Budgies are among the most popular pet birds. They’re smart, adorable, and hardy. Also known as parakeets, these small birds also have playful personalities that will keep you and your family entertained for hours.
But the one complex aspect of taking care of a budgie is its diet. These birds have been inbred extensively for the pet trade and can be prone to certain cancers and other health concerns if they aren’t fed the proper nutrients. One of the most common questions people ask about feeding a pet budgie is if it can eat bread. The answer is a little complex. Yes, they can, but only certain types and in very small amounts.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the diet of the budgie and how bread fits in.
The Wild Budgie Diet
In the wild, budgies are found in Australia. Their diet consists of seeds, berries, fruits, and vegetation. They eat what they can find, which means that during some seasons, they may rely more heavily on fruits while others might include more vegetation.
The Pet Budgie Diet
In captivity, budgies need a mixture of foods to stay healthy. The bulk of their diet should come in the form of a pelleted food made specifically for budgies. These pellets are made of seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. This should make up 75-80 percent of their total food consumption.
Then, fresh fruits and veggies should account for the remaining 20-25 percent of their food intake. You’ll notice we don’t mention bread here. That’s because it should only be a very rare, occasional, tiny treat. Too much bread can cause your bird to put on too much weight and prevent them from eating the food they need for optimal nutrition.
Bread and Budgies
If you give your budgie an occasional bread treat, you should make sure the bread:
This ensures that your bird won’t consume ingredients that are harmful to them. Too much salt can harm your budgie’s kidneys, while excess sugar can cause weight gain. Common preservatives and other additives used in commercially produced loaves of bread are also not good for your bird to consume.
Furthermore, when you provide a small taste of whole-grain bread, maybe even one with seeds in it, you’ll give your budgie a nutrient boost with their treat. Make sure the bread is in tiny pieces that your bird can swallow easily.
Preparing Bread for Budgies
Most budgies won’t be picky about how their bread is prepared. It can either be fresh or lightly toasted, and they’ll probably enjoy it equally either way. However, the bread should be plain, without any butter, jam, or other toppings on it. Finally, don’t give your budgies stale bread as it can have mold on it that can harm your bird.
Better Choices for Budgie Treats
While the right kind of bread is fine on a very limited basis in small quantities, there are other treats you can give your budgie more frequently that are better for them. Roughly 20 percent of their daily diet should come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember, you should always cut fresh produce into small pieces that are easy for your budgie to chew. Some of the best choices for budgies include:
Foods You Should Never Feed Your Budgie
While it’s fine to give your budgie an occasional bit of bread, there are other foods that they should never have. These include:
Some of these are not good for your bird’s health while others are toxic. You should never feed your budgie processed or fried foods as they are high in salt and calories. Sugar should also be avoided to keep your budgie at a healthy weight.
While you shouldn’t share an entire bread basket with your pet budgie, an occasional bite or two of whole-grain bread won’t hurt them. Just make sure you’re giving them the healthy, preservative, and additive-free kind of bread rather than the commercially processed version. The remainder of its diet should be pellets and fresh produce. Following these guidelines will ensure your pet has a long, healthy life.
Featured Image Credit: KS.studio, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.