There are several poisonous or potentially problematic food items that you should be aware of. The list is headed by obvious ones – tobacco, cane sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Others are less obviously dangerous.
Avoid feeding acidic citrus fruits
Budgies find many of the foods in the following list palatable, so don’t trust your bird’s judgment when deciding what not to feed! Citrus fruits such as lemons and limes contain lots of citric acid, and although not poisonous, they can cause stomach upsets. Other items in the following list are toxic enough to kill a budgie. Cherry, apricot and peach stones, for example, are potentially lethal, containing cyanide (as do apple and pear pips). Budgie beaks are not strong enough to crack cherry stones, but it’s always possible that a stone might come pre-cracked. Peach and apricot pits split easily too, making the dangerous chemicals available to the unwitting bird.
In addition to the list below, never give a budgie anything that has been in your mouth, as human saliva can cause problems for budgies’ digestive systems.
So, never feed your birds any of the following.
- Apple seeds
- Aubergine (Eggplant) green parts
- Beans – many raw beans are toxic for budgies, so it’s best to avoid them all
- Crackers and other man-made biscuits and snacks
- Dairy products
- Fish and seafood
- Meat, poultry, fish (raw)
- Milk or milk products - budgies find lactose hard to digest (some seed mixes contain a digestible dried milk protein, but it’s not something you need to replicate)
- Mushrooms and other fungi
- Peanuts (they very quickly grow a lethal fungus, so best to avoid altogether)
- Pear pips
- Potatoes (raw)
- Sweets of all kinds
- Tomatoes: red are fine, green are toxic
Feeding Budgies Meat
In the wild budgerigars occasionally eat insects. However, with a good balanced diet in captivity they do not require meat protein. Some keepers feed cooked chicken or fish in small amounts every fortnight or so. But unless the birds are nesting or moulting, they don’t actually need it. It should also be underlined that raw meat will make your birds ill.
Feeding Budgies Wild Bird Seed
The availability of cheap wild bird food may tempt you to experiment with it as a food supply. Don’t! Budgie seed mixes are formulated for one particular species, the budgerigar, whereas wild bird mixes tend to be mixed for the finch and tit family – the commonest garden feeder visitors. These birds have different dietary requirements to budgies. There is also the danger that the food is of poor quality, especially if it’s very cheap. You should not be feeding such stuff to any bird, and certainly not to your beloved pets!
He's not wild - don't feed him wild bird seed!
Feeding Budgies Bread
Bread, or toast, isn’t something your birds should be eating regularly. Avoid any standard shop-bought loaves, as these will contain salt which can damage budgies’ kidneys. An organic wholemeal loaf with no added salt is okay, in small amounts. There isn’t much nutrition in this foodstuff for budgies, and yet it will quickly fill their crops and tell their stomachs they’ve had enough. Malnutrition is therefore a danger if too much bread is fed.
The same no-salt rule applies to crispbreads. The budgies will enjoy nibbling the crumbly stuff, but it should be viewed as a treat, never a main course.
Never mistake your budgerigars for little humans. They do not need butter, jam, peanut butter, marmite, honey or any other spreadable on their bread. The only time the bread should be tampered with is if you are trying to get some liquid medication down them, and feel that lacing the bread will be a good way of making sure the medicine is taken.