Parrotlets are also known as miniature parrots. They are playful, energetic little birds with enormous appetites. They are very social birds, preferring to live with other parrotlets as opposed to alone or just in one pair. A parrotlet can live up to 20 years, but they require a well-balanced diet to maintain their health.
Diet for Parrotlets
Parrotlets require a variety of foods to give them the proper balance of the vitamins and minerals. They should not be fed parakeet seed, because it does not provide adequate nutrition. Cockatiel or small hookbill seed can be served, but it should contain sunflower seeds. Millet spray is a great favorite of parrotlets, but serve it only once a week because the birds may not eat anything else. Parrotlets love fruit and should be treated to a variety of it daily when possible. They prefer apples, bananas, grapes, peaches and berries. Parrotlets should never be fed avocado. Other fruits are perfectly safe, although citrus should be served only once or twice a week. Vegetables are another staple of the parrotlet diet. Among other things, they enjoy Brussels sprouts, corn, squash, radishes, potatoes and tomatoes. They also enjoy greens such as spinach, mustard greens, carrot tops, Chinese cabbage and dandelion greens. Lettuce is mainly composed of water and should be avoided. Protect your bird by either thoroughly washing all foods before serving them or buying only organic produce. Grains are also an important part of a parrotlet's diet. Your bird can be served things such as cooked oatmeal, steamed rice, cooked pasta, whole wheat bread and popcorn.
Parrotlets should also eat foods rich in protein several times weekly. Nuts and seeds are a good choice, but shell them before serving because the birds cannot crack some shells. Beans such as garbanzo, pinto, and butter beans should be cooked before serving. You can also serve cooked eggs, beef or chicken in small amounts. Cooked fish and hard cheeses are also favorites. But don't leave cooked foods in the cage for long periods, as that allows bacteria to breed.
What to Avoid
Along with the above-mentioned lettuce and avocados, parrotlets should not be fed chocolate, tobacco or alcohol. They should also not be fed grit. Many supplements are available for parrotlets but are not necessary if you feed your bird a balanced diet.