Feeding fruits to parrots in LPF

December 7th, 2021 | by Rafael Zamora Padron
Feeding fruits to parrots in LPF

Whether parrots prefer one fruit or another is always the choice of each individual parrot. In fact, within the same pair of adult Amazon parrots, the female may show a preference for red pepper and the male only for the green one. And one of their offspring may not even show an appetite for peppers in general terms. At Loro Parque Fundación we pay a lot of attention to such details.

Personal observation of this variety of preferences is very important in balancing the nutrition of our parrots. Offering a plate full of choices for each species gives satisfaction to the person who has prepared the menu. But just as important as this presentation is the observation of what has been eaten, in what quantity and which of the birds have eaten it. In these sentences are the key points to understand the enrichment of a healthy and balanced diet for the parrots we are taking care of.

Psittacara leucopthalmus

One might think that the more varied the food offered, the better, and that this would be enough to ensure that the animals always have what they need at their disposal. However, this is far from the truth, as parrots do not usually have a constant, let alone abundant, supply of all kinds of food in nature. This has meant that they have evolved to be prepared for seasonal dietary changes and food shortages. It is therefore relevant that the food offered by human care is not always present and plentiful. The parrot also needs your absence in order for your subsequent presence to take effect. Playing with this knowledge with the help of seasonal food is an advanced step in parrot management.

We are always interested in the foods or fruits used by that or the other breeder to improve the particular diets, but we do not insist on knowing the timing and quantities they use. Besides, we do not take into account the conditions offered to each individual parrot in particular circumstances.

In the case of adult parrots, especially with the American species, the preference for unripe fruit is clear. Their adaptation to the environment makes them opt for younger fruits that other species do not consume. However, replicating this at the level of care in controlled environments is not so easy. Parrots often wait until the fruits on the tree are ready to germinate.

Golden Conure eggs

For some species, green fruits offered in large quantities are unsuitable as they can affect iron absorption at the metabolic level and this would not be desirable for the health of delicate species such as lorises or more frugivorous species.

Over-ripe fruits will contain high levels of sugars, which are unsuitable for sedentary or ageing parrots, which will tend to put on weight. It is always preferable to have as little fruit as possible, rather than too much, as this type of food encourages the growth of fungus and bacteria in the leftovers.

Another effect that should be taken into account is laxative. Both fruit and vegetables accelerate the intestinal tract of parrots. They also change the composition of the faeces. In fact, it is not advisable to give them vegetables and fruit if they are on medication, as this would not have the same effect. It is good that they are left wanting more. And this quantity can be measured by each breeder, with observation and practice. Knowing that a single parrot does not eat the same amount as a couple. Nor will individual consumption be the same for a group of 3 as for a group of 11 birds.

Marcia Weinzettl with babies of Golden Conures

At Loro Parque Fundación we strive to ensure that each species of parrot has a wide variety of fruits with different shapes, colours, textures and flavours. As we said, variety is more important than quantity. These kinds of additives are part of all the necessary additives to complete the successful breeding of the species. A good example is our curator Marcia Weinzettl with an impressive experience with the genus Guaruba, who is already achieving her first results with a young group of this species. And the yellow colour is once again added to the wide range of chicks of the different species that breed stably every year in our facilities.

Author: Rafael Zamora Padrón, Scientific Director of LPF

Photos: Loro Parque Fundación


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