What do Grey Parrots Eat – A Comprehensive Guide

The nutritional needs of birds are a subject of ongoing research. This is a result of both increased knowledge of the significance of nutrition and ongoing study into the requirements of various bird species. Birds require an appropriate ratio of carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water, just like all other species do.

what do Grey parrots eat

Different foods must be provided because different bird species frequently have particular dietary needs. For instance, compared to other large psittacines, the African grey parrot is more susceptible to calcium shortage if fed a diet high in seeds.

Should I be worried about the diet of my African grey?

Owners frequently believe they are giving their African greys a healthy diet when they are not. Not all pet shops, breeders, or online learning resources will offer the most recent recommendations for the nutrition of your African grey parrot. You may get the greatest dietary advice for your pet Grey from a certified avian doctor.

Similar to humans, birds may survive on subpar diets, but their general health may suffer. The quality of a bird’s nutrition and the kind of things it eats have a significant impact on its health. Instead of just ensuring their survival, the objective should be to assist them thrive. It is crucial to remember that while providing your African grey parrot with a balanced food is important, it is much more crucial that he/she EATS A BALANCED DIET!

What do wild African greys eat?

African grey parrots consume a range of seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and plant life in the wild. They particularly value the fruits of the native to their area African oil palm tree.

What do Grey Parrots Eat

African greys are susceptible to obesity as well as deficits in calcium and/or vitamin A. Providing a balanced diet and ensuring your parrot eats the right amounts of the foods available will help stop the onset of these diseases.

African greys are particularly susceptible to obesity and deficits in calcium and/or vitamin A.


Wild African grey parrots have year-round access to seeds, but as different plants go through various growing seasons, the kinds of seeds they eat shift over time. Commercial seed mixtures are frequently low in nutrition and heavy in fat when given to captive parrots.

If these combinations are the only source of food provided, African grey parrots may develop unwell and eventually pass away too soon. Even worse, birds will frequently pick through a big bowl of commercial seed mix and just eat one or two of their “preferred” kinds of seeds, thus reducing their intake of nutrients.

They frequently like sunflower seeds and peanuts, which are particularly heavy in fat and lacking in calcium and other minerals like vitamin A. They may be more vulnerable to malnutrition due to their selective appetite.

Only 20–40% of a balanced diet should consist of seeds. Additionally, no more than a few “tree type nuts” each day, such as almonds, walnuts, or Brazil nuts, should be given. Your bird will begin to consume other meals if you progressively feed fewer seeds while substituting healthier options.

Dietary Pellets

The majority of a bird’s dietary requirements are covered by commercially available pellet diets. For the therapy of specific diseases and for various life phases, several formulations are available. The market is flooded with reliable brands of pelleted food. Pellets are offered in a variety of flavors, colors, forms, and sizes to accommodate the preferences of various birds.

The best food for birds is pellets, which should make up about 75–80% of their diet. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and, if any, a tiny amount of seed should make up the rest of the diet.

The best food for birds is pellets, which should make up about 75–80% of their diet.
To get them used to correctly preparing food at a young age, hand-raised babies should be placed right away on a pelleted diet. It can take weeks or months to convert a seed-eating bird to a pelleted diet, and it can be challenging.

They probably don’t initially recognize the pellets as food. Never change a bird’s diet abruptly. Over a period of two to six weeks, birds should be gradually weaned off seeds while the pellets are consistently accessible in the main feeding bowl.

Offering 90% of the present seed and 10% new pellets is one way to make the change. Then, 10% more seed and pellets are added each day. Nearing the end of this transition, if your bird isn’t consistently eating the pellets, resume the process in approximately a month with a different pellet.

NEVER completely stop giving your bird seeds until making sure they are trying the pellets and eating some fruits and vegetables. To ensure that your bird maintains its weight throughout the transition, weigh it on a digital scale that weighs in grams at regular intervals. If you experience any issues during this transition or with your bird’s health, speak with your veterinarian.

Keep in mind that you trained your bird. Don’t follow your bird’s training.

Veggies and fruits

Your bird’s daily food should consist of between 20–25% vegetables, legumes, and greens. Celery and iceberg lettuce are examples of pale vegetables with a high water content that have virtually little nutritional value. According to reports, avocado may be poisonous, so never feed it to birds!

Vegetables that are orange, red, or yellow, including squash, peppers, carrots, and sweet potatoes, are the best options since they include vitamin A, a substance that is crucial for a bird’s immune system, kidneys, skin, and feathers. Fruits should make up no more than 10% of your bird’s daily diet because they are high in water and sugars.

Before serving, fruits and vegetables must be carefully washed to remove pesticides and bacteria. Cut them into manageable pieces based on the bird’s size. The skin does not have to be removed. Dish out fruits and vegetables separately. Reduce the amount you feed your bird or briefly stop feeding it if it seems to be developing a special taste for a certain food to encourage the ingestion of other foods.

Every day, offer your bird a small portion of a variety of foods, and don’t quit up if they are rejected once or twice. Before your bird accepts a new food, it can take numerous exposures.

Fresh, clean water must always be accessible. You can think about using filtered or bottled water depending on the caliber of your tap water.

What about food for people?

Generally speaking, your bird can consume very little amounts of any wholesome, nutritious food that you and your family consume. Utilize common sense while adhering to the aforementioned broad principles. A modest bit of lean cooked meat, fish, egg, or cheese is occasionally enjoyed by some birds.

Birds should only be given dairy products occasionally and in very small amounts since they cannot tolerate lactose. Avoid high-fat junk food (such French fries, pizza, and fatty meats), foods with a lot of salt (like chips and pretzels), chocolate, products with caffeine, and alcoholic beverages. Foods that have been fried, canned, or prepared with butter or oil should not be fed.

Will my bird’s dietary requirements alter throughout the course of its life?

Birds that are really young, stressed, damaged, laying eggs, or raising young may require specific nourishment. For birds with these kinds of specialized nutritional needs, there are specific pelleted meals available. In these cases, speak with your veterinarian.

What additional vitamins, minerals, or amino acids does my bird need?

A bird that gets 75–80% of its nutrition from pelleted food typically doesn’t need supplements. Pellets are designed to be fully nourishing. Throughout a bird’s life, certain vitamins or minerals may be more crucial at different stages (e.g., egg-laying birds may require calcium supplementation). Vegetable eating on a daily basis will help reduce the demand for dietary supplements.

Until their nutrition can be addressed, birds who are not yet eating pelleted meals may receive supplements. Supplements in powder form are frequently thought to be more stable. Since many of these supplements can deteriorate in water or encourage bacterial or yeast growth in the water dish or bottle, it is not advisable to provide these supplements with water.

They may be sprinkled directly into moist vegetables, but birds must ingest the entire moist food item in order to benefit from these vitamins. It is of little use to apply these powders to seeds or dried meals because they will eventually roll off the dried food or come off the seed.

Only certain medical situations or if your bird is eating only seeds, as advised by your veterinarian, should supplements be given. Once a bird has switched to a nutritionally complete pellet, they should be discontinued.

Does my bird require grit or gravel?

Grit or gravel are not necessary for African grey parrots. Grit facilitates the grinding and digestion of seeds in the gizzards of birds that swallow intact seeds (hull and kernel) (part of the stomach). Parrots hull the seed before eating it, but birds like pigeons and doves eat seeds whole. As a result, they don’t need grit or gravel. In fact, a lot of birds given grit will eat too much of it and end up with potentially fatal gastrointestinal blockages.

Sandpaper perches are frequently coated with grit to keep nails sharp. Additionally, birds may pick grit off of these perches, which could cause intestinal impactions. Because of this, even sandpaper perches ought to be avoided.

African grey parrots don’t require grit or gravel.

What recommendations should I keep in mind when feeding my African grey?

Always keep an eye on how much food each bird consumes each day.

dispense clean water every day.

Make pelleted food (75–80%) the foundation of your diet.

Daily fresh fruit and vegetable offerings should make up no more than 20–40% of the diet. No more than 10% of the daily diet should consist of fruits.

Never change a bird’s diet abruptly.

With soap and hot water, wash all food and water dishes every day. Before using them again, completely dry them.

Which vegetables are safe for African greys to eat?

The majority of salads and veggies are suitable for grays. Onions, mushrooms, and garlic are avoided by some service providers, while they are used safely by others. Their usage is debatable.

You can feed celery, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, cauliflower, corn, kale, pumpkin, potatoes, collard greens, peas, carrots, cabbage, mustard greens, chillies, yams, and plantains.

Leaves from tomatoes and potatoes are inappropriate. Another debate topic is acorns, yet my aviary birds like them.

Which fruits are edible to African greys?

Any fruit that is on hand is acceptable. Fruits and vegetables include bananas, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, blackberries, cherries, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, oranges, plums, pomegranates, pawpaws, passion fruits, raspberries, peaches, banana peel, pears, raisins, dates, apples, papaya, melon, and apricots are also common. My greyhounds seem to favor tropical fruits than our own.

Fruit from an unknown source would be washed by me.

I should mention that according to current thinking, fruit grown for commercial purposes has too much sugar. Fruit, on the other hand, is loved by grey parrots. Fruit made of palm oil is their natural wild meal. Other than as a special treat, that would be too expensive for confined birds.

Which flowers are edible to African greys?

Most flowers are suitable because greys adore them. Those of us who prepare salads for our greyhounds will include edible garnishes like nasturtium, roses, and pansies. My flock loves roses, marigolds, and sunflowers the most, all of which are edible.

Shamrock, holly, poinsettia, datura, laburnum, ivy, mistletoe, daffodils, and lilies are just a few of the deadly flowers. Generally speaking, a well-fed, active Grey won’t touch toxic plants. Although I would try to keep them out of the house.

Outside-collected produce

Some flock keepers grow weeds for their flocks. a dandelion, for instance. From the blossom to the roots, the dandelion is a significant source of food.

Breeding hens enjoy eating chickweed. Additionally, you can feed fir cones, branches, milk thistle and related plants, hawthorn berries, cotoneaster berries, dock leaves, and other plants.

Items that you can plant in pots outside the back door or on the balcony, such as wheat grass, lucerne, alfalfa, or parsley, are also a great addition to a Grey’s diet.

In case of infection, it is advisable to wash produce gathered outside in a moderate disinfectant.

What kinds of nuts may African grays eat?

African greyhounds enjoy nuts. Every kind, whether shelled or open. In addition to shelled peanuts and pistachios, they can eat cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, macadamias, pecans, and hazelnuts.

Never use more than a couple per day for treats or training purposes; use them sparingly.

The quantity of nuts you offer will vary depending on the person and her level of exercise. Compared to a caged bird that doesn’t move much, a lively Grey that is flying around the house or aviary and playing a lot can eat more nuts.

In training, you can request extra repetitions for any behavior by breaking the nut into smaller pieces.

A typical training session should last up to five minutes, with three or four slivers of almonds as the incentive. Pine nuts make excellent training rewards.

While empty coconut shells are great foraging objects, whole coconuts are typically too tough for a grey’s beak.

Pellets and parrots

Many people believe that pellets, which are a prepared diet, are preferable than seeds.

Harrisons organic pellets are suitable for greys, and Pretty Bird makes a pellet specifically for African greys.

My greys won’t eat Pretty Bird, despite the fact that Monty, a colleague’s grey, thrives on them.

Generally speaking, a seed eater can be trained to eat pellets, but it is much simpler to wean a baby parrot onto pellets.

Which seeds are edible to parrots?

Safflower, sunflower, linseed, and a variety of other seeds are all edible to parrots. But because they are deficient in micronutrients, seeds shouldn’t make up a large portion of a meal.

Can African greys eat animal protein and meat?

It is debatable whether or not to provide animal protein to parrots.

It is believed that wild parrots consume grubs and insects by biting into bark and fruits. When my greys were young, I used to serve them roasted chicken drumsticks with the meat removed, but when they got older, they no longer expressed an interest.

I questioned retired senior UK vet Alan Jones, who responded as follows:

“When it comes to greys, the answer is unquestionably that they are omnivorous. Most parrots are referred to as “facultative omnivores” in America, which refers to their propensity to consume whatever is in season. African grey parrots and other parrots will unquestionably consume cooked eggs, cooked chicken and fish, and cheese in captivity. When feeding chicks, parrots in the wild will especially eat carrion, fish, grubs, and caterpillars “. Obtaining quote in December 2020.

For more than twenty years, I have listened to Alan’s advise in person and from his books and lectures. I still do.

Animal protein, in the opinion of many caregivers, should never be given. You must decide what to do. Eggs are fed by some of us. I do occasionally give the greys a hard-boiled egg or a vegetarian omelette that I share. Birdy bread occasionally contains eggs.

Soaking seeds and sprouting them

Sprouts, seeds, or grains are a beneficial supplement to a Grey’s diet. Supporters of seeds and pellets concur that sprouts are advantageous to all species of parrot.

Sunflower seeds, which are disliked for having too much fat, lose this when they are sprouted and nevertheless contain useful enzymes.

It’s easy to sprout grains or seeds:

  1. The seeds are soaked for 24 hours. After rinsing, put the sprouts in one of the many sprouters on the market. A Kilner jar with a punctured lid works just as well for sprouting.
  2. Rinse twice daily, letting the sprouter drain, and keep the jar tilted.
  3. Use it once the sprouts have a small tail and store it somewhere warm out of direct sunshine. This takes two days or longer.
  4. Keep the sprouts thoroughly rinsed and clean because they can mold; never use them if there is an odor.

To add to your own salads, you can also sprout seeds like radishes, broccoli, or beans.

Water for African grey parrots

Since clean water is always necessary, it should be changed at least twice daily. It’s up to you whether you like spring water or tap water.

A few drops of apple cider vinegar have reportedly assisted older birds with arthritis, according to anecdotal evidence from owners.

How much food should an African grey receive?

60% fresh food and 40% seeds and pellets make up my diet. This is particularly abundant in nuts for the active macaws.

I am aware that a lot of current thought says 10% of the mixture should be seeds on top of 60% pellets.

You should feed your bird about 10% of its body weight each day in terms of quantity.

Therefore, 45 grams of food would be given to a bird weighing 450 grams.

How frequently must I feed my African greyhound?

Parrots kept as pets are often fed twice or three times daily. Depending on your lifestyle, you can decide how to schedule your bird’s meals.

I support eating two meals a day. After 30 minutes, the breakfast bowl should be removed and all food should be eaten that day. Your Grey will be ready for dinner after a long day.

Your bird will be eager for his training sessions if you stick to this routine. Additionally, he’ll eat well and only when it’s still fresh.

Instead of putting food in the cage—which you should be doing anyway—try putting branches and chewable toys.

Intolerance to lactose

A parrot will experience watery diarrhea if it consumes foods like ice cream or rich cheese that contain an excessive amount of lactose.

In the rainforest, neither parrots nor milk trees are found. They have not evolved to be able to digest lactose. However, a lot of parrots seem to adore yoghurt or the occasional tiny bit of cheese. For complete protection, the solution would be to stay away from lactose-containing items.

African grey parrot supplements contain calcium and vitamins.

Compared to other species, greys are more susceptible to calcium shortage, which can result in convulsions, possible feather plucking, and poor health.

Rather than recommending supplements, my veterinarian promotes calcium-rich foods like kale, watergrass, cress, almonds, and carrots.

Supplements shouldn’t be supplied if pellets make up the majority of the diet. You should seek guidance from your avian veterinarian if you are feeling nervous. Listed here is a veterinarian.

Why does my African greyhound vomit food?

It’s either a sexually active response from a parrot who wants to mate with you or because he or she wants to feed you as their fledgling. Change the subject, ignore the behavior, and never punish acceptable behavior.

Preparing food for birds

Although not necessary, it is a lot of fun. Whether or not they are skilled chefs, the majority of parrot owners I know do it.

African-inspired cuisine

Slice and mash

It has been common practice to prepare chop and freeze it for use as parrot food. Chop is a concept where you prepare a variety of healthful grains, add veggies, fruit, nuts, herbs, and spices, and then freeze enough in individual sachets to last for a few weeks or even months.

There are many chop recipes; they resemble birdie bread. Here’s a quick one. At first, they appear fussy, but with experience, they become simple and a lot of fun.

Frozen bean and veggie mixture

  • 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • ginger: one teaspoon or one centimeter of minced root
  • Powdered chili: 1 teaspoon
  • 250–400 grams per bean in a variety of cooked beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Brown beans
  • The mung bean

You can use canned, drained beans if you don’t have time to soak and cook beans.


Use 500–1 kg of the seasonal produce. Include as much green leafy vegetables, cooked sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots as you can.


Put a tablespoon of oil and the mustard seeds in a pan. Then, add the remaining spices and stir them together gently for a few minutes.

Beans and fresh veggies should be added. Don’t boil the mixture—just warm it through. Add cinnamon, poppy, or sesame seeds on top. After cooling, split it into meals and freeze.

The amount of chop produced by this recipe is about 2.3 kg. For a solitary bird, use smaller quantities. The macaws, goffins, and greys in my flock all eat from this dish.

Animal Bread

Every parrot cook has a favorite, and this is mine. It is too rich and calorie-dense to be consumed every day. So only give it treats sometimes. If you avoid animal products, don’t feed it because it also contains eggs.

  • 250 grams of organic spelt, kamut, or rye flour
  • 4 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 4 teaspoons of coconut sugar
  • 200 ml of apple sauce
  • Eggs: 3
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Poppy seeds or flakes of almonds as a garnish

After thoroughly blending the flour, oil, and sugar, I add the eggs, apple sauce, and cinnamon. I bake for 35 minutes at 180 C in a bread pan.

Although this dish is not the best for birds, it does have the benefit of being tasty for humans as well. If you’re feeling daring, you may also add 150 grams of shredded beetroot to the mixture.

Int’l mash

You soak seeds and legumes for 12–24 hours to allow them to sprout before making a mash. Cook those next with a variety of grains. Add cooked or raw, finely chopped fruit and vegetables next, and then divide into serving-size containers and freeze.

You might garnish a part that hasn’t been frozen with spirulina, sesame seeds, or flaxseed oil.

  • 100 grams of grains, boiled (brown rice or buckwheat)
  • quinoa cooked in 100 grams
  • 100 grams of beans, cooked
  • Sweet potatoes that have been lightly boiled or organic potatoes
  • 1.5 kg of fresh produce

Whatever is in season, fresh veggies include carrots, cabbage, broccoli, celery, spinach, pumpkin, courgettes, green peppers, red peppers, and corn cobs.

To prevent the macaws from picking out their favorites and dumping the remainder on the aviary floor, I no longer chop fresh veggies by hand but rather use a blender.

I frequently use canned sweet corn and frozen peas when fresh vegetables are scarce. Different herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, turmeric, star anise, and coriander, are used in each blend.

Bird won’t stop asking to share your food

You have likely heard several times that eating fried foods, crisps, chips, pizza, tea, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and avocados is not permitted and may even be harmful to birds.

You therefore have two options: first, keep your bird in its cage whenever people are eating.

It’s challenging because my pet birds enjoy interacting with guests who might be consuming inappropriate foods and beverages.

Second, serve and consume only nutritious dishes. This is simpler than it initially appears because we eat primarily vegetarian food. And beneficial to our health because I get indigestion from fried foods, fats, and too much sugar.

When Artha was a young bird, she had a tendency of flying up to the family tea table and leaving while holding a sizable slice of cake. She was discovered and given a few crumbs.


It’s crucial to remember that dietary trends and fashions vary. A parrot manual I used twenty years ago suggested coffee and a roll for the grey’s breakfast.

Veterinarians, scientists, experts, breeders, zoo owners, and hobbyists nowadays do not always agree on the ideal food for parrots. Therefore, the responsible caregiver of a companion grey must exercise her own judgment.

Have we come to any conclusions about the optimal nutrition for African greys in light of this? Sadly, the topic shifts back to how long a piece of string is.

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