Parrots are flock animals and in the wild, young birds learn what is good to eat by following the flock. In captivity, hand-raised birds identify with humans as their “flock”. This is why your birds will want to eat what you are eating, whether it is healthy or not. It is your responsibility, as a bird owner, to teach your birds how to eat healthily. The majority of health problems in pet birds originate from dietary excesses (fats) and deficiencies (vitamins and minerals).

Indian Ringneck and Alexandrine parrots originate from the forests of Asia – they are accustomed to a richer diet than Australian desert parrots. They are canopy feeders and their diets include more fats and fruits.

Pellets (formulated diets)

pelleted diets are nutritionally balanced. Many brands are commercial available (both Australian made and foreign). Birds need to be converted to pelleted diets, under supervision. To be effective, pellets need to comprise 80% of their total diet. Birds on pelleted diets still need fruit, vegetables, green grass seed and green leafy browse for behavioural enrichment.


Asiatic parrots can have sunflower seed in their mix – never excessive. We recommend Breeders Choice small parrot mix which contains an acceptable level of sunflower. These parrots can also be offered nuts (preferably not peanuts) e.g. Hazel, almond & walnuts. Seed and nuts should be kept in sealed containers and refrigerated/frozen to maintain freshness.


Parrots on seed based diets need vitamin supplementation (pelleted diets should contain the necessary vitamins). We use Vetafarm Soluvet. This can be added to the water or sprinkled on the fruit and vegetables as per label.


Mineral supplement in the form of shell grit, oyster shell, cuttle fish is beneficial.



A wide variety of seasonal fruits should be provided – apple, orange, banana, grapes, melons, strawberries, kiwi fruit, pawpaw, mango, lychee, stone fruit etc.


Sweet corn, silver beet spinach, beans, peas, lettuce, celery, sprouted seeds (bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts).

The following deep green and orange vegetables need to be lightly steamed to break down the cellulose and make them more digestible:- sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin, broccoli, brussel sprouts. These can be offered warm first time around to encourage the birds to try it.

Wild Food

Milk thistle, green grass seeds, chick weed, dock, dandelion can be offered


Provide green leafy branches from Australian native trees for your birds to chew. This provides behavioural enrichment and occupational therapy for your pet. Wattle, bottle brush, melaleuca, grevillia, ti-tree, gum, lilly pilly, banksias, acacia provide necessary opportunities for the birds’ instinctive chewing and foraging behaviour.

Toxic Foods

Avocado and chocolate

Unhealthy Foods

Never feed fatty, salty, processed human foods. Never feed dairy products – butter, cheese, milk, etc. Never feed tea, coffee, alcohol. Birds don’t have the metabolism to cope with these foods. Always be guided by what they would eat in the wild.

© Peter Wilson July 2010

Information supplied by (c) Currumbin Valley Vet Services August 2010

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  1. Hi there
    Have our ringneck parrot now a few months, she started to be aggressive and loosing theaters… Less talking.. Don’t alow us close to her for head scratches.. What can’t it be?

    1. Hey! Sorry for the late response! Hope she is still ok! Parrots usually do not allow anyone to attempt to get close to them when they are sick. As i remember it’s a natural thing. I would recommend you to get her to a vet when you can!

    2. Hi Karin, I am an IRN parent as well. I came across your post and was wondering if you ever got things sorted with your feather baby? I know it has been a year since this post and I hope that everything is going well.

    3. My bird did the same we just had to get his trust back. We didn’t touch the cage and we just spoke rlly soft and we gave him fruit when he didn’t bite

  2. Hi. I’ve always been told lettuce is bad for Alexandrine’s and your saying go for it in your blog. Are you sure?
    I’ve also been told onion of bad?
    Comments please?

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