Parakeets are small, smart, and social flocking birds that are naturally curious and active. If you have a parakeet and you are eating a tasty orange, your bird may well want to sample some also!
But can parakeets eat oranges? It is safe to offer your parakeet a section of orange to try? For that matter, are oranges healthy for parakeets to eat?
We will tackle the topic of parakeets eating oranges in this article.
Can Parakeets Eat Oranges
Parakeets can eat oranges. Oranges in limited quantity can offer parakeets some valuable nutrients as well as the enrichment of sweet, juicy fruit.
In the rest of this article, we talk about all the different parts of the orange from the leaves and stem to the seeds and peel to the fruit itself. Learn what parts are safe for your parakeet to sample and what parts must remain off-limits.
Learn About Which Fruits Parakeets Enjoy Eating
In this short, useful YouTube video, you can learn more about which different fresh fruits are healthy and enjoyable to parakeets.
And if you have a parakeet that is refusing to try fruits, this video will also give you some insight and tips for how to get your parakeet to eat these nutritious treat foods.
Are Oranges Safe for Parakeets
As the Tri-State Budgerigar Society points out, not all parakeets will readily sample fruits.
But of all the fruits your parakeet might enjoy, it is more common to see parakeets eating oranges and apples.
Oranges are basically safe for parakeets as long as the following conditions have been met.
- You have thoroughly washed the orange to remove surface pesticides or toxins (if you are offering it with the peel on).
- The orange is free of seeds which might pose a choking hazard.
- You are offering the orange in manageable sections.
- You don’t offer oranges too frequently, since they can be high in sugar.
Wherever possible, it is smart to get organic oranges to be sure the fruit is free from insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins.
You should also wait until your parakeet is an adult – so at least 12 months – before offering supplementary treat food in addition to your bird’s regular diet.
The popular Avian Avenue Parrot Forum shows differing opinions on the topic of whether to offer the orange to parrots and parakeets with the peel still on.
If you can feed organic oranges, it is much safer to leave the peel on. Parakeets may not choose to eat the peel, but they may enjoy chewing on it. But if you cannot offer organic oranges it may be better to peel the orange before you let your bird try it.
Can All Parakeet Species Eat Oranges
While the budgerigar is the most popular and common species of parakeet, the budgie is far from the only parakeet species kept as a companion bird today.
In fact, as Britannica points out, there are 115 different species in the Psittacidae family!
Some of the best known of these species are the ring-necked parakeet, the Monk parakeet, the lorikeet, the lineolated, the rosella, and – surprisingly – conures.
Luckily, all of these parakeet species can eat oranges safely as long as the guidelines you just read about are followed and you don’t see any adverse reactions from your bird.
Is Citric Acid in Oranges Dangerous for Parakeets
Citric acid is the compound that gives oranges their sweet-tart flavor.
As Be Chewy explains, citrus and citric acid can be irritating if fed too frequently or on an empty stomach.
The best way to make sure the acidic nature of oranges does not irritate your parakeet’s gastric system is to offer the fruit as a treat in a very tiny portion alongside your parakeet’s regular food.
After your bird eats the orange, wait 24 hours before feeding any other type of fresh produce. Notice whether your parakeet’s poops remain normal or not. This will give you the information you need to decide whether to offer orange again in the future.
Are Oranges Good for Parakeets
While oranges definitely taste good and most parakeets that are willing to try oranges like them, we still need to take a closer look at whether oranges are actually healthy for parakeets.
Just like there are many different species of parakeets, there are many different varietals of oranges, as WebMD highlights.
Some varietals of oranges are sweeter while some tend towards the sour side. The type you offer your parakeet may influence how much your bird likes oranges (or doesn’t).
Here is a general overview of the health and nutritional benefits of one medium-sized orange.
- Calories: 60.
- Carbohydrates: 15.4 grams.
- Sugar: 12 grams.
- Fiber: 3 grams.
- Protein: 1 gram.
- Vitamin C: 70 milligrams.
- Vitamin A: 14 micrograms.
- Calcium: 150 milligrams.
- Potassium: 237 milligrams.
- Folate: 54 micrograms.
- Choline: 15.1 milligrams.
- Phosphorus: 25.2 milligrams.
- Magnesium: 18 milligrams.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 12.6 milligrams.
It is easy to see from reviewing this nutritional data that oranges have a lot of potential value to offer. However, this nutritional profile represents eating one whole orange (peeled).
One whole medium orange is bigger and heavier than most parakeets!
So your parakeet would only be taking in the tiniest fraction of these nutrients. However, this does not mean that feeding oranges to your parakeet are irrelevant or unwise.
Because of their small size, parakeets only need a fraction of the daily intake of various vitamins and trace minerals that people need. Oranges can provide Vitamin C and other essential vitamins and trace minerals and also represent a tasty treat.
Nutrition and You shares the value of the orange peel, which contains beneficial photo-nutrients, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, folate, and other vitamins and trace minerals.
How Often Can Parakeets Eat Oranges
The Lineolated Parakeet Society recommends adding a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to your parakeet’s regular diet.
This would be in addition to any staple diet of seed blends or pelleted foods that may have dried or powdered oranges already added in.
There are different health and enrichment benefits that can come from providing fresh foods to your parakeet.
The amount of vitamin C that oranges contain ensure this fruit will always have some nutritional benefit to offer your parakeet. However, the number of carbohydrates and sugar can cause weight gain if given too frequently.
The best approach is to feed oranges once a week or once every two weeks as part of a regular treat rotation of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Are Oranges Healthy for Parakeets
When prepared properly and served in moderation, oranges can definitely be a healthy addition to your parakeet’s regular rotation of fresh treat foods.
Oranges should always be served fresh rather than dried, candied, or cooked. Dried and candied orange fruit and orange peel will deliver much more concentrated sugar than parakeets should be consuming.
Parakeets have a gastrointestinal system that has evolved to eat raw foods. It is not a good idea to serve cooked foods to parakeets since their system may not know what to do with it.
The best approach for parakeets is to serve organic oranges in very small amounts once a week or once every two weeks. You can leave the peel on if the oranges are organic and washed well.