Riverside Veterinary Clinic


Natural Diet In The Wild

Parrots living in the wild eat a large variety of food types, including berries, leaves, twigs, shoots, flowers and their buds, seeds and insects. Captive birds need a very wide range of foods in order to maintain good health and feather quality.

Diet Related Health Problems

Birds fed a limited diet often develop a deficiency in proteins, minerals and vitamins, especially Vitamin A deficiency. Common diet-related problems are:

  • poor immunity
  •  poor feather quality
  •  skin problems 
  •  sinusitis 
  •  abscesses on the face and in the mouth           
  • kidney disease
  •  fatty liver disease


Variety Is The Spice Of Life!

It's strongly recommended to follow the 'Ten Rule' of feeding at least TEN DIFFERENT TYPES of foods a day. Most foods that are green, orange and red in colour contain Beta Carotene, which is converted in the body to Vitamin A, and should be fed in abundance. These foods are underlined in the lists below.


Seeds are high in fat and low in most essential nutrients. For this reason, the proportion of seeds should not be in excess of 20% of the total diet. Don't give a bowl full of seeds as birds tend to fill up on them rather than eating the healthier foods. It's a good idea to mix in a small portion of seeds with your bird's other food.


These have the same appeal as seeds: very tasty, but high in fat and low in nutrients. Give no more than two nuts a day as a treat! Try unsalted almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts in addition to peanuts.


  • apples
  •  gooseb​erries
  • mangoes
  •  orange
  •  plums
  •  bananas           
  • granadillas
  • melons
  •  pawpaw
  •  rasberries
  • blueberries
  • grapes
  • naartjies
  • peaches
  • spanspek
  • dates (fresh)
  • litches
  • nectarines
  • pears
  • strawberries
  • fruit juice (natural only eg Liquifruit or Ceres)
  • pomegranates


  • youngberries



  • baby marrow (cooked) 
  • carrot
  • gem squash (cooked
  • peas
  •  radish
  • beetroot
  • cauliflower
  • green beans
  • peppers
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • mealies
  • potato (cooked)
  •  sweet potato (cooked)
  • butternut (cooked)
  • chillies
  • parsley
  • pumkin (cooked)
  • watercress



  • well cooked chicken
  • well cooked chicken bones
  • well cooked red meat (tiny amount)
  • hard cheese (in moderation)
  • boiled egg 3 times a week


Grains / Legumes / Pasta

All of the following should be well cooked:                          

  • barley
  • lentils
  • pasta
  • rice
  • beans
  • millet
  • quinoa
  • split peas

Cereals And Biscuits

Give cereals or biscuits without high quantities of salt or sugar. Serve the cereal dry or mixed with water – NO milk.

Cereals: For example Bran Flakes, Corn Flakes, Oats, Oatees, Rice Crispies and Weetbix.

Biscuits: For example  Cream Crackers, Marie Biscuits, Provitas, Rice Cakes, Ryvitas and Tennis Biscuits.


Commercial / Pellet Diets

These foods should not replace your bird's usual diet, but make an excellent addition:

* Kaytee Exact Conversion for birds that are weaning or converting from a seed-based diet.

* Kaytee Exact Rainbow for birds that have been converted onto a pellet diet.


Foods To Avoid

These foods can KILL your bird:

  • Chocolate
  • Avocado pear
  • Rhubarb


These foods can cause health problems:

  • Lettuce, cucumber, onion, garlic and tomato.
  • Sugary, salty or fatty foods – these are not processed well by the kidneys and liver.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Any drink containing alcohol or caffeine and sugary, fizzy drinks.
  • Apple seeds (contain traces of cyanide).
  • Milk - birds are lactose intolerant. Milk products should be limited to small amounts of hard cheese and natural or fruit yoghurt.
  • A number of uncooked beans are toxic eg soy, black, red, yellow wax and kidney beans.
  • Large quantities of bread / toast. (The yeast in bread can cause a yeast overgrowth).
  • Uncooked potato.
  • Foods high in preservatives such as processed meats and dried fruits.


Tips To Encourage Your Bird To Eat The Healthy Foods

  • Steam the vegetables – some birds prefer them cooked.
  • Serve the vegetables, grains or pasta warm (not hot).
  • Give your bird a portion of food when you eat – birds like to eat with their “flock”.
  • Hand your bird food or offer it on a spoon.
  • Chop finely or grate the food – small tit bits are more appetizing than large chunks.
  • Mix your bird's favourite foods with the other foods.
  • Sprout the sunflower seeds – these are tasty and nutritious.


62 Soofie Saheb Drive,
Durban North,

Consultations by appointment

Monday - Friday: 07:45 - 17:45
Saturday: 08:00- 11:45
Sunday: Closed
Public Holidays: Closed

Contact Us

Tel: 031 563 6565 / 66

Sherwood After Hours Emergency Clinic:
031 207 1300