Greens, vegetables, and fruits are supposed to contribute to about 20-25 % of a cockatiel’s diet. Knowing which fruits will offer the right nutrients to your cockatiel is very paramount. Given that bananas are very easy to come by, I got curious whether cockatiels can enjoy them.
Can cockatiels eat bananas? Cockatiels can eat bananas. Bananas are rich in vitamins, water, fiber, fat, and minerals essential for your cockatiel’s growth, development, and reproduction. However, bananas are high on sugar and should be fed moderately as overfeeding can cause health issues such as diarrhea in cockatiels
Nutritional problems are the most common issues that pet birds face. Always consult your vet if you are having doubts about your pet bird’s health.
“Cockatiels are vulnerable to obesity, iodine deficiencies, and other diet-related problems including feather picking and egg binding.”https://vcahospitals.com/
What fruit can cockatiels eat?
Aprt from bananas cockatiels can eat a range of other fruits such as apples, guavas, grapes, berries, watermelon, papaya, kiwi fruits among others.
What fruits can cockatiels not eat?
There are fruits that cockatiels should not eat such as avocadoes, apple and pear seeds, cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, and nectarines should be removed pits and seeds before offering them since they have toxic substances that may harm the cockatiel.
Can Cockatiels eat Bananas?
Different species of birds have different nutritional needs, but what stands out is the fact that there are several nutrients that are similar across all species of birds.
The difference is that some birds need more nutrients than other birds.
Factors such as size, species, environment, and age play a part in determining the nutritional needs of a bird in general.
Let us take a look at which nutrients that a cockatiel can get from feeding a banana.
Nutritional Value of Bananas
The table below shows the nutrients that a cockatiel will get from eating about 100 grams of a banana serving. Source
Benefits of Feeding Bananas to Cockatiels
Knowing what a certain type of food provides to your cockatiel will help you in providing them with the right well-balanced diet.
Let us dig deeper into nutrients found in bananas and how they benefit cockatiels.
Vitamins are normally divided into two groups; water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Fat soluble Vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins are made of vitamins that can easily dissolve in fats, the downside with these vitamins is the fact that when consumed in excess they get stored in the body instead of being excreted.
Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.
Despite being very abundant in most fruits and veggies. Vitamin A is marked as one of the most deficient nutrients in most pet birds.
This is because most pet bird owners overlook a well-balanced diet. Especially because most pet bird owners offer their birds a nut and seed diet.
Vitamin A controls a number of functions in a bird’s body without which a bird can suffer from life-threatening health problems.
Beta carotene the precursor of vitamin A is the best form in which birds should be fed, while excess vitamin A is stored in the liver and excess could cause bone diseases, excess beta carotene is flushed from the body.
Vitamin A facilitates the following functions
Growth and development, production of the hormone, the formation of vascular, epithelial, and mucous membranes, response of the immune system, and good vision.
Vitamin A also affects the production of keratinocytes which are responsible for yellow and red colors seen in most birds.
If you want your cockatiel to have vibrant color feeding them food rich in vitamin A is a good start.
Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include
Thickening of the mucus membrane, Drying up of the respiratory and oral secretions as mucus and salivary glands become blocked, cockatiels will also become pale in color.
Given that Vitamin A plays a crucial role in the response of the immune system. Its deficiency leaves your cockatiel vulnerable to infections both in respiratory and digestive tract systems.
Vitamin E is another fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in the function of the immune system.
Vitamin E when combined with selenium helps protect your cockatiel from oxidative damage.
Some of the oxidative stress includes ones that are formed when the metabolism of dietary polyunsaturated fats takes place and would end up causing damage to the cells.
Cockatiels suffering from vitamin E deficiency become susceptible to parasites found in guts such as Giardia spp. Signs of this condition include the passing of undigested seeds in their droppings.
Birds fed foods high in polyunsaturated fats are at risk of suffering from vitamin E deficiency since their bodies spend most of the Vitamin E reserve metabolizing these fats.
Feeding green vegetables to your cockatiels will ensure they have enough vitamin E in their body.
Bananas also provide vitamin E to cockatiels.
This is also among the fat-soluble vitamins beneficial in the cockatiels body. Vitamin K deficiencies are very rare since it is synthesized from the gut of the cockatiel.
Vitamin K plays a role in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.
Water soluble vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins are collectively known as B vitamins. The table below shows each B vitamin found in bananas and its importance.
|B Vitamin [thiamin (B1), niacin,||nervous system transmission(Thiamin)||deficiency causes feather picking restlessness, seizures, and shrieking. (thiamin)|
|riboflavin (B2)||enzyme formation||Dry and rough skin|
|niacin,||formation of tissue and energy production||poor growth|
|pyridoxine (B6),||Formation of antibodies||immune dysfunction|
Minerals are very important in the health of all birds wild or domesticated alike.
Minerals are divided into two Macro and micro minerals. Macrominerals are needed in large amounts compared to micro minerals.
Calcium is one of the macro minerals that all birds need in large amounts for proper growth and development and reproduction.
You should always make sure your cockatiel gets enough calcium on a daily basis.
Cockatiels are known to be susceptible to egg binding due to a lack of calcium in their diets.
Calcium is closely related to vitamin D, low vitamin D levels result in low calcium levels as calcium needs vitamin D to be properly absorbed in the cockatiel’s body.
Luckily, cockatiels can synthesize vitamin D from the sunlight.
Many pet owners make the mistake of putting pet birdcages near the window thinking that their pets will be able to synthesize vitamin D from the sunlight via the window.
However, most of the sunlight sufficient for vitamin D synthesis gets filtered by your window panes. Make sure your cockatiel gets enough sunlight or invest in a good UVB light.
There are several UVB light brands in the market that will make sure your cockatiel gets enough vitamin D.
Calcium facilitates the following processes.
Blood clotting, the formation of bones and eggs, feather attachment, and muscle function.
Calcium is also involved in certain neurotransmission, and its deficiency can also affect the mood of your cockatiel.
While bananas alone will not provide all the calcium that cockatiel needs for its health.
Feeding bananas as part of a healthy diet will help provide calcium to your cockatiel.
However, calcium should be offered in moderation especially if you are providing supplementation and feeding a balanced diet since excess calcium can lead to health problems such as calcification of the soft tissue structures.
Consult your vet on how much calcium supplements you should add to your cockatiel’s diet.
Like calcium phosphorus is also needed for bone development, additionally, phosphorus is also used for energy storage.
Phosphorus levels in the body of birds are closely related, calcium should always be higher than phosphorus but incase this scenario is reversed your cockatiel will suffer from a condition called secondary hyperparathyroidism.
This condition leads to demineralization and kidney damage, the reason being phosphorus prevents the absorption of calcium by forming calcium phosphates once the two react.
Therefore, whenever you are feeding fruits, veggies, seeds, and nuts make sure you understand their calcium-phosphorus ratio.
The recommended calcium-phosphorus ratio is either 1:1 or 2:1, but laying birds should have more calcium compared to non-laying birds.
Other minerals present in bananas that are important to cockatiels include
|Magnesium||Making cell membranes and energy transfer|
|Sodium||responsible for nerve signals and impulses.|
|Potassium||balance acid–base reactions and osmotic pressure.|
The table below shows the micro minerals found in bananas and their importance in the cockatiel body.
|Copper||haemoglobin and collagen synthesis , maintenance of the nervous system.|
|Zinc||wound healing, forming part of a number of enzymes, tissue formation,.|
Most cockatiels suffer from iodine deficiency, especially ones that are fed a nut and seed diet.
The main function of iodine is to synthesis thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency can lead to life-threatening health issues such as goitre, stunted growth.
Feeding bananas once in while or adding some table salt in your cockatiel cooked food will provide enough iodine to prevent iodine deficiency.
How to feed bananas to cockatiels
- The first step is to look for organically grown bananas.
- You can mash it up and mix it with some xylitol free peanut butter
- Alternatively, you can cut it and offer it in pieces
- Do not feed more than quatre of a banana
Risks of Overfeeding Bananas to cockatiels
Bananas have high sugar content, while cockatiels in the wild can eat a lot of bananas and have no health effects. Your pet bird cannot eat as much.
This is due to the fact that in the wild cockatiels get enough exercise when foraging for food or escaping from predators.
Given that cockatiels are some of the most pet birds prone to obesity, you should keep banana feeding at a minimum.
Feeding bananas once per week is okay, after all, there are other fruits such as apples that your cockatiel can eat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can cockatiels eat banana skin? Cockatiels can also eat banana skin, their digestive system is strong enough to digest even the banana skin. However, you should be careful when feeding banana skin to cockatiels or any birds for that matter as some stores spray some chemicals to make bananas seem appealing.
While bananas are safe for cockatiels, they should not be fed in moderation about once per week. You can mix it with peanut butter to make it more palatable.