An African Grey Parrot can be a wonderful pet that will entertain you endlessly with its extensive vocabulary and amazing sense of fun. Keeping a parrot as a pet is a life-long commitment and requires devotion and dedication from you. An African Grey can live approximately 60 years when fed the right diet. A bird in the wild will eat a mixture of seeds and nuts and fruit, supplemented with leafy greens. A bird raised in your home requires the same variety of food. An African Grey Parrot is primarily a vegetarian, and so it is not necessary to feed it meat.
An African Grey Parrot will love a large variety of fruit. Apples are always a staple of the diet, but be sure that you do not allow your bird to eat the seeds. Apple seeds contain traces of cyanide, as do the seeds of cherries, pears, peaches and apricots. Cut the fruit from the seed before feeding to your bird. It is not necessary to chop the fruit up very much, but it is easier for your bird to eat if you do.
Grapes, strawberries, peaches, plums, apricots, kiwi, mango, and melons are also good choices for your African Grey Parrot. Almost any fruit you can think of will be good to feed your bird. African Greys are picky eaters sometimes, and act timid when a new food is introduced. It is best to introduce a new food a little at a time, and include it in her food for at least a week before deciding that she doesn’t like it. My grey will spend usually 2 days avoiding the new fruit in her dish, then another 2 days of taking it out and dropping it in the bottom of her cage before she will finally decide to taste it.
Vegetables are another staple of an African Grey’s diet. A few good choices of vegetables include carrots, corn, peas, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, and most other vegetables. Leafy greens are also good for your bird, such as collards, and leaf lettuce, not head or iceberg lettuce as it has no nutritional value for your bird.
Beans are a good source of protein for your bird. Be sure to cook the beans thoroughly, and mix in with your bird’s vegetable meal. I feed my African Grey twice a day. In the mornings I give her a mixture of fruit that I have cut up for her. I cut up enough to last two days and refrigerate it. In the evenings, I feed her a mixture of vegetables and beans. I use a 15 bean soup mix, and cook the beans thoroughly, without using the spice packet. Drain the beans and put small amounts in sandwich bags to separate daily portions. Put all of these sandwich bags inside a zipper freezer bag and freeze. Thaw one package daily for the meal. My African Grey loves her beans that I feed her. You can sprout beans by putting them in a shallow dish lined with wet paper towels and cover with more wet paper towels. Keep the paper towels wet and check daily. When the beans sprout they are ready to feed to your bird as a special treat.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds should be treated as a special treat, not as a constant food. Your bird will live a longer healthier life if you do not feed her a steady diet of fatty seeds. Sunflower seeds will be a favorite choice of your bird, but they are the worst culprit when it comes to fat. Substitute with raw almonds. Avoid nuts that are salted. Your bird does not need the salt.
Pellets designed for an African Grey diet should be used as a foundation for your bird’s diet. I recommend choosing a pellet that is natural, not artificially colored or flavored. I call these pellets birdy fruit loops because of the fruity smell that they have. My African Grey does enjoy these pellets as an addition to her diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
What not to feed your African Grey
There are a few foods that you should avoid altogether, either because they are toxic to your bird, or because they have no nutritional value at all.
Avocados, seeds from apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and apricots, iceberg lettuce, chocolate, celery, rhubarb, and salty or fatty foods. Do not give your bird alcoholic beverages or carbonated beverages. I have included a link at the bottom of this page to a list of toxic foods for your African Grey Parrot.
An African Grey Parrot will go through large amounts of water daily, compared to other pet birds. It is important to make sure that she has access to an ample supply of fresh water every day. She will drink lots of water, and also use it to bathe herself in. You might even see her dipping her pellets in her water dish.
More by R.E. Roe