Budgies, often referred to as parakeets, are one of the world’s smallest true parrots. Native to Australia, these adorable seed and grain-eating birds were imported to Europe in the 1800s and then to North America over a hundred years ago, quickly becoming a favorite avian pet. Although some might look at budgies’ small beaks and think an all-seed or pellet diet should fulfill their nutritional needs, there are plenty of vegetables budgies can and should eat.
Depending too heavily on seeds can add too much fat to your budgie’s plate, leading to possible health problems. While manufacturers design bird pellets to give your feathered friend everything they need nutritionally, adding vegetables budgies can eat nicely rounds out their eating experience.
9 Vegetables Budgies Can Eat
That said, not all vegetables are good for budgies or pet birds in general, so having a list of safe produce they can consume is essential. Keep reading to discover some of the safe vegetables you can start offering your budgie and information about many of the nutrients they provide.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable with a high water content, so feeding this plant to your budgie can help them stay hydrated. The veggie is also a good source of vitamin C, which supports the immune system, and the vitamin K in cabbage helps with blood clotting and keeping your bird’s bones healthy. Cabbage also provides vitamin A and carotenoids for eye and skin support.
Just like in humans, fiber is important for the digestive health of budgies and other pet birds. Cabbage has a high amount of this material, making it one of the best vegetables budgies can not only eat but thrive on.
Feeding your bright-colored friend a stem vegetable like asparagus will supply them with some of the same nutrients as cabbage — vitamins C, vitamin K, and fiber — while offering other elements to their diet as well. Asparagus is rich in vitamin E, supporting your budgie’s immunity and potassium to help regulate their blood pressure. The vegetable also offers folate, a B vitamin that assists development and cell growth.
Consider cooking the asparagus before offering it to your budgie, making the food easier to eat and digest.
Potassium is an essential mineral for birds, helping balance their body fluids and supporting nerve and muscle functions. Parsnips contain this important element, making it a great vegetable addition to your budgie’s diet. This nutrient-rich root vegetable also contains vitamins C and K, fiber, and folate.
Like asparagus, steaming or boiling your parsnips before offering them to your budgie will make it easier for them to eat and for their bodies to process.
4. Swiss chard
The Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable your budgie can eat and enjoy. You can serve the edible plant to your fine feathered friend either cooked or raw.
If you decide on the latter, chop the Swiss chard into tiny pieces to make it easier to consume. Offering this vegetable to your budgie will supply them with a good amount of fiber and vitamins A, C, and K.
Additional nutrients packed into Swiss chard include iron, essential for blood health, and calcium, which will support your budgie’s muscle function and bone health.
Another root vegetable beneficial for budgies to eat is carrots. Since you can feed them raw to your avian pet, they take very little prep time. All you have to do is finely chop or grate them for your bird before offering — no cooking required.
Carrots are another veggie that will give your budgie vitamin A and vitamin K while also supplying necessary fiber and potassium. The one additional element carrots have is beta-carotene. Your budgie’s body will convert that element into vitamin A as needed.
6. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are small cabbages that can pack a big nutritional punch for your budgie. Although Brussels sprouts take a bit more preparation, the benefit to your bird is worth the trouble. Before adding them to your budgie’s dish, you’ll want to steam or blanch the vegetable and chop it into bite-sized bits.
Like many other vegetables, this cruciferous vegetable will give your bird important vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. On top of that, Brussels sprouts offer folate, calcium, and antioxidants, the last of which helps protect your bird’s cells from damage.
The Zucchini is just one of the many vegetables budgies can eat that belong to the squash family. Other squashes safe for your pet include butternut squash, courgettes, and pumpkin. You can offer zucchini raw and chopped or cooked if your budgie prefers. The vegetable will supply water, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A and C to your parrot.
Butternut squash and pumpkins give budgies the additional benefit of carotenoids, while courgettes add antioxidants to the table.
Giving cooked or raw spinach to your budgie can provide them with much the same benefits as humans. The dark green vegetable is full of antioxidants, fiber, calcium, and iron — all essential to keeping a budgie healthy and strong. Spinach also offers vitamins A, C, and K, making the leafy green one of the most nutrient-packed vegetables on this list.
Peas belong to the legume family and are not only safe to feed your budgie, but they’re also a must. Green beans and cooked lentils also fall into the legume category and can make a great addition to your pet bird’s diet.
Before feeding peas to your budgie, consider steaming or blanching them until they’re soft. While you can give them to your bird whole, mashing them a bit might assist in the eating process.
Peas offer protein, which is essential for your little parrot’s overall health, growth, and development. The vegetable also contains fiber, antioxidants, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamins C and K.
What Vegetables to Keep Away
While there are many different foods a budgies can eat, there are some vegetables that your pet must avoid. Do not feed the following to your parrot.
- raw potatoes
- or the leaves and stems of tomato plants
If you’re unsure whether a vegetable is safe, check with an avian vet before feeding it to your budgie — just to be safe.
Bringing a budgie into your home will give your family an intelligent, beautiful, and playful pet to enjoy, so you want to stay a part of your family as long as possible. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, filling your pet bird’s diet with at least 60% pellets, up to 25% vegetables and fruits, and filling the rest with high-quality seeds will supply a well-rounded diet with everything your budgie needs.
Start slowly when introducing a new vegetable to see how your budgie reacts to the offering. Keep a sharp eye out for any negative reactions, and if you have any concerns or questions, consult a qualified avian vet for help. With a bit of trial and error and using this list as a jumping point for your budgie’s diet, you can give your pet the best chance at a long and healthy life.