When it comes to the safety of your bird, you may be asking what your pet should and should not eat. In that case, you’ve heard of birds eating flour items like bread, chips, and even tortillas. However, is it safe, and what can your conure eat instead?
Conures can eat tortillas, but it’s not necessarily good for them. Most flour tortillas contain a high-calorie content and remain fresh longer due to the high amount of additives and preservatives it has. In retrospect, this process destroys many necessary nutrients that could make the tortilla healthy.
This article discusses what type of bread you can feed your conure and goes over what is safe and not safe to feed your bird. Continue reading for more information to help your conure live its best life and diet!
Can My Conures Eat Flour Tortillas?
Your conure can indeed eat flour tortillas, but it’s not the best option for them. Flour tortillas have no nutritional value, so if you give them to your conure, you only provide filler for them.
A good example is if your conure goes up to you wanting to eat your homemade burrito. Your bird gives you those begging eyes, and you feel bad, giving them a bite of the tortilla part. In that case, ensure you eat away from your bird so you don’t feel bad.
Although you may give it to them once in a blue moon, providing these treats more often than not means they will eventually become obese. In that case, you shouldn’t give flour tortillas regularly for better health.
If you were to give them a corn tortilla, that is a bit of a different story, as corn tortillas have some nutritional value, at least.
Corn tortillas are moderately nutritious as they provide fiber, proteins, iron, and vitamins. However, if corn tortillas are the only thing you provide your conure, they will eventually die due to malnutrition.
Can Conures Eat Tortilla Chips?
Parrots can indeed eat tortilla chips, but it’s highly unwise to do so. Tortilla chips contain processed chemicals and lots of salts and fats.
If you were to feed your conure a piece of a tortilla chip every so often, you might be taking a risk due to these foods not being tested on birds.
On the other hand, these chips are only filler and don’t provide your bird with the required nutritional value.
Instead of giving your bird a tortilla chip, you can always give them air-popped popcorn. Just make sure you don’t season it with any toppings to ensure they get a safe treat!
Is White Flour Okay for Birds?
Refined or white flour is highly processed and contains many preservatives. Overall, wheat bread's nutritional value diminishes in the process of becoming refined.
White bread also doesn’t allow your bird's muscles or feathers to grow as they need to. Not only that, but birds need fats to rely on for their energy, which bread doesn’t provide any of.
What Kind of Bread Can I Feed My Conure?
There’s not a ton of wiggle room for what conures can eat. However, parrots can eat brown, grainy, and organically-produced bread.
In terms of flour consumption, these are the ones your parrot can eat:
Going back to the bread, ensure it contains fewer chemicals and preservatives than your bird can consume.
Here are some excellent tips provided for you when choosing the kinds of bread they can have:
Don’t add butter or any toppings to the bread.
Place the bread on a small ceramic dish for your pet to eat at its disposal.
Monitor your pet's behavior. Some parrots may place the bread in their water bowl, which involves risks. If that’s the case, immediately remove the water bowl and replace it with new water.
Check the ingredients of the bread you provide for your animal. Ensure the ingredients contain few chemicals, preservatives, and no colorants.
Avoid any bread with a "toaster bread" label as it contains too many chemicals.
Keep the bread in a dry, cool place to ensure the longevity of the food. In other words, make sure the bread is not in a humid area.
Give the bread to your conure quickly after purchasing so they can taste it fresh.
Only provide the bread for roughly 20 minutes before taking it out and do a quick cleanup in the area to ensure nothing gets left behind.
How Often Can Parrots Eat Bread?
Do not feed your parrot too much bread, as this will cause illnesses later. However, providing a thumbnail-sized piece once every two weeks is entirely okay.
Make sure it’s not an entire piece or even a quarter-size. Doing so ensures the bread doesn’t expand too much in your conure's stomach, causing it to be sick.
You also want to provide your bird with a mixture of other treats, like specific kitchen scraps or other goodies, to ensure a balanced diet.
Pro Tip: If your bird has never been introduced to bread, make sure you slowly do so to its diet. If you feed your parrot something they have never had before, it could cause them stomach pain or nutritional issues. In that case, make sure you are watching them closely before introducing something new.
What is Safe to Feed My Conure Parrot?
If you consider getting a conure as a pet, one of your primary concerns would be the nutritional category. So, what should your conure's diet consist of?
A conure diet consists mainly of 80 to 85% pellets, but they should also have commercial birdseed, vegetables, fruits, and occasional treats, as discussed above.
Here are some pro tips to remember when feeding your conure:
Make sure you refresh your bird's food bowl with pellets daily and keep it three-quarters full.
Allow your conure to have access to fresh, clean water every day. Change the water daily if need be.
Ensure you feed your parrot fruits and vegetables daily, such as berries, melons, squash, dark leafy greens, etc.
Offer birdseed as an occasional treat.
Allow your bird to have a special treat once a month, such as beans, wheat pasta, certain kinds of bread, or similar items.
Provide your conure cuttlebone to keep its beak healthy.
What is Not Safe to Feed My Conure Parrot?
On the other hand, there are quite a few unhealthy foods to feed your conure. Keep in mind that what humans can eat or drink doesn’t mean a bird can automatically eat it too.
Remember always to look up if foods are safe for your parrot to eat, but we have created a small list below and some explanations on why they are toxic.
Feeding your bird avocados is dangerous because it contains persin, which is toxic to the heart in many species but not humans. Common signs of persin toxicity are heavy breathing, collapsing, lethargy, and sudden death.
An avocado's skin, pit, leaves, and meat contain this toxin, so it’s best if you continually keep avocados away from your bird. If you recently ate an avocado and wished to play with your bird, consider washing your hands and face beforehand.
Although we don’t necessarily need to give an example of why alcohol is bad for birds, you should know it suppresses their organ systems, which is extremely dangerous.
If you serve alcohol in your home, make sure to put your bird in its cage to ensure its safety.
Caffeine may be tempting to share with your bird, especially since we consume so much of it. It’s vital to never share even a few drops with your conure.
Even a few sips can cause your bird to have increased heart rate, hyperactivity, cardiac arrest, or arrhythmias.
4. Dairy Products
Dairy products are not technically toxic to birds, but they can develop a lot of diarrhea quickly due to their inability to digest lactose.
Some mushrooms are incredibly healthy for humans and contain many benefits. On the other hand, they’re still a fungus and have been known to cause digestive issues in parrots and potentially cause liver failure.
6. Chocolate or Cocoa
Many bird owners know chocolate is deadly to birds because it contains caffeine and theobromine. However, chocolate can also cause tremors, seizures, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, diarrhea, and vomiting.
7. Uncooked Beans
Uncooked beans have a poison called hemagglutinin, which is highly toxic to birds. If you wish to give your bird some beans, make sure they are thoroughly cooked first.
For bird owners who have their animals flying around their homes, keep dried beans in a place where they don’t have access.
Note: If you have younger children who play with them during their sensory time, ensure all beans are picked up from the floor.
8. Cassava (Tapioca)
Cassava, or tapioca, is not a significant food to worry about because it comes from a root, flour or steamed. Although it takes a lot to hurt a bird, it’s still safer to keep it away from your pet due to small trace amounts of cyanide-inducing compounds in it.
Meats contain high levels of saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories. Because of this, it’s unwise to give your parrot meats. Your bird may suffer from health issues like fatty liver or heart diseases.
10. Onions, Garlic & Scallions
Lastly, we have onions, garlic, and scallions on your bird's list of toxic foods. Overall, these foods can irritate the lining of your bird's throat, potentially cause ulcers, and induce the rupture of red blood cells, resulting in anemia.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have common questions many conure owners have for their bird. You might find it helpful, so keep reading for more!
How Much Does a Conure Eat?
Conures don’t require a ton of daily food. You should give your conure roughly three tablespoons of pellet food daily, which can be supplemented with small portions of vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts, and grains.
Should I Be Concerned About What My Conure Eats?
One of the best things you can do for your conure is provide them with a healthy diet. Conures are a little prone to obesity, but if you offer them a healthy, well-balanced diet, they can live up to 35 years.
Since conures can become obese, you must pay attention to their eating habits, so you should be wise to have some concerns regarding what it eats.
Another fact that’s essential to know is conures are more likely to suffer from vitamin A and calcium deficiency than other birds, so ensure you’re consistent in what you provide them.
However, it’s essential not to be fooled by their playful behavior if you feed them table food, as this can result in poor health later in life.
Another instance is if you feed your bird an all-seed diet. Although seeds are good for them innately, they will make your once happy-go-lucky bird into a sluggish and miserable animal who doesn’t want to do anything. Seeds are high in fat and are deficient in many vitamins and minerals.
Issues with an All-Seed Diet
Seeds are essential, but only in a small way for a conure! Although conures naturally eat seeds in the wild, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can eat an all-seed diet like domesticated animals.
However, when you choose this option, you’re essentially saying you don’t care for the well-being of your animal, as overuse of seeds can cause many health concerns.
Some of these issues can be upper respiratory disease, fatty liver disease, and atherosclerosis.
On top of that, many seed mixtures contain nuts, which essentially fatty. Although conures can easily pick out the nuts, many large mixes you purchase from the store most likely have genetically modified (GMO) seeds.
Overall, you can expect short-term and long-term health results from an all-seed diet.
Issues with an All-Pellet Diet
Although you might have heard from several people to give your conure an all-pellet diet, this can harm your animal.
The first thing to remember is that an all-pellet diet is too dull and doesn’t keep much variety on the table. It doesn’t allow enough on the plate to help your conure thrive and can eventually cause health conditions.
However, the main issue you should concern yourself with is that an all-pellet diet ensures your bird isn’t using its instincts to forage for its food. Your bird will lose the ability to pick its food out, which provides less stimulation and causes behavioral issues.
Another reason is because of vitamin D and iron deficiencies. Overall, it compromises their health and well-being due to receiving an all-pellet diet, which is why providing enough variety for your bird is essential.
Going back to the main topic, conures can eat flour tortillas, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy for them. You can provide them a bite here or there, but it’s wise to not feed your conure a tortilla very often due to its non-nutritional value.
Overall, when you provide your bird with a great diet, you will see them thrive and live for many years!