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Parakeet Food to Avoid

There are several toxic foods a parakeet owner needs to be aware of. Some of them are obvious – tobacco, sugar, alcohol, caffeine - others less so.

parakeet toxic food coffee
Parakeets can’t tolerate all human foods – and coffee is definitely poisonous!

Parakeets will happily eat some of the foods in the following list, so don’t trust your bird’s judgment! Citrus fruits such as lemons and limes contain lots of citric acid, and although not poisonous, they can cause stomach upsets. Other items in the following list are toxic enough to kill a parakeet. Cherry, apricot and peach stones, for example, are potentially lethal, containing cyanide (as do apple and pear pips). Parakeet beaks are not strong enough to crack cherry stones, but it’s always possible that a stone might come pre-cracked. Peach and apricot pits split easily too, making the dangerous chemicals available.

In addition to the list below, never give a parakeet anything that has been in your mouth, as human saliva can cause problems too.

List of Poisonous Foods for Parakeets

  • Apple seeds
  • Avocado
  • Beans – many raw beans are toxic for parakeets, so it’s best to avoid them all
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Crackers and other man-made biscuits and snacks
  • Dairy products
  • Dates
  • Eggplant green parts
  • Fish and seafood
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Honey
  • Kumquat
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Meat, poultry, fish (raw)
  • Milk or milk products - parakeets find lactose hard to digest (some seed mixes contain a digestible dried milk protein, but it’s not something you need to replicate)
  • Mushrooms and other fungi
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion
  • Passion fruit
  • Peanuts (they very quickly grow a lethal fungus, so best to avoid altogether)
  • Pear pips
  • Potatoes (raw)
  • Rhubarb
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Sweets of all kinds
  • Tomatoes: red are fine, green are toxic

Feeding Parakeets Meat

In the wild, and even in aviaries, parakeets sometimes eat insects. However, with a good balanced diet in captivity they do not require meat protein. Some keepers feed cooked chicken or fish in small amounts every fortnight or so. But unless the birds are nesting or moulting, they don’t actually need it. It should also be underlined that raw meat will make your birds ill.

Feeding Parakeets Wild Bird Seed

Wild bird mixes are mixed for completely different species with different dietary requirements to parakeets. There is also the danger that the food is of poor quality, especially if it’s very cheap. You should not be feeding such stuff to any bird, and certainly not to your beloved pets!

Blue parakeet closeup
Your parakeet isn't wild, so don't feed it wild bird seed!

Feeding Parakeets Bread

Bread, or toast, isn’t something your birds should be eating regularly. Avoid any standard shop-bought loaves, as these will contain salt which can damage parakeets’ kidneys. An organic wholemeal loaf with no added salt is okay, in small amounts. There isn’t much nutrition in this foodstuff for parakeets, and yet it will quickly fill their crops and tell their stomachs they’ve had enough. Malnutrition is therefore a danger if too much bread is fed.

The same no-salt rule applies to crispbreads. The parakeetswill enjoy nibbling the crumbly stuff, but it should be viewed as a treat, never a main course.

Customer Images

Olive green pied
Budgies in cage
Rafi's budgies
My bird


Gurleen, 3 December 2023

Can budgie parakeets eat raw small red potatoes? why can’t they eat it raw? how about raw sweet potato/yam ?

Aipil, 20 September 2023

Please if you are going to buy budgie bird make ‘em 2 birds they should fell lonley for a long time that’s why they get sick depressed stress not active

Sandee, 16 August 2023

Thank you for ALL of the "specifics" on parakeet food! It is so hard to find the right information when researching their diets. I have been a parakeet parent for over 10 years and I am always learning new things. I learnt about the no-go foods! Thank you so much for the info and list.

Evie, 29 June 2023

@hillary I would urge you to get an aviary veterinarian ASAP to check your budgie baby out. In the meanwhile I’m sending love and prayers up for you and your baby. Also there are some really great YouTube channels made to help new and old budgie parents. There’s a great one who has a budgie name blueberry but I don’t think I can remember the name. I really am thinking the budgie who is molting and has lose stool it could be anything from stress or the cookware you use or the other bird there or many other things so maybe call an aviary vet too or even take him to a mom and pop bird store- but not a chain pet store please! I am sending more hope and love up for your feathered baby too. Please give me an update will ya? I’d love to see if my prayers did help.

Alicia, 27 May 2023

my budgie passed away from eating a little but of avocado . i think avocado should be emphasized!! its TOXIC for them🙁