Do Cockatoos Eat Meat? {Beef? Chicken? Pork? Fish?}

In my journey of understanding and caring for cockatoos, one question that often popped up among fellow bird enthusiasts was about their diet, specifically, “Do cockatoos eat meat?”

The answer is both intriguing and essential for anyone looking to provide the best nutrition for their feathered friend.

Do Cockatoos Eat Meat?

Cockatoos are primarily herbivores, feasting on a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, and flowers in the wild. Their diet is rich in plant matter, which provides them with the necessary nutrients for their energy and health.

They are also known to consume insects and their larvae, especially during breeding season when the demand for protein is higher. This can be seen as a form of animal protein in their diet, but it’s not the same as them consuming larger forms of meat.

While it’s okay to offer them occasional treats like cooked eggs for added protein, it’s not advisable to feed them meat like we might consume.

Always ensure that their primary diet consists of high-quality pellets, fresh fruits, vegetables, and occasional seeds and nuts.

Can Cockatoos Eat Dairy Products?

Not really. One sunny afternoon, as I was enjoying a bowl of yogurt, my cockatoo seemed particularly interested, tilting its head and eyeing my snack. It got me thinking, “Can cockatoos have dairy?”

Dairy products are not a natural part of a cockatoo’s diet. While some birds might show interest in foods like yogurt or cheese, it’s essential to proceed with caution.

Cockatoos, like many birds, have a limited ability to digest lactose, which is found in dairy. Offering them small amounts of low-lactose dairy products, like yogurt, occasionally might be okay.

Monitor for any signs of digestive upset. And always ensure that any dairy product given is free from added sugars or artificial flavors.

What Fruits Are Safe for Cockatoos?

During our weekend fruit shopping, I often pick up a variety of fruits, and my cockatoo always seems eager to share. But, “Which fruits are safe for cockatoos?”

Cockatoos love a range of fruits, and they can be a nutritious addition to their diet. Favorites often include:

  • apples
  • bananas
  • berries
  • melons

Ensure that all fruits are washed thoroughly to remove any pesticides. Also, some fruits, like avocados and the seeds of certain fruits like apples, can be toxic to cockatoos and should be avoided.

Always serve fruits in manageable sizes to prevent choking and remove any uneaten portions to avoid spoilage.

Are Nuts Safe for Cockatoos to Eat?

Yes, nuts are safe and can be a nutritious treat for cockatoos.

I remember the first time I offered a nut to my cockatoo. The excitement and curiosity in its eyes were undeniable. Nuts have since become a favorite treat, but I’ve learned a few things along the way:

  1. Variety: Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are among their favorites. However, ensure they’re unsalted and raw.
  2. Moderation: While nuts are nutritious, they’re also high in fat. It’s best to offer them as occasional treats.
  3. Safety: Always provide nuts in a size that’s manageable for your cockatoo to prevent any choking hazards.
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Can Cockatoos Eat Spicy Foods?

Interestingly, cockatoos can tolerate spicy foods.

One day, a stray chili pepper found its way near my cockatoo, and to my surprise, it was nibbled on with gusto! While it was a fun discovery, there are things to consider:

  1. Tolerance: Birds don’t have the same receptors as humans, so they don’t feel the “burn” from spicy foods.
  2. Benefits: Chili peppers are rich in vitamins and can be a healthy treat.
  3. Caution: While they can handle the heat, it’s essential to ensure the spicy food doesn’t contain other harmful ingredients.

Is Chocolate Safe for Cockatoos?

No, chocolate is toxic to cockatoos and should be avoided.

I recall a close call when a piece of chocolate was left within reach of my curious cockatoo. Thankfully, I intervened in time. It’s crucial for all bird owners to be aware of the dangers of certain foods:

  1. Toxicity: Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are harmful to birds.
  2. Symptoms: If ingested, it can lead to rapid breathing, diarrhea, and even seizures.
  3. Prevention: Always keep chocolate and cocoa products out of their reach and be vigilant during snack times.

How Important Are Vegetables in a Cockatoo’s Diet?

Vegetables play a vital role in a cockatoo’s diet.

Incorporating veggies into my cockatoo’s meals has been a colorful and nutritious journey. Their benefits are manifold, and here’s why they’re essential:

  1. Nutrients: Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber essential for a cockatoo’s health.
  2. Variety: From leafy greens to crunchy carrots, the variety keeps meals interesting and balanced.
  3. Preparation: Always ensure veggies are washed thoroughly. They can be served raw, steamed, or slightly cooked.

Should Cockatoos Be Given Supplements?

Supplements can be beneficial, but they should be given under guidance.

After a routine vet check-up, I was introduced to the idea of supplements for my cockatoo. While their primary diet should be balanced, sometimes supplements can help:

  • Specific Needs: Depending on age, health, or dietary restrictions, supplements can address specific nutritional needs.
  • Calcium: Especially for laying females, calcium supplements can be beneficial.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Cockatoos Eat Chicken?

While cockatoos primarily thrive on a plant-based diet, they can consume small amounts of cooked chicken. However, it should be given in moderation and without any added seasonings or sauces.

2. Is Fish Safe for Cockatoos?

Yes, cockatoos can eat fish. If you decide to offer fish, ensure it’s cooked thoroughly, boneless, and free from any seasonings. It can be a good source of protein for them.

3. Can Cockatoos Eat Beef or Pork?

It’s not typical for cockatoos to consume beef or pork in the wild. While they might nibble on it if offered, it’s best to stick to their natural diet of seeds, fruits, and occasional lean proteins.

4. Are Insects a Good Protein Source for Cockatoos?

Absolutely! In the wild, cockatoos often consume insects and their larvae, especially during breeding seasons. Offering them insects like mealworms can be a nutritious treat.

5. Should Cockatoos Be Given Processed Meats?

It’s advisable to avoid giving cockatoos processed meats like sausages or bacon. These often contain salt, preservatives, and other additives that can be harmful to birds.


Understanding the dietary preferences of cockatoos is essential for their well-being. While they primarily thrive on a plant-based diet, they can occasionally enjoy small amounts of lean protein sources like chicken and fish.

Additionally, insects can be a nutritious treat for them, resembling their natural diet in the wild. Avoid processed meats, which often contain harmful additives.

By catering to their dietary needs, we can ensure that our beloved cockatoos remain healthy and happy companions.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.