Diet for Alexandrine Parrots

Alexandrine parrots, also known as Alexandrine parakeets, are named for Alexander the Great, who enjoyed having them in his palace. Their diet is the same as for all small parrots. However, since they are larger than typical parakeets, their fresh food can be slightly larger. With a diet high in fresh foods and low in seeds and nuts, Alexandrine parrots can live to be 20 or 30 years old.

Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) in Thailand
Alexandrine parrots have large red bills, and tails that can be longer than their bodies.
credit: Warmlight/iStock/Getty Images

Varied Vegetables and Fruit

To replicate the diet Alexandrine parrots consume in the wild, feed a variety of vegetables and fruits in their diet. To find out what they prefer, offer most of the varieties you eat. Feed raw cucumber, radishes, kale, corn, mustard greens, okra and zucchini. Cook asparagus, lentils, potatoes, yams, beans, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. Try fruits such as apples, bananas, berries, citrus, plums, pomegranate, and dried fruits like raisins, currants and figs. Cut fruits and vegetables into bite-size pieces; remove seeds, pits and the flesh directly around pits, as these can be toxic.

Pelleted Parrot Mix

Pellets are prepared from fresh fruits and vegetables and contain vital vitamins and minerals. Some brands are also colorful, to appeal to birds' natural curiosity. An Alexandrine parakeet who eats a varied, healthy diet doesn't need supplemental pellet food. However, providing pellets ensures a healthful diet in the event the bird doesn't like the fresh food offered. A bird who consumes mostly seeds should be fed more pellets. Add a few pellets to his seeds so he understands pellets are food. Once he starts eating them, gradually increase the amount of pellets while decreasing the amount of seeds until he is eating all pellets.

Wholesome Grains

Healthy, cooked grains can compose as much as 50 percent of an Alexandrine parrot's diet. Variety is important here, too. Choose brown and wild rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, kasha, quinoa, barley, wheat pasta and tortillas. Be sure any crackers, bagels, popcorn and pretzels you offer are salt-free. Dry cereals should be low in sugar -- consider rice, bran, wheat, and corn flakes and squares.

Limited Meat and Dairy

Alexandrine parrots should get a small amount of meat for protein. Chicken, beef, lamb, liver, turkey and fish are good choices. Give them meats you eat, as long as it is thoroughly cooked. Salmon and tuna are best canned and water-packed. Although parrots are lactose-intolerant, a small amount of dairy adds calcium to their nutrition. Cook cheese with pasta or other food. A small amount of yogurt is good, but Alexandrine parrots should never have milk.

Seed and Nut Treats

Alexandrines will eat an all-seed and -nut diet if given the opportunity. However, seeds and nuts are high in fat and oil, and should therefore be given sparingly. Try giving sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and shelled nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts as rewards during training. Some owners eschew peanuts, as they can harbor bacteria. Sprouted seeds are an exception; they should be given regularly, either purchased or grown yourself by moistening seeds.

Warnings and What to Avoid

Some foods can be toxic to parrots and should not be given, including avocado, raw beans, lettuce, cabbage, fruit pits, apple and pear seeds, and chocolate. Don't give sweets of any kind, nor alcohol or foods containing caffeine.

Spinach is healthy in limited amounts. Onions, garlic, leeks and chives can potentially cause hemolytic anemia. Fresh foods can spoil quickly, so remove them after two hours. Refrigerate sprouts -- even refrigerated, sprouts can sour in only two days, so check for a sour odor before giving them.