Foraging for parrots doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of thought. One of the simplest ways to create a foraging ‘situation’ is to wrap food up in little paper wrappers. But there are some fabulous foods that are toys all on their own – and this really is foraging for parrots made simple.
- Whole lettuce heads: while iceberg lettuce itself isn’t nutritionally very good, it does secrete a white sap substance where broken or cut, as does Romaine lettuce. This miracle sap has a calming effect on parrots, which, used carefully can let a frustrated bird take out its frustrations and at the same time make it sleepy. With these, you can also tuck things in the leaves.
- Coconuts: whole coconuts make a great toy for large and small parrots, although this can be messy. You can hammer a small hole in these and drain the coconut milk, if you want, although parrots can safely drink it. Coconut is a popular toy.
- Broccoli: a superfood, this green vegetable can be stuck whole and uncooked on a stainless steel skewer and left to eat and shred.
- Pomegranate: cut this tasty fruit and half and let your bird do all the hard work. Warning – it’s messy, but highly amusing!
- Peas in the pod: let the peas warm to room temp, and these make a fine foraging toy.
- Corn on the cob: boil this for 8-10 minutes and let cool, skewer on bird-safe skewer, and this becomes a fabulous foraging toy. Can also be served raw.
- Bell peppers and mini bell peppers: hollow these out and you have the perfect edible dish.
- Pumpkin: bake one of these and you have another edible dish that also happens to be a source of vitamin A.
- Bananas in the skin: for smaller birds, try cutting the banana into thirds and giving just one piece.
- Nuts in the shell (NOT peanuts): give a nut or two occasionally, still in-shell. This doesn’t work for training, but as a basic foraging toy, it works amazingly.
- Brussels Sprouts still on the stalk: these are best fed in moderation, but parrots love to pull them apart.
- Cucumber: skewer this on your stainless-steel bird skewer, and watch them rip it into pieces.
Note: Fresh fruit and vegetables should always be washed carefully first, before serving, as pesticides can be lethal to pet birds. Try using white vinegar in a bowl or skin full of water, soaking for ten minutes, and then rinsing thoroughly. Buy organic if possible, and always wash!
The whole fruits and vegetables mentioned are great for doves and finches as well – our canary particularly loves broccoli, corn, and lettuce. Apples are not on this list because the seeds contain traces of cyanide, which, if ingested, can build up in a bird’s system.