As a pet owner, it is natural that you care about the diet of your pet. Sometimes, you may take it too far and spoil it with one too many treats. So, you ought to know about its diet and try to keep it in balance.
Now, coming to bird pets, cockatiels take delight in a wide range of foods. Their diets vary from green leafy vegetables to processed meat. However, there is a lingering question among many cockatiel owners, and that is, can cockatiels eat crackers?
It is entirely okay for cockatiels to eat crackers. In fact, cockatiels love to eat crackers. However, the number of crackers a cockatiel can have will depend on its nutritional content. Most crackers do not provide sufficient nourishment while being very salty. Hence, they are only ideal for feeding as occasional treats. It is always better if you can treat your cockatiel with less salty crackers.
The salty crackers can cause damage to your cockatiel’s kidney. They may increase the bird’s chances of developing kidney stones and urinary-related issues. You can always opt for other healthier choices of food for your pet. Keep a healthy diet practice for your cockatiel and avoid feeding excess crackers to it.
Should you provide crackers as a good snack or treat?
Snacks are little nutritional foods given to your pets between their main meals. Snacks are healthy and focus on the nutritional values they provide. However, treats are delicious foods that your pet can enjoy eating from time to time. They are not healthy and focus on the taste rather than health benefits.
As previously stated, the crackers are foods with less nutritional value, and most of them are salty. The presence of salt in them can be harmful to the cockatiels in the long run. It is a given that cockatiels love to munch on crackers. Hence, it is best if you can provide your lovely pet with crackers as occasional treats to brighten its mood. Make sure not to treat it too often that it gets grumpy if you don’t share your crackers with it. Also, too much of them can cause your cockatiel to gain weight.
Other choices of food for your cockatiel:
Cocktails are small parrots that are indigenous to Australia. They feed on various seeds, berries, fruits, flowers, and sometimes insects in their natural habitat. The choice of food varies depending on the region and abundance of a particular food. So, the captivated breeds tend to have a similar preference for their diet. Some of the everyday diet choices for cockatiels are:
Pellets are a recommended diet for cockatiels. They are not your bird’s natural type of food. However, it is easier for you to maintain its diet through nutritional pellets. You can find these feeds in the markets intended for cockatiels.
Similar to their natural form of the diet, fruits are a delectable choice of food for cockatiels. They can feed on a wide range of fruits. They mostly enjoy eating fruits like oranges, apricots, berries, bananas, cherries, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes, peaches, and papayas. Some cockatiels may not like fruits much; however, you can feed them in little amounts. Try to reduce the size of big fruits by chopping or crushing them before serving.
Seeds are a healthy way of maintaining the diet of your cockatiel. You can provide it with sunflower seeds, millets, hemp, and grains. Ensure that they are clean and do not contain any fungus on them. As a safety measure, wash the seeds and dry them beforehand. Regularly keep the seed bowl clean and free from inedible husks. Avoid providing fruit seeds, as most can be toxic for your bird.
You can serve most vegetables to your bird by maintaining a rotational routine. That is due to some chemicals that can be harmful if given to your bird in excess. Some common vegetables are sweet potatoes, kale, cooked beets, fresh sprouts, pumpkins, carrots, turnips, corn, fresh mustard greens, etc. You can also feed your bird with vegetables as occasional treats like cucumber and celery, as they are less nutritious.
The addition of protein to the diet of your bird will benefit it, especially when molting. Here, you can feed your cockatiel with the protein-rich foods that you consume daily. Some of such foods are well-cooked fish, lean meat, boiled eggs, chicken, cottage cheese, and beef meat.
Your bird requires fresh water all the time. Always check the water availability and change it daily after food, feather, or droppings contaminate it. Provide it with the water that you drink. Cockatiels are very sensitive to germs and bacteria. Regularly scrub and clean your bird’s water container to prevent the accumulation of waste on its surface. Bacteria and fungus can contaminate the water and make your bird sick and weak.
Foods to avoid feeding your cockatiel
A little mistake in the diet can lead to a lifetime of regret for you. Certain foods can be harmful to your bird. You must avoid feeding them at all. Such foods include junk foods, garlic, onions, spices, tomatoes, avocados, eggplants, canned foods, fresh peanuts, shrimps, crabs, raw rice, etc. It would benefit you to do a little research before feeding your bird a new type of food.
Tips to consider for better care
Here are some tips you can follow to care for your bird better:
- Always wash the raw vegetables and fruits before feeding. Washing helps to remove pesticides, bacteria, and other substances that might cause potential harm to your bird.
- Avoid moldy or spoiled foods as they are already contaminated.
- Give occasional treats to your cockatiel to improve its mood and life.
- Avoid overfeeding. It could lead to fat build-up and make it vulnerable to diseases.
- Don’t always stick to one type of food as it could bore your bird. Maintain a rotational and varying diet.
- Serve only freshly cooked foods. As much as possible, refrain from feeding your bird with refrigerated and reheated food.
- Do not keep the food in the cage for long. Remove the food after 30 minutes to 1 hour. As with time, the food can get contaminated or spoiled.
- Keep good contact with an avian veterinary doctor. In case you observe any anomaly, ensure that you seek and consult the particular doctor. Take no chances with your pet as they are very fragile and require lots of care.
- Try to spend some time with your cockatiel daily. That will keep it happy and healthy.
The diet range of cockatiels is vast, and there are already custom foods explicitly made for the bird. But a lot of research still needs to be done to study the foods’ effects and suitability on the bird’s health. The aim is to develop an efficient, balanced diet to minimize problems and maximize the bird’s overall health. For now, it is upon you to do your homework and find a properly balanced diet for your bird. We hope that this article has made you a little more aware of taking care of your bird.