Ten of the Best Vegetables to Feed Your Parrots

close up of a green parrot

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These ten vegetables are wonderful for your parrot! And with so many choices, you have the opportunity to give them the variety they deserve and the nutrition they need. Variety is the spice of life, and adding these vegetables to your nutritional arsenal will only benefit both you and your flock. All of the properties of these vegetables apply to humans as well so be sure to include these vegetables in your diet for the same nutritional benefits.

  • 01 of 10

    Collard Greens: A Gift From the South

    Fresh collard greens in brown wicker basket
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    Obviously a staple in the Southern region of the US, they have many health benefits including the ability to lower your cholesterol, even more so when you steam it. However the traditional method of serving, that being stewing it within an inch of its life and serving it with ham hocks isn’t going to have that effect. But raw or simply steamed makes it good for both you and your birds. The health benefits are many. Research has indicated a connection between collard greens and cancer prevention due to the support it gives to three body systems: the detox system, the antioxidant system, and the anti-inflammatory system. The boost it simultaneously gives these three is what makes those anti-cancer properties work. 

  • 02 of 10

    Romaine Lettuce: Who Knew?

    Head of Romaine
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    Now here is a leafy green you wouldn’t think would be worth much in the nutrition department. It does have a rather solid amount of folic acid which is a water-soluble form of vitamin B. Romaine has a rather mild taste and your flock might be attracted to its crunchiness. The bright green color indicates great nutrition. Believe it or not, romaine lettuce is 17% protein and it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It also has more vitamin A than carrots. It has 182% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A whereas carrots only contain 40%.

  • 03 of 10

    Parsley: Curly or Italian, It's Your Choice

    ​Rough Cut Parsley With Scissors
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    People used to believe parsley was toxic to birds. Well, turns out it’s all hogwash because it’s loaded with Vitamin K and has a respectable amount of Vitamin A. It is a wonderful source of anti-oxidants which fight against free radicals in the body. And there is nothing toxic about it for your birds. It has a bright taste and the curly variety adds texture as well as taste. Chop it up fine for chop and it will stick to everything. There is only so much picking a parrot can do. When it's finely chopped they really can't avoid it, so it'll be sure to end up in your bird's stomach. 

  • 04 of 10

    Leaf Lettuce: Reinforcing Those Bones

    close up of Fresh Leaf Lettuce
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    Really? Yes! Leaf lettuce goes a long way in reinforcing bone strength and density due to the vitamin K in it. They did some studies in nursing homes and found that serving a couple of cups of it a day reduced hip fracture risk. And we all want our little guys to have strong healthy bones, so a salad with leaf lettuce or used as a lettuce wrap containing other healthy vegetables is a good idea. Lettuce wraps all around!

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Chicory: From the Coffee Cup to the Bowl

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    You may have used this as a coffee substitute, as it is caffeine-free. We've used radicchio in chop for African Greys because of the red color and snappy bitter taste. This little miniature head of lettuce with the purple-red and white veined coloring has been found to be loaded with polyphenols — a very robust micronutrient that go a long way in preventing disease. Now that is something that your flock will benefit from!

  • 06 of 10

    Spinach: Popeye Got It Right

    Close up of Spinach
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    Spinach is tricky. Too much of it can cause the leaching of calcium in both you and your bird’s system. And of course, due to the iron, you shouldn’t feed it to any species prone to iron storage disease. But every now and then for your parrots is just fine. Serve it as is in leaf form, or you can chop it up and serve it sprinkled over other foods. African Greys enjoy the soft texture and the taste. Maybe Popeye was right all along!

  • 07 of 10

    Beet Greens: Save Those Tops

    Golden Beetroots in wooden box
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    Now that more and more grocery stores and markets are competing with the farmer’s markets and co-ops, golden beets are becoming more readily available. Golden beets don’t bleed, and they are a gorgeous shade of bright yellow that almost looks like it glows. Any time you have a strong color in a vegetable, it is an indication of a lot of nutrition. So use the golden beetroots as well as the tops in your Chop. The tops are so nutritious for both you and your flock! And professional chefs are catching on to the “beet greens” trend. Those beet tops that they used to throw away? They are now charging a premium price for this previous “waste” and putting it in salads in some of the best restaurants in the country. So next time you buy beets, remember your parrots and look for the beet bunch with a lot of green still attached. 

  • 08 of 10

    Swiss Chard: A Nutritional Rainbow

    Swiss Chard leaves
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    Swiss chard is incredibly colorful stuff, if you buy the rainbow chard, and birds seem to be attracted to the bright colors. And, it’s a powerful vegetable in the nutrition department. It defends against diabetes and contains up to 13 different polyphenols, naturally occurring chemicals that have an antioxidant getting rid of free radicals. This particular green kicks some nutritional rear end. It's a tasty and crunchy addition to anything you choose to make with it. Surprisingly, Swiss chard contains 300% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Chinese Cabbage: More Than for Stir Fry

    Chinese Cabbage
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    You might think this is just another cabbage-like green that was used extensively in stir-fries and other Asian dishes. But as it turns out, the Asian culture was on to something when they included this vegetable in their diet. You see it called Napa or celery cabbage, and it has sources of highly available calcium and iron as well as preventing inflammation. It’s a pretty mild, crunchy cruciferous vegetable and adapts well to many different combinations of flavors. But the thought that it can prevent and reduce the chances of inflammation is something to take note of. 

  • 10 of 10

    Watercress: The New Queen of Nutrition

    Close up of Watercress
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    Yes, the #1 most respected vegetable these days is watercress. It unseated kale in the last couple of years and now watercress wins “Best In Show” of the SuperfoodChampionships. It is now ramping up in the supermarkets as the popular new green to consume. Research has found that eating two cups of this a day could reduce any damage to your DNA that is linked to cancer by about 17%. It is also loaded to the gills with Vitamin A and Vitamin K. No need to cook this delicate green for your birds. Just offer it as is or snip with scissors to put in Chop. It’s a little bitter, much like arugula, but once you develop a taste for it there’s no going back. Birds love the stuff! And more and more grocery stores are carrying this powerful green and making it available to more families with birds.

Article Sources
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Feskanich, Diane. Vitamin K intake and hip fractures in women: a prospective studyThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 69, Issue 1, January 1999, Pages 74–79, doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/69.1.74

  2. Zheng, Jiakun et al. Protocatechuic Acid From Chicory Is Bioavailable And Undergoes Partial Glucuronidation And Sulfation In Healthy HumansFood Science & Nutrition, vol 7, no. 9, 2019, pp. 3071-3080. Wiley, doi:10.1002/fsn3.1168

  3. Joo HK, Choi S, Lee YR, et al. Anthocyanin-Rich Extract from Red Chinese Cabbage Alleviates Vascular Inflammation in Endothelial Cells and Apo E-/- MiceInt J Mol Sci. 2018;19(3):816. Published 2018 Mar 12. doi:10.3390/ijms19030816