The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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It can generally go without saying that there are many, many things to consider before you can get a budgie as a pet. Although budgies can make wonderful companion pets for years, even decades to come, it is absolutely imperative that you do the right amount of research on them so that you can give them the best home necessary.
Of the research that you do, one of the most important areas that you should consider looking at is going to be what food the budgie can eat safely. Not only will you want to know what you should be feeding your budgie as a normal diet, but you should also have a solid idea of what your budgie can safely eat if you decide to let it roam around the house.
Budgies are somewhat sensitive little creatures, in the sense that if they eat something that they shouldn’t, it can have a massive impact on its health relatively quickly. This is mostly due to the fact that budgies are as small as they are, so problems in a budgie’s body don’t have to spread very far for it to become problematic.
Before you can get a sense of what human foods your budgie can eat, you should have a sense of what the budgie’s typical diet is, both in the wild and as a pet. This will help you get a good grasp on the kinds of foods that budgies can eat naturally, so that you can think about other foods that fall into this same area.
What Do Most Budgies Eat?
Above all, budgies are herbivores, and they particularly enjoy eating fruits and vegetables. They can also get their nutrients from seeds, nectar, and other plants.
What specifically your budgie enjoys eating the most will depend on your budgie’s own personality, but most budgies eat a combination of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as some seeds to provide the nutrients that they need. Being native to Australia, budgies would typically eat fruits, vegetables, and seeds that are commonly found on that island country.
In the wild, budgies follow their food and are largely nomadic, meaning that they will go wherever their preferred plants (spinifex and grass, occasionally wheat) are growing and they will eat whatever fruits or vegetables that they can find along the way.
In home environments, however, many people provide fruits and veggies to their birds’ diets more than they would typically eat in the wild as budgies both enjoy these foods and can get plenty of nutrients from them.
In fact, it was only a few decades ago that animal scientists realized that budgies can benefit greatly from having fruits and vegetables added to their diet, and before then, budgies would eat almost entirely commercial seed mixes.
Australia doesn’t have the climate for many of the fruits and vegetables that budgies enjoy eating, so it makes sense that while they wouldn’t normally come across these foods, they would still enjoy them.
Typically, budgies should be fed about 60% commercial seed or pellet mixes (the decision between pellets and seeds is up to you), and about 40% fresh fruits and vegetables.
Finding the Best Human Foods for Budgies
Figuring out what the best human food for a budgie is depends on what your definition of a “human food” is.
If “human food” counts as food that humans eat on a regular basis, then there are quite a few fruits and vegetables that both you and your budgie can enjoy, especially when you are cooking in the kitchen.
If “human food” counts as home-cooked meals and finished dishes, then your options will be far more limited, as certain cooking ingredients are bad for budgies to eat, such as many breads.
There’s also the consideration that “human food” would be commercially produced food products, such as peanut butter, that aren’t necessarily exclusive to humans (considering that peanut butter is a common dog treat as well as an ingredient in bird suet), but they are largely produced for human use.
If “human food” includes naturally occurring fruits and vegetables, then there are many of these that your budgie can enjoy, and even more that your budgie can have in relative moderation.
For fruits, budgies tend to enjoy eating bananas, apples, grapes, peaches, pears, raisins, melons, cherries (pitted, their beaks cannot break the pit), and even kiwis. You have to be mindful of citrus fruits and fruits that are close to the citrus family, such as mangos, as budgies are sensitive to the acidity of these fruits, so these should only be occasional treats assuming that your budgie isn’t hypersensitive to them.
For vegetables, budgies enjoy green beans, carrots, peas (especially in a pod, which can be a fun foraging experience), cauliflower, and even sweet corn. You should keep onions, mushrooms, and garlic away from your budgie as these vegetables cause the same problems in budgies as they do with many, many other animals.
Budgies also enjoy eating some forms of food that are made specifically for humans, but always be mindful to feed these to your budgie in small portions, as these foods often have far too many calories for a budgie’s typical diet.
These foods include pasta and peanut butter, both of which are surprisingly nutritious as well as enjoyable for your budgie to eat.
Pasta can be fed either raw or cooked to your budgie, depending on its preference for its treats and foods. Just make sure that if you are cooking the pasta that you prepare it completely plain and that you let it cool off entirely before you feed it to your feathered friend.
Budgies tend to enjoy the crunch of raw pasta as well, meaning that before you prepare yourself a dish of noodles, you can offer your budgie a noodle. If you really want to spoil your bird, you can feed it some nut butter inside of the noodle as well, for an enjoyable homemade version of some bird treats.
Many birds really enjoy peanut butter, as well as other types of nut butters. These you have to be somewhat careful with, as certain kinds of nut butter have countless filler ingredients in them that are bad for birds.
If you plan on feeding your budgie nut butter, you will want to go the extra distance to get it as close to all-natural as you can, or better yet, make it yourself so that you can manage exactly which ingredients are in the nut butter. Budgies can eat most nuts that nut butters are commonly made from, including almonds and peanuts.
Peanut butter is often full of protein, so make sure that you only feed a bit at a time so as not to overload your budgie. It also goes well on a number of fruits and vegetables that budgies already enjoy, meaning that it can become a bit of a double treat for your budgie.
As with feeding any animal a treat, be mindful of exactly how much you are feeding your budgie and that it does not become so much that your budgie starts eating these treats in place of its main sources of food, especially its seeds.
If your budgie is trying to do this, then it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight gain, and prolonged times of not having the right nutrients can lead to more severe issues, some of which are hard to spot before it becomes too late.