Humans have been keeping parakeets as pets for thousands of years. These colourful birds have excellent eyesight and can live an average of 10 years in captivity. Larger birds of this species may live up to 25 years. In order to keep your parakeet healthy and happy, the Association of Avian Veterinarians recommends that you feed your bird both specially prepared store bought mixes and a mixture of fresh fruit, vegetable and proteins.
Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables play an important role in keeping your parakeet healthy. Fresh broccoli contains vitamins A, B, C, and calcium. Spinach and alfalfa sprouts are rich in vitamin A, E and K. Other nutrient rich choices are carrots, zucchini, asparagus and potatoes. Some parakeet owners may opt to supplement their pet's diet with baby food made from all natural ingredients that contain vegetables. These are convenient if you do not have any of these fresh vegetables on hand, but your parakeet may prefer the fresh varieties. Another important source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants comes from grapes, bananas, oranges, melons, peaches, cherries, blueberries and blackberries. A parakeet should eat approximately ½ to ¾ cup of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
Parakeets need to have protein in their diets. Although parakeets obtain some of their protein from seed mixtures purchased in the stores, they enjoy fresh sources of protein like tuna packed in water, or hard-boiled egg and turkey. Raw or cooked corn is another good source of protein. You also can allow your parakeet to try various cooked meat as long as it is thoroughly cooked. Some birds enjoy cottage cheese and peanuts, too.
Snacks and Treats
Just like people, your parakeet will take pleasure in getting occasional treats. Try baking a can of garbanzo beans until they are crunchy. These serve as a treat and a good source of protein. Try almonds or 1 tbsp of vanilla yoghurt. Parakeets also enjoy peanut butter smeared on a celery stick. The Budgiemania website has a comprehensive listing of homemade parakeet treats. Other foods that you can give your bird in moderation are pasta, rice or grains. Make sure these items contain whole grains, which have a better nutritional content.
There are definitely more foods that are safe for your parakeet than foods that are harmful or dangerous. You should note that the pits and seeds of the fruits listed above should not be fed to your parakeet. Make sure to clean the fruit of seeds and pits before giving it to your bird. Cherry and peach pits contain chemicals that can be toxic to your budgie. You should also steer clear of avocados. If you are unsure of whether or not it is safe to give your parakeet, it is best to steer clear of it.