Can Parrots Eat Bread - Safe or Toxic?

Can Parrots Eat Bread - Safe or Toxic?

Diet is probably one of the most complex aspects of taking care of a parrot. Parrot owners are always on the lookout for a suitable diet for their pet birds. This could be a bit confusing because parrots like to snack on almost any kind of foods that humans eat. 

You may actually think that it’s safe to feed parrots anything they are willing to give a bite. Well, this is not true and you may end up harming your bird’s health instead. So, it’s good to find out whether a particular food is safe to feed your pet parrot. 

Don’t fall into the temptation of sharing any food you eat with your feathered friend before doing some research on it. This brings us to the most asked question regarding bread. Many parrot owners normally ask if it’s okay to feed their parrots bread.

The answer is both yes and no. While bread is not inherently unsafe for birds, they should not be fed bread frequently, nor as a main staple. Furthermore, not all types of breads are suitable for birds. There are several factors you need to consider before feeding bread to your parrot. Here is everything you need to know about feeding bread to your parrots.

Is Bread Good for Parrots?

Generally, bread doesn’t benefit parrots in any way. Just like for humans, parrots don’t do well on a diet of just bread and water. They need a balanced diet to thrive. However in certain very specific situations such as saving a bird that has been starving, parrots may acquire more energy by eating plain bread – but this should be a very temporary measure and if you have no other food options on hand.

Bread is a good source of carbohydrates, though it’s not recommended that you feed your parrots bread to acquire more carbs. Parrots can acquire carbohydrates from other healthy sources that are safer for them, such as vegetables and seeds.

Do Parrots Love Bread?

I’ve noticed that many parrots enjoy eating bread for various reasons. Some may be curious about bread because their owners are eating it, or fallen breadcrumbs might appear like seeds and seem attractive to them. However, you should not be feeding your parrot bread simply because it has taken an interest in it, as bread is not a nutritious option of food.

Is Bread Safe for Parrots?

Bread is only safe for your parrots when fed sparingly. Feeding bread to your pet birds may not kill them, but it’s not completely good for their health. You should consider several aspects before giving your parrots bread.

Here’s why you should not feed your parrots too much bread:

  • Most bread are made with processed flour with low nutritional value. Offering such bread to your parrot only serves to limit the amount of nutrition it can obtain from otherwise proper food.
  • Bread contains a lot of carbohydrates that can cause weight gain and other multiple health problems in parrots when fed frequently. Besides, the parrot gets full to a point where he no longer has room for other foods.
  • Some breads contain a variety of additives or preservatives that could possibly harm your pet bird.
  • Some breads use salt in the baking process, which isn’t good for parrots. As our parrots have much smaller body masses than us humans, a small amount of salt can be significant for them.
  • Some breads use flavoring or toppings such as chocolate, which is definitely toxic for birds! Other toppings such as cream, cheese, butter and sugar may not be toxic, but are extremely unhealthy for the birds even in small amounts.
  • Dry chunks of bread may even choke your parrot as they have very little salivary secretions to soften the bread and swallow it smoothly. If you have ever eaten bread while your mouth is dry, you can surely understand how it feels – not so pleasant, and difficult to swallow!

Types of Bread 

If bread is your parrot’s favorite treat and you absolutely want to offer it some bread occasionally, choose healthier options for your bird. You should ideally choose a low sodium bread that is organically produced, or one that is made with whole meal or whole grains. Avoid giving large pieces to your parrot – small morsels occasionally would be good enough. The following are some of the most popular varieties of bread, which you can choose from depending on their qualities.

can parrots eat bread

Brown bread

Brown bread is made from wheat flour. The whole wheat grain is crushed without removing the germ and bran. It’s slightly healthier as it contains more fiber and other nutrients as compared to other types of bread.

Fiber enhances digestion of carbohydrates that in turn releases energy for your parrot. Again, it’s recommended that you feed your parrots brown bread occasionally.

White bread

White bread is made from wheat flour as well. As opposed to brown bread, the germ and bran layers are removed to make it white in appearance. White bread has an appealing crust, and a pleasant taste. However, white bread doesn’t offer any nutritional benefits for your bird. It only fills the stomach of your parrot with hardly any nutrition.

Wholegrain bread

Whole wheat bread is made from whole grain flour (such as wheat, oat, etc.) that has been partly or entirely milled. It’s a better bread option for your parrots because it contains more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals than all the other types of bread. Such bread also often have the entire grains sprinkled on the top of the bread, which can be interesting for your birds to peck on.

Often, such breads can be dry or hard, therefore, you need to break it into smaller pieces and soak it in water for a while to soften the bread. Always remember to offer your parrot wholegrain bread in moderation.

Rye bread

Rye bread is made by mixing crushed rye kernels with wheat flour. Rye bread is linked to many potential health benefits, such as improving heart health and reducing inflammation. Unlike in humans, rye bread is very difficult for birds to digest. So, give your parrots very small quantities of rye bread or just avoid it altogether.

Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread is a slow-fermented bread that doesn’t use commercial yeast. Birds love eating sourdough though it’s not an ideal bread option for them. It's a calorie dense bread that can easily cause obesity in birds.

Can Baby Parrots Eat Bread?

Baby parrots require a high amount of nutrition to grow healthily, hence it is not advisable to feed bread to baby parrots. Feeding them bread might make them feel too full for nutritional formula, or cause them to choke especially if they do not yet have the ability to eat independently.

Does Yeast in Bread Affect Parrots?

Some owners may be concerned about whether yeast in bread can cause a yeast infection in their parrots. Typically, yeast in bread are killed with the high heat of baking, and should not pose much risk for your birds. However, it is important to keep birds away from raw, unbaked dough that contain live yeast. Ingesting such dough can cause gastrointestinal health issues in your birds!

Final Notes

While bread is generally not harmful for your birds, it should ideally be avoided or only fed as a rare treat. Bread doesn’t contain significant nutritional benefits for your feathered friend. So, what’s the point of feeding bread to your pet birds?

Otherwise choose organic, low-sodium, or whole meal breads since they are safer and healthier for your parrot. You can bake one at home or use a local baker because you will be able to know the types and quantity of added ingredients. Don’t worry if your parrot is not fond of bread – they are not missing out in any way!
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