As a parakeet owner, you know your beloved bird needs to eat a varied diet of pellets, fruits, and vegetables. However, fruits and veggies should account for no more than 20—25% of your companion bird’s daily diet. You might wonder what type of fresh vegetables your parakeet might like, and cucumbers might be at the top of your “to try” list, but are cucumbers even safe for your bird to eat?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t black and white. While it is okay to occasionally offer cucumbers to your parakeet, there are some safety concerns you should know about.
Keep reading to learn more.
Are Cucumbers Healthy for Parakeets?
Cucumbers are a very healthy veggie. They contain many vitamins your bird needs, such as vitamins A, C, and K. Cucumbers also contain minerals like potassium and magnesium. This powerhouse veggie also contains silicic acid, which is said to help maintain the health of bird feathers.
Are There Risks With Feeding Cucumbers to My Parakeet?
There are three main concerns when offering cucumbers to your pet: the seeds, the skin, and the water content.
While parakeets do eat seeds naturally in the wild, cucumber seeds are not one of the safe ones they can eat. This is because cucumber seeds contain amygdalin, a naturally occurring chemical compound in the seeds of many fruits and vegetables like apricots, apples, and peaches. You can still offer your parakeet cucumbers, but you need to remove the seeds before serving it.
Cucumber skin contains many vitamins, but it isn’t the easiest for birds to break through. Some might even find the skin hard to digest. Another concern with the skin is what may have been sprayed onto it as it was growing. If you grow your own veggies, you won’t need to worry about that. But if you buy them from the store, you don’t know what pesticides the farmer may use on his crops.
Cucumbers are very rich in water, which, on paper, might sound like a good thing. We need water to live, so it must be okay to feed a water-laden veggie to your pet, right? The problem with offering too much cucumber is that it can make your bird have runny droppings. If these runny poops last too long, they can cause dehydration.
How Can I Feed My Parakeet Cucumbers?
Now that you know it’s safe to offer your parakeet cucumbers once in a while, you might be wondering how you should feed it.
1. Buy Organic
If you don’t grow your own vegetables, we recommend buying organic options at the supermarket whenever possible. Pesticides are harmful to birds and can also cause acute and chronic side effects in humans, like blisters, rashes, congenital disabilities, and cancer. Organic veggies are grown without pesticides, so they should be safe for you and your pet.
2. Wash Them Thoroughly
As with all vegetables, you must wash them thoroughly before offering them to your parakeet. Careful washing and rinsing will remove any dirt or potentially infectious agents that may be present on your cucumber.
3. Peel the Skin
Though the skin isn’t inherently harmful to your parakeet, it’s best to peel your cucumbers to prevent any potential digestive issues. Use a potato or vegetable peeler to remove the thin layer of skin to reveal the cucumber’s flesh.
4. Remove the Seeds
Removing the seeds is a critical step you mustn’t forget to take before offering cucumbers to your parakeet. Cut the vegetable in half vertically to reveal its seeds.
5. Choose How to Serve It
There are three ways you can serve the veggie. First, try chopping it into small pieces and putting it into your bird’s dish so they can inspect and eat it on their own time. The second way to offer a veggie to your parakeet is by hand feeding it to them. This method works best if you and your bird are quite bonded and if it trusts you a lot. Finally, if your parakeet isn’t fond of these methods, you can use a food clip to clip the veggie onto the cage to give it the option of nibbling at it as if it’s a wheel.
6. Introduce Slowly
As with any new vegetable, you’ll want to introduce cucumbers slowly if your bird is not used to them. If you’re clipping the veggie to your bird’s cage and they seem afraid of it, remove it immediately and try again later.
7. Remove Any Leftovers
Removing leftovers from your bird’s cage is a good habit, regardless of what fruit or vegetable you’re serving. Unfortunately, bacteria can grow on food left in the open air for too long, making your pet sick.
Cucumbers are a vitamin-rich and tasty vegetable you can occasionally offer your parakeet. Be sure to remove the seeds and the skin before serving it to prevent any potential issues. If it doesn’t take to cucumbers immediately, you can try again another day but don’t force the issue.
Featured Image Credit: Kolotygin Igor, Shutterstock