Raw vegetables for Parrots – Should you cook veggies for birds?


Parrots don’t cook in the wild. They also wouldn’t (before humans came along) have access to most of the cultivated vegetables we commonly eat on our dinner plates. If wild parrots can locate vegetable crops they may consume some – obviously totally raw.

As always, all vegetables should be washed thoroughly before serving up for your parrots. Organic or home grown (without chemicals) vegetables are always best.

Artichokes – raw or uncooked artichokes are safe for parrots to eat. Artichokes are one of the more entertaining foods for parrots as well! You can hide other foods and healthy treats within the artichoke “petals” (bracts) for the birds to find. Some artichokes can have sharp bract tips so it’s a good to snip off the top of each bract.

A lot of vegetables are just better raw, nutrient wise. Vitamin C in particular can be lost through cooking and a lot of vitamin C rich veg are great for parrots when given raw:

Vitamin C powerhouses:

Bell peppers: Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers are bursting with vitamin C (a crucial antioxidant for immune function).

Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable offers not only vitamin C but also sulforaphane, a compound with potential anti-cancer properties.

Kale: This leafy green provides vitamin C alongside vitamins A, K, and B6, along with fiber and minerals. It’s also just a great shredding toy for parrots.

Spinach: Provides a hefty dose of vitamin C, iron, and folate, important for blood health and cell growth.

There’s more…

Carrots: Raw carrots offer beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, essential for vision and skin health.

Cooking Vegetables for Birds – More Nutrients?

We know that cooking vegetables makes them more digestable and nutritious. But: it depends HOW they’re cooked and for how long.

Raw vegetables for the most part are too hard, crunchy and tasteless for humans to enjoy (there are exceptions: raw carrots are great).

For birds it’s a different story. They love the crunch and if you’ve ever given your parrot a nice raw carrot, piece of brocolli or a bunch of snow peas it becomes play time.

You want to strike a balance with birds between maintaining nutrients in the vegetaebles, and making it appealing for them to want to eat at least some of it.

Here are a few pros and cons to think about of different vegetable cooking methods for nutrient preservation:


Simple and quick, boiling gets veggies tender but can leach out water soluble nutrients like vitamin C and B vitamins. To minimize loss, avoid overcooking. Most vegetables will only require a few minutes to slightly soften them when boiled.


The most ideal cooking method for most of the vegetables we want to feed to parrots. A gentler approach than boiling, steaming uses hot steam to cook the veggies, retaining more nutrients and vibrant colors.

Steaming vegetables is low tech, fast and easy. It’s cheap and requires only the most basic of kitchen equipment. Either use a steaming bowl or basket in a regular cooking pot, or you can go a bit fancier and purchase a dedicated steaming appliance like this one.


Microwaving can steam or poach vegetables with minimal nutrient loss. But uneven cooking will occur and you get hotspots, so be sure to stir and adjust cooking times and needless to say (like all cooking methods) – never serve food straight up to your bird after it’s been in the microwave; allow full cooling beforehand.


Generally not ideal because oil or other products are almost always needed to properly roast vegetables and avoid them burning to a crisp. It works best for for root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, but high heat can degrade some heat sensitive nutrients.

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