Can I feed cooked or raw human food to my pet bird?

A hand feeding a banana to a parrot

Not only do most birds like dining with their human companions, but the fresh foods humans eat provide an unrivaled array of nutritional advantages and enrichment alternatives when compared to commercial bird pellets and seed diets. When birds have a variety of things to pick from during a meal, they are ecstatic.

Fresh leafy greens, root vegetables, and organic fruits are all examples of high-quality whole foods that you may give your birds to help them grow and maintain excellent health. However, there are a few rules to keep in mind.

Check for Toxicity

Many human meals are good for pet birds when cooked properly, as they are for many other creatures. Fresh items may be added to your bird's diet safely and successfully. Some typical "human foods" are poisonous to pet birds and should never be given to them, even as a rare treat.


Be sure to identify these toxic foods so that you never serve them to your feathered friend:

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic, onions
  • Castor beans, castor oil
  • Chokecherry, rhubarb
  • Apple seeds, and pits and seeds of most fruits
  • Salty or sugary foods
  • Processed foods

Slow Introductions

Some pet birds, especially those that have been raised on mostly seed and pellet diets, may be resistant to fresh meals at first. To avoid weight loss and consequent sickness, provide your bird the normal diet as well as introducing new items.

Don't be disheartened if your bird refuses to eat new meals at first. Pretend to try a tiny quantity of food in front of your bird (but don't eat it because bird food isn't FDA certified and humans have reported harmful reactions), and exclaim how delicious it is. It will only be a matter of time until your bird recognizes how much you appreciate what you're eating and wants to sample a taste.

Raw Versus Cooked Food

Always provide raw fruits and veggies to a bird while feeding them. The digestive tract of a bird is most adapted to ingesting fresh items in their original condition, as they are in the diet of wild birds.

Some foods are better for your bird when they are prepared. Cooking increases the bioavailability of nutrients by allowing the body to absorb vitamins and minerals more easily. For example, slightly cooking a sweet potato increases its nutritional value.


Keep in mind that some dishes must be prepared before being served. For example, dry beans should never be served uncooked. They must be soaked overnight, then drained and washed in cold water before boiling for around 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue to cook the beans until they are tender. Toxins found in raw beans will be eliminated as a result of this process. Quinoa and other ancient grains, for example, should be cooked and chilled before consumption. Before serving any bird, bring items to room temperature.

If you do decide to give your bird a cooked item, such as eggs or pasta, make sure to cook it in non-stick cookware since non-stick cookware emits chemicals that are equally poisonous to birds. Because stainless steel does not contaminate food, it is the recommended cooking surface.

Add Herbs and Seasonings

Although a pinch of crushed pepper on a side dish of any bird's meal is always welcome, salt can be hazardous. While it's normally preferable to leave the flavor to nature, some birds prefer to season with fresh herbs like cilantro and basil. A little fresh parsley in their diet makes other birds go crazy. And a touch of taste may just pique their attention at supper when they were previously uninterested in a dull food.

You should be able to safely add a cornucopia of fresh items into your bird's diet if you follow these guidelines. The variety of nutrients can benefit your bird, and eating meals with your pet may be a terrific way to bond.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.