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Can Parrots Eat Crickets?

Updated: Nov 25, 2022




A delicacy in many countries, crickets are a popular snack for people in places outside of the western world. Crickets are also a main food group for many household pets, such as, lizards. This odd food is safe for humans and many other animals to eat, but is it safe for parrots to eat?


To answer this question… yes you can feed your parrot crickets, but maybe you shouldn’t. In the wild, parrots are known to eat many insects like crickets. However, they lack the proper nutritional value and can be dangerous for a few reasons.


With other options for bird food on the market, crickets rank low on the list of what vets recommend. Let’s look into how you can prepare crickets, alternatives, and the dangers involved.


When it comes to your parrot, you want to feed them the most nutritious foods. Crickets are available at many pet stores, so let’s dive into if you should buy them for your parrot. We will discuss:



  • Nutrients in crickets

  • Nutrients your parrot needs to sustain a healthy diet

  • Dangers of feeding crickets to your parrot

  • How to prepare crickets to serve to your parrot

  • Alternative foods to feed your parrot


Is there any nutritional benefits in crickets for parrots?


Protein


The main draw to eating crickets is the high amounts of protein found in the insect.

Comparing crickets with beef, crickets contain more protein by the gram. Beef is often known as a protein rich food that weightlifters and those looking to gain muscle bulk up on.


However, 30 grams of crickets come to a total of 20 grams of protein. Whereas, 30 grams of beef comes to a total of 8 grams of protein.


This sounds enticing, although this is far too much protein for your parrot.


Protein is essential to any diet. However, birds do not need an immense amount of protein.


Since their diet consists of mainly seeds, protein in other forms is important. Lack of protein in a parrot’s diet can lead to over eating to compensate and eventually obesity.


With crickets storing a large amount of protein, they can be too much for your parrot. An influx of protein in a bird’s diet can result in a hormone imbalance. This will cause your parrot to become irritable and demonstrate difficult behavior because of the hormone surge.


Calcium and Phosphorus


Crickets are high in calcium. Crickets can offer more calcium than milk. 30 grams of crickets is equal to 43 milligrams of calcium. Parrots need quite a bit of calcium to stay healthy, so this ratio sounds great! That is until we look into the calcium: phosphorus ratio. Phosphorus ratio in crickets comes to a total of .08. This isn’t an overwhelming number if a human was looking to add crickets into their diet, but for the parrot, it is far too much.


Calcium is high on the list of minerals your parrot should consume. Crickets cover the need for calcium well. They are high in the mineral, which means your parrot will receive their daily amount of calcium with this food. However, the phosphorus level in crickets is about 25% higher than what a parrot should consume. You should typically stick to a 2:1 ratio of calcium and phosphorus in your parrot’s diet. This means twice the amount of calcium to phosphorus. Crickets can provide a lot of calcium, but at the expense of too much phosphorus for your bird friend.


If you still would like to feed your parrot crickets, make sure to sprinkle a calcium carbonate on the crickets before consumption. This will level out the ratio of calcium and phosphorus and make the crickets safer for your bird.


Iron


Crickets are also known for having a high amount of iron. Comparing again with beef, crickets contain more iron. 30 grams of crickets contain 2.3 milligrams of iron vs only 1 milligram of iron in beef. Iron is a necessary vitamin for your bird’s diet, but too much can cause health risks and diseases.


The nutritional value of crickets can be good for your parrot at low quantities. However, with parrot’s dietary needs not matching up perfectly with crickets, it’s best to keep them away.

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