Poor or inadequate nutrition in birds’ diets is cited as the number one cause of illness among pet birds. We are planning on introducing parakeets to our collection of pets. I got curious whether since bananas are readily available they can make a good treat for budgies. Below I share my findings.
Can parakeets eat bananas?
Parakeets can eat bananas mixed with other fruits such as apples, watermelon, oranges, raisins, pear, pineapples, strawberries, and mango. Bananas will provide budgies with vitamins. However, bananas are high on sugar and should be fed moderately as overfeeding can cause health issues.
As a rule of thumb avoid feeding too much food that is high on sugar to caged birds as it may cause obese.
Are bananas safe for parakeets?
Bananas are completely safe for parakeets when fed moderately mixed with other fruits. The high sugar in bananas can cause obesity and diarrhea if fed excessively. Therefore, bananas should only be part of a balanced diet and not a staple diet.
Bananas are normally readily available and can provide a great treat for your parakeet especially when you have run out of commercial parakeet food.
Nutritional value of Bananas
The table below shows the nutritional value of about 100 grams of bananas.
|Total lipid (fat)||0.29 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||23 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||4.62 g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||12.23 g|
|Calcium, Ca||5 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||28 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||22 mg|
|Potassium, K||326 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.16 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.101 mg|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||12.3 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.209 mg|
|Folate, total||14 µg|
|Choline, total||9.8 µg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||1 µg|
|Carotene, beta||8 µg|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||22 µg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.1 µg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||0.5 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.112 g|
Benefits of Feeding Bananas to Parakeets
Minerals are very important towards the growth, development, and reproduction of all birds including parakeets.
Lack of enough minerals in the diets of parakeets can easily lead to life-threatening health effects. Below is a list of minerals that your parakeet will get from eating bananas.
Potassium is of the most ubundant minerals in bananas, therefore feeding your parakeets bananas will provide their body with this mineral.
When combined with sodium, potassium works to regulate the balance of fruids found in your birds body, together they also aid in maintaining nerve signals and muscle contraction.
If your parakeet exercises alot, giving them food rich in potassium is a good way to maintain their health. In the wild these birds will fly miles upon miles just to get the necessary salts.
I have not come across a single animal that has a bone structure on earth that does not need calcium in their diet.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the development, growth, and reproduction of all birds.
Calcium plays part in formation of strong bones, growth and maintenance of feathers, blood clotting and healthy eggs.
Birds as playful as parakeets need strong bones to keep up with the weight of their bodies and their activities.
Some parrots require more calcium than others for instance the African Gray parrots need more calcium than any other parrots species, followed by Blue Fronted Amazons plus any parrot that is laying eggs or getting in the process of reproduction.
However, for proper absorption of calcium from supplements or from foods . Parakeets and any parrot for that matter requires sufficient vitamin D.
Vitamin D can be processed from the sunlight, or from the supplements. However, it is important to note that keeping your parakeet near the window will not provide it with enough UV rays to process vitamin D.
The glass on your windows will filter the UV wavelength that your bird needs to process vitamin D.
While you can get lights that can provide this wavelength, it is advisable to let your parakeet get Vitamin D from the sun as this will also help it retain its sleep cycle.
Calcium is also involved in the intake of manganese, which is also needed for bone development and reproductive health.
If you are training your parakeet, making sure they have enough calcium as it is it also affects neurotransmitters, enough calcium will ensure your bird remembers things easily.
Low calcium levels can also affect the mood of the parrot. When feeding calcium to your parakeet, there are two factors that you should consider.
First the levels of oxalates, high oxalates are dangerous towards the health of parakeets as they hinder the absorption of calcium by binding into it. The reason why avocadoes are not good for parakeets.
Another mineral to be wary of is phosphorus in fact for food that you feed your parakeet on a daily basis. Calcium should be more than phosphorus, for treats such as bananas it is okay to have higher levels of phosphorus as they are only fed moderately.
Most commercial parrot foods are made with these nutritional requirements in mind such as pellets.
Another important mineral found in bananas that parakeets need is magnesium.
Parakeets need magnesium for muscle and nerve function, facilitate the growth of bones and temperature control.
Zinc is also present in bananas and parakeets need zinc for feather, skin, beak, claw, wound healing, enzyme activity, digestion, and proper development of reproductive organs in young parakeets.
Finally copper is essential in parakeets as it helps with the production of hemoglobin, skin, and feather, enzymes, and nerves, and bones.
Apart from minerals parakeets also need vitamins in their body for a clean bill of health. In fact lack of some of these minerals can easily lead to life-threatening health issues.
Despite vitamin A being very easy to source from most fruits and veggies, it is one of the most deficient vitamin in most caged birds.
Bananas are a good source of Vitamin A and its precursor beta-carotene.
Parakeets fed entirey on nuts will most likely suffer from vitamin A deficiency, Vitamin A is normally fat soluble and takes part in the growth and development, boosting and response of the immune system, hormone production, formation of mucous, epithelial and vascular membranes.
Vitamin A is also responsible for good vision, and red and yellow pigment present in most pet birds that most owners love.
The symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include white spots on the parakeets beak that later turn into abscesses, wheezing breathing, gagging sounds, sneezing, crusty nostrils, dull feathers, lethargy, diarrhea, restlessness, slimy mouths, and loss of appetite.
Serious vitamin A deficiency can easily lead to the failure of three-body systems namely digestive, reproduction, and respiratory. Feeding your parakeet fruits and veggies high in beta-carotene is the best way to help treat or avoid vitamin A deficiency, such as carrots, kale, cantaloupe, arugula, and bananas.
The table below shows the importance of the B vitamins found in bananas to parakeets.
|B group Vitamins||function|
|Incudes, Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin, B12, B-6, folic acid||transmission in the nervous system; deficiency causes restlessness, feather picking, shrieking, and seizure, energy production and tissue formation; deficiency causes neurological symptoms and poor growth. production of amino acids and antibodies; deficiency causes immune disorders.|
You will an avian vet to properly diagnose your parakeet’s vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin K also available in bananas aids in blood clotting and proper energy storage. Its deficiency can lead to hemorrhage or over-eating.
Bananas are also rich in fiber. Fiber helps birds in digestion and gastrointestinal movement. Sufficient fiber in parakeets diet is essential towards their health.
How to feed bananas to parakeets
The first step when feeding your parakeets any type of fruit is to get fruits that are organically grown, and if possible fresh fruits. If not refrigerated fruits are okay but not canned ones as they may contain some preservatives harmful to yout pet.
- Wash the banana thoroughly
- Peel it and cut it into pieces
- Offer to your parakeet in a bowl
How many bananas can a parakeet eat
You should not feed your parakeet alot of bananas, half a banana is just fine, remember to mix it up with other fruits or veggies for an added nutrition.
Are bananas poisonous to budgies?
Bananas like most fruits have a high sugar content, when you overfeed bananas or feed it on daily basis you will put your parakeet at the risk of becoming obese or develop digestive problems.
While parakeets in the wild eat a lot of sugary foods, they can get rid of them by frying around in search of more food, hence do a lot of exercise as compared to captive parakeets that spend most of their time in the cage.
Therefore, only feed bananas to your parakeet as a treat and not as a staple food.
Can birds eat bananas? Birds can safely eat bananas but in moderation as bananas have high sugar content which may lead to adverse health issues if fed on a daily basis. Only feed bananas to birds as a treat.
Can parakeets eat banana peels? Parakeets should not be fed banana peels, banana peels can be hard for parakeets to digest and may end up causing digestion issues such as constipation or impaction.
While bananas are a great source of vitamins and minerals that parakeets need for their growth and development. Care must be taken not to overfeed them. Too many bananas can lead to an obese parakeet due to high sugar content in bananas.