit and hang it in their cage to make it more exciting. If you are feeding your cockatiel with some cooked food, wait for it to cool first before serving it to your cockatiel.

To prevent your cockatiel from snacking on something that they probably shouldn’t, then you need to keep it away from your plate.

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.

Recent Posts