Due to their colorful appearance and talkative nature, parakeets are among the most popular pet birds in the US. They can be quite entertaining companions and grow attached to their owners in almost no time. Feeding them is easy, as well. You will notice that most of what they eat is already in your kitchen. But what about worms and bugs? Are they a part of their diet as well?
Can parakeets eat mealworms? Yes, they can. Parakeets occasionally consume mealworms in the wild. However, parakeets don’t need protein as much as the other birds. So, it is not necessary to feed them mealworms regularly. But when you do, make sure to buy them from a trusted supplier instead of collecting them on your own; this will ensure that the worms are free from any kind of contamination and safe for your pet to consume.
Are you curious about the health benefits of mealworms for your feathered pets? Or are you wondering which other insects can you feed them? Whatever your queries are, they will be clarified in this article.
The diet of Parakeets in the wild
Most parakeet-owners believe that these birds are pure vegetarians and should be kept away from any food that is not plant-based. This, however, is not entirely true.
Parakeets are tropical birds with an exceptionally diverse diet. They mainly feed on a variety of seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables.
In addition to it, they also snack on protein-rich foods such as bugs and worms occasionally. It means that these birds are not the herbivores you consider them to be.
Are mealworms healthy for Parakeets?
In the last section, we discussed how worms are a part of the natural diet of parakeets. However, do these worms add nutrients to their diet? How do they benefit their health? That’s what we will talk about here.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the nutritional value of mealworms:
Like all worms, mealworms have a high moisture content, which helps in keeping the parakeets hydrated. Another important nutrient that your feathered pets can gain from these worms is protein.
Mealworms are a rich source of protein for all birds, including parakeets. Protein is the building block of their bones, muscles, and feathers and also promotes the production of enzymes and hormones in their body. Thus, we can safely say that mealworms would be a healthy addition to your pet’s diet.
Will Parakeets eat mealworms?
While mealworms are perfectly healthy treats for the parakeets, whether they will eat them or not is another matter. These birds are known for being picky eaters and can be even fussier when it comes to eating worms.
Since most of the parakeets are used to eating fruits and vegetables, there’s a good chance that the taste of mealworms wouldn’t appeal to them.
Whether a parakeet will eat mealworms or not is completely dependent upon its individual taste. While some pet-owners state that their birds won’t touch the worms, there are others who claim that their parakeets can’t get enough of them.
So, if you serve your parakeet mealworms a couple of times and their dish remains untouched, take the hint. Force-feeding them these snacks will do them no good.
The downside of feeding mealworms to Parakeets
So far, we’ve talked about the health benefits of mealworms for parakeets. But if you want to make an informed decision about feeding them these worms, you must also be aware of its downsides.
Let’s talk about the most pressing concern about feeding mealworms to parakeets:
When it comes to feeding worms to your pet, we always recommend you to buy the worms from a trusted supplier or pet store instead of collecting them yourself. This is because the worms in your garden, backyard, or neighborhood usually feed on dead or decaying insects and the feces of other animals.
They might be carrying a number of bacteria and parasites that could transfer into your pet when they feed on these worms. While it might have no immediate effect on the parakeets, it will make them sick over time and can even lead to their death eventually.
If you can’t find a worm supplier or bait shop in your neighborhood, you can always order these worms online, where you can find both dried as well as live mealworms. As long as you stick to feed them mealworms bought from a trustworthy source, your pet birds will be safe and healthy.
How often should Parakeets be fed mealworms?
A straightforward answer to this question would be: not too often. For those of you who are unaware of it, parakeets, as well as the other birds of the parrot family, don’t eat as many insects as the other bird species.
These birds are mainly dependent on fruits and veggies for their nutrition, even in the wild. Besides, their protein requirement is also lower than that of the other birds. So, you don’t need to feed them mealworms too often; a couple of mealworms once a week would suffice.
Other insects that Parakeets can eat
Are you wondering if there are any other insects that parakeets can feed on, except for parakeets? Because there are plenty. Let’s learn more about some of them:
When it comes to feeding birds, crickets are often the first choice among all the insects. They have low-fat content and are rich in protein and fibers. However, when they’re alive, they’re so fast and bouncy that it would be impossible for your parakeets to catch them. Thus, feeding them frozen crickets is the most convenient alternative.
Just like crickets, the grasshoppers are also fast insects that are not easy to catch, particularly for the parakeets. However, health-wise, they’re very beneficial because they are rich in Vitamins A, B, and C and protein.
Parakeets often feed on caterpillars in the wild. But since they have a high-fat content, too many of these can make your parakeet obese.
Plant-based protein sources for Parakeets
Many parakeet-owners out there don’t feel comfortable with the idea of feeding worms to their feathered pets. If you’re one of them and are looking for other protein-rich food alternatives for them, we can help you out.
Following is the list of foods that will meet the protein requirement of your pet parakeets without having to feed them worms or bugs:
Frequently asked questions
Can I feed nuts to my parakeet? Yes, parakeets can safely eat nuts. If you want to feed them the ones they love, you can go for almond, pistachio, walnut, pecan, cashew, or macadamia nuts. These nuts are nutrient-dense and appeal to their taste buds.
Are eggs okay for parakeets to eat? Yes. Contrary to popular belief, parakeets can safely eat eggs. Eggs are not only rich in protein but are also perfect for adding diversity to their diet.
Can parakeets feed on onions? No. Onions, along with all the other allium family vegetables, contain thiosulphate, which causes bloating and hemolytic anemia in parakeets.
Conclusion: Can Parakeets eat mealworms?
To sum it up, parakeets can eat mealworms. Like all the other worms, mealworms are also a rich source of protein for parakeets and be fed to them as a healthy snack. However, you must be careful about moderation because too many of these worms can disturb the moisture balance in your parakeet’s system and even cause diarrhea.
You should also be careful about feeding them mealworms that are safe from all kinds of bacteria and parasites. To ensure that, you should always buy the worms from a reliable store or online.