6 Best Treats to Keep Your Pet Bird Satisfied

The best treats for pet birds include nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, cooked foods, and premade treats.

Feb 15, 2024By Tanya Taylor
best treats for pet birds

Giving treats to pet birds is one of the best ways to bond with them and teach them new tricks. They’re also a fantastic way to enrich a bird's environment and provide essential vitamins and minerals to their diet. That said, treats should only make up a tiny part of their meals, and you must feed them in moderation. So, if you want to know what food avians love the most, take a look at my list of the best treats for pet birds.

1 - Nuts

parrot bird colorful animal nature
Photo Credit: Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash

Nuts are a fantastic way to add protein, vitamins and minerals to a bird's diet, and most avians love them. Feeding birds shelled nuts is also the perfect way to enrich their environment because cracking them open keeps them entertained. That said, not all birds can crack open nut shells. You should test your bird with a few and see which ones they can open and shell the ones they can't before feeding them. You must also watch out for hidden mold in nutshells, especially peanuts because mold can make birds ill if they eat it.

Choosing the right nuts to feed your bird is essential. Raw, unsalted, unflavored nuts are better for birds because salt and seasonings are bad for their health and can make them ill. Nuts are also high in fat, and if you feed a bird too many, they will become overweight. You should feed pet birds just a few nuts each week, as a general rule, depending on their size. Birds can also eat nut butter. But nut butter is super concentrated, so again, feed it sparingly.

Here are some nuts that you can safely feed birds:

  1. Almonds
  2. Brazil nuts
  3. Hazelnuts
  4. Peanuts
  5. Pecan
  6. Pistachio
  7. Walnuts

2 - Seeds

birds eating seeds
Seed - Photo Credit: Annie Lang on Unsplash

It’s no surprise that seeds appear on our list of the best treats for pet birds. Birds adore seeds and would eat them all day long if they could. It’s a common misconception that birds can eat a seed-only diet. Seeds should only make up a small part of their food allowance. While they're super tasty and nutritious, seeds are also high in fat. If they eat too many, they will become overweight, which can lead to many bird health issues. Never feed birds salted or seasoned seeds, and feed them in moderation. You can also give your bird sprouted seeds to eat as a special treat.

Try giving your pet bird these seeds as a rewarding snack:

  1. Hemp
  2. Millet - Usually comes as a spray that you can hang in their cage.
  3. Pumpkin
  4. Safflower
  5. Sunflower

3 - Fruits

parrot eating fruit
Photo Credit: David Clode on Unsplash

When it comes to pet bird care, fresh fruit is one of the healthiest treats you can give to your feathered companion. Fruit contains essential dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But, even though it’s healthy, you must still feed it in moderation because it’s high in sugar.

The best way to feed fruit to birds is in slices or chunks from a bowl. When you feed a bird fresh fruit, you must remove leftovers after a few hours. It gathers bacteria quickly - and your bird may get ill if they eat moldy fruit.

The best fruits for birds are organic ones which don't contain harmful pesticides. If you can’t buy organic, rinse them thoroughly before feeding them. You should also remove large seeds or pits because some contain cyanide and are poisonous.

Most birds love eating these fruits as a treat:

  1. Apple
  2. Apricot
  3. Banana
  4. Berrie
  5. Cantaloupe
  6. Coconut
  7. Fig
  8. Grapes
  9. Kiwi
  10. Nectarine
  11. Pear
  12. Pineapple
  13. Plums

4 - Vegetables

Photo Credit: David Clode on Unsplash

Vegetables are a fantastic treat for a bird's diet. They’re an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, just like fruit. But again, as part of a balanced diet, you must feed vegetables in moderation. Give your feathered friend organic veggies if you can, and if not, rinse them thoroughly before feeding. You must also remove uneaten vegetables from the cage after a few hours. If your feathered friend isn’t keen on whole veggies, you can also try feeding them mashed or grated.

Your bird will love these vegetables as a treat:

  1. Asparagus
  2. Broccoli
  3. Carrots
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Dark leafy greens
  6. Peas
  7. Pumpkin
  8. Sprouts

5 - Cooked Food

Photo Credit: Bozhin Karaivanov on Unsplash

Let’s be clear - birds can't eat a human diet, but there are many human foods that birds can eat - in moderation. Most birds love cooked human food and will instantly gobble it down. If you have cooked leftovers in the kitchen, think twice before throwing them out because they might make a rewarding treat for your favorite avian.

Birds can't eat all cooked food, especially if it has seasoning or sauces, because they usually contain salt and fat. Fat and salt are unhealthy for birds and aren’t part of a healthy, balanced diet. In the case of rice and pasta, wholegrain is the healthier option. I must also mention that you should never feed birds uncooked rice, pasta, legumes, beans or grains.

Your pet bird will love eating these cooked treats:

  1. Beans
  2. Rice
  3. Homemade Pan Popcorn - Not the microwaved one with flavorings, butter or salt.
  4. Lentils
  5. Pasta
  6. Quinoa
  7. Scrambled egg

6 - Premade Treats

budgie in cage
Photo Credit: Aarush Kochar on Unsplash

Premade treats are the final entry on our list of the best treats for pet birds. Premade treats are widely available and are usually breed-specific. They come in many forms, including sticks, bells, balls, cakes, and even stuffed coconut shells. Usually, you hang premade treats for birds up in the cage. They double up as bird enrichment toys and keep birds happily entertained for hours.

The healthiest premade treats are high-quality organic ones that don't contain artificial flavors and preservatives. But, it won't harm your bird to occasionally have souped-up artificially flavored one for a special reward or occasion. Birds love premade treats, and feeding them is a sure way to steal their affection.

Things You Should Never Feed to Birds

Photo Credit: aboodi vesakaran on Unsplash

Treats should only account for a small part of a pet bird's diet, around 5-10 %. Birds can eat many foods as a treat, but some foods are toxic for birds and can make them ill. So, never feed pet birds the following:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Avocados
  3. Caffeine
  4. Chocolate
  5. Dairy
  6. Eggplant
  7. Fruit pits and seeds
  8. Fatty food
  9. Garlic
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Onions
  12. Potatoes
  13. Processed human food
  14. Rhubarb
  15. Tomatoes
  16. Xylitol
Tanya Taylor
By Tanya Taylor

Tanya is a trusted animal care professional and has devoted her life to animals. In her 25-year career, she’s worked with all kinds of creatures in many environments, including three years caring for small animals as a veterinary nursing assistant and five years birthing down racehorses.

She is an expert farm and dog sitter - and has spent many hours volunteering at her local pony sanctuary. Tanya is originally from Liverpool in the UK, but now she lives in Ibiza, Spain, with her cheeky red terrier Leo and three Leopard tortoise hatchlings, Ninja, Tiny, and Orwell.