Maybe your friend or relative has a parrot. Maybe you have a pet parrot of your own. Perhaps you are simply curious. Whatever the reason might be, we have the answer.
Answer to this question is Yes! You would expect that the little birds cannot tolerate the spiciness and heat. But parrots do not have the receptors that detect “spiciness.” In fact, parrots love jalapenos and other peppers, and they’re also healthy for them!
Capsaicin is the chemical that makes something “spicy.” Humans have the receptors to detect capsaicin, while parrots do not.
As a result, they remain unaffected by the heat and pain we feel after eating jalapenos or anything spicy.
Here is a more detailed look behind this interesting eating habit of our feathery friends:
If we are to talk about ourselves, humans have heat receptors called VR1 in our tongues, cheeks, and around the mouth. These VR1 receptors are responsible for the feeling of heat we experience when we eat spicy food.
Whenever we eat foods containing capsaicin(like jalapenos), the “spice chemical,” our VR1 receptors get stimulated, and we end up feeling the heat we associate with “spiciness.”
On the contrary, parrots do not have such receptors. As a result, their taste buds are not irritated by the capsaicin in spicy foods, including jalapenos. So they do not end up flailing around like us after eating anything spicy.
Additionally, parrots only have 300-400 taste buds around their mouth compared to our 10,000 taste buds. So it takes a heck of a lot more flavor for parrots to taste something the way we do.
Parrots also have dry tongues that help keep the spiciness at bay and digestive systems that efficiently process the spicy peppers without hurting their stomachs.
Finally, peppers like jalapenos also provide rich sources of essential vitamins and nutrients otherwise absent from their regular diet.
Therefore, peppers are excellent for keeping your pet parrot healthy as well.
Okay, so we’ve established that parrots can eat jalapenos and generally other kinds of peppers, but which peppers are safe to give to parrots?
Since parrots are unaffected by spiciness thanks to the absence of capsaicin receptors, they can eat most peppers regardless of spiciness level.
Therefore, the level of spiciness does not matter. Every parrot will have specific preferences. It is best to give the types of peppers that your parrot prefers.
Here are the peppers you can try feeding your parrot:
- Parrots, raw or cooked, enjoy Bell peppers. You can give them all kinds of bell peppers. It is recommended that you wash them beforehand like you do (we hope) with other foods, though.
- Red peppers – Red bell peppers, cayenne peppers, and the spice bomb habaneros. Try giving these to your parrot and see which one they like. Wash your hands before and after, though!
- While yellow peppers may not be as spicy as red ones, it’s all the same to your parrot. You can try giving them banana peppers, wax peppers, Santa Fe grande, etc.
- Talking about green peppers, you may enjoy them yourself, given their relatively milder taste. These include green bell peppers, Poblano, and of course, jalapenos.
- Ghost peppers have some of the highest spice levels but are still safe for parrots to eat.
Apart from the above peppers, parrots are also fond of pepper seeds. They can digest the seeds easily, so you need not worry about seeds harming them.
Parrots can eat entire peppers, from their ripe bodies to their very seeds.
Try feeding your parrots different peppers, including their seeds, and take note of what they like.
As we mentioned earlier, eating jalapenos and other peppers is suitable for parrots.
Parrots’ regular diets may be devoid of some essential vitamins and nutrients. All of these can be supplemented by eating a balanced amount of the parrots’ favourite peppers.
There are many nutrients found in peppers:
- Vitamin A. Peppers like jalapenos are an excellent source of vitamin A for parrots otherwise absent from their diet.
- Vitamin B6 and other B-complex vitamins.
- Vitamin C will boost your parrot’s immune system and creating a good metabolism.
- Iron, magnesium, folate, manganese, potassium, etc., are essential minerals found in jalapenos and other peppers.
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Some other health benefits peppers offer for parrots are:
- Weight loss. Certain nutrients present in peppers increase metabolism, which helps in burning fat.
- Painkiller. If your parrots are suffering from an injury or pain, then feeding them peppers will help alleviate some pain. This especially helps if your parrot has arthritis.
- Reduce chances of colon cancer. Capsaicin is an anti-cancer agent. It is also anti-bacterial and helps increasing blood flow.
- Carbohydrates and fibers. Bell peppers have natural sugars like glucose and fructose and are a great source of fibre. These aid in better digestion and uptake of nutrients.
Apart from these, maintaining a balanced diet will surely keep parrots in the best shape. Changing up the peppers here and there will also keep things fresh and diverse!
Excess of anything is harmful. Although peppers are suitable for parrots in moderation, too many peppers can do more harm than good!
But don’t worry too much since peppers are majorly good for parrots, and excess will only cause little trouble.
If parrots consume too many peppers, then they may experience digestive issues and mild irritation. Although peppers don’t cause indigestion, they can end up aggravating it.
So do try to limit the number of peppers your parrot eats.
The feathery little birds can tolerate high levels of capsaicin, which makes them able to withstand even ghost peppers. It is incredible how, given their small size, they’re able to withstand such spicy peppers.
Parrots will eat the bodies and the seeds of peppers. There is no need to think about what peppers they can and cannot eat. Go right ahead!