The Dangers Of Fruits Seeds And Pits

The Dangers Of Fruits Seeds And Pits

 August 23rd, 2010
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Q:  Is it safe to let my parrot eat fruit seeds?

A:  Whenever you question whether or not something is safe for your bird, it is always best to opt against using it until you know for certain.  My philosophy is: when in doubt, don’t. Fruit is wonderful for your parrot but the seeds cause a lot of confusion because some are bad and others are not. Here is a list use can use a guideline:

The seeds of apples and the pits of cherries, peaches, plums, pears, apricots and nectarines are all unsafe to give to your birds.  They contain varying levels of a cyanide compound that can cause death. In humans, it would take many, many apple seeds to cause us to feel the effects of the poison, but, of course, parrots would succumb much more quickly to a smaller amount. If your bird gets a hold of a couple of apple seeds, it really isn’t a big deal, and you don’t need to rush him to the vet.
Keep in mind that the larger the seed or pit, the higher the amount of toxins they contain. Chewing them releases amounts of poison that might otherwise remain locked inside the hull and pass through the system without causing much harm.  Unfortunately, birds chew everything, and if given the opportunity to chew open a pit, they will.

The seeds contained in grapes, cantaloupe, cranberries, watermelon and pomegranates are all safe for birds to eat as well as the seeds of citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons.  While they are not fruits, the seeds from squashes and pumpkins are also safe.  Sometimes giving these seedy portions of fruits and vegetables will entice a bird to eat the flesh around them.

The pomegranate is a most interesting fruit. The only thing edible about it is the seed portion.  The seeds are surrounded by a foam-like textured flesh covered in a tough rind.  This is a great foraging toy for a bird and I serve it as pictured above.

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146 Comments on “The Dangers Of Fruits Seeds And Pits”

benazir  08/26/2010 2:04 pm

is sugarcane safe for my birds?

Joan Groves  08/26/2010 2:41 pm

Thank you for posting this. I have been giving my Blue & Gold Peach pits… I will no longer do that.

therese blackvurn  08/26/2010 6:44 pm

Noah, my indian ringneck,s favorite is to crunch on kiwi seeds, not sure if he actually eats them, are they safe??

therese  08/26/2010 7:14 pm

noah my indian ringneck loves kiwi’s and nibbles on the seeds are they o.k??

glynn  08/26/2010 11:48 pm

gave my bird my fruit salad from a restaurant and she left everything but the watermelon and kiwi- both of which she loved. there was coconut in there too but she left that behind too. how do you feed fresh beans and or peas and which are good for them?

jean  08/27/2010 3:51 am

My African Grey,who I have had for 11 years,loves pomegranete and passion fruit,she spits out the seeds in grapes,but I have never given her apple pips,I wouldn’t eat them either,&I read somewhere never give them avocoda.

Chris  08/27/2010 6:39 am

hello parrot lovers of the world
thankyou Chet for your valuable information. Jimmi my cockatoo loves hot potato chips. I heard potatoes are not good for parrots. Is that cooked or raw? He only gets them (one or two) as a treat not often
regards Chris

JoannMurnane  08/27/2010 10:06 am

Thank`s for the information. Joann

Alecia Houston  08/27/2010 11:24 am

My Umbrella Cockatoo Gabby loves all kinds of peppers and their seeds he also loves tomatoes and their seeds green beans and their seeds are they safe for him?! Please answer as soon as possible as he eats them almost every day! He also loves to forage cucumbers! PLEASE SOMEONE LET ME KNOW SOON! GABBY IS MY LIFE! PLEASE reply my email address is I would be so thanklful! I also have Gabby’s parents (15 years before Gabby came never set up to breed! Quite the SURPRISE!) two Blue and Gold McCaws and an African Grey. They all love the above mentioned foods! Thank You to anyone who replies now I am terrifed of feeding them something that I thought was good for them and may in fact harm them! I knew some of the information but now see not enough! Bless You,
Alecia Houston

Felix torres  08/27/2010 2:58 pm

thanks for the insights on seeds .I always pitted the fruit I gave my grey and cockatoo but all info helps’s the baby?

Jess  08/27/2010 8:23 pm

Uhm, gave my Amazon Mealy a pomegranate a few years ago, she was on the floor of the cage for two days! No more promegranate for her……

MADHU  08/28/2010 5:45 am

I have cockatiels. The safe seeds which you have written in the article are they safe for cockatiels too?

Deborah  08/28/2010 7:48 pm

I have a quaker and a Nanday. What kind of fruit and veggys are okay to give them?

I give them at times sweet potatoe, grapes and corn on the cob, not sure what else they would love.

Just bird seed has got to get old after a while.

Patty  08/28/2010 10:47 pm

Hi Jess,
I’m sorry your bird was not feeling well, but there is no relation to her eating pomegranate. It’s perfectly safe and good for them too.

Patty  08/28/2010 11:07 pm

Hi Amanda,
Eggs are great for birds, but only in moderation -maybe once or twice a week would be great. He won’t become addicted to an egg, but might start throwing a tantrum when he doesn’t get on every day.

Patty  08/28/2010 11:17 pm

Hey Sarah,
Parrots DO NOT require grit in their diet. There are some older books on parrot care that say differently, but it is old information. It was once thought that grit was needed to help a parrot grind down seed in its stomach. We now know that a parrot has a powerful muscular portion of their stomach that gets the job done fine on its own. Further, parrots hull their seeds and eat only the soft insides. So, no grit is needed.
And yes, conures talk. This course will show you how to teach your bird:

Patty  08/28/2010 11:23 pm

Hi Laurenne,
Most of my birds definitely prefer their veggies to fruit. Here’s a link to a post with some ideas for you to try: Banana peel won’t hurt your bird.

Lisa Tovar  08/28/2010 11:45 pm

Thank you so much, I had no idea that apple and plum seed were bad for my parrot I give her apple with seeds everyday, as of now no more.

Hans  08/29/2010 6:07 am

I’m a little confused with this report. I have been feeding my parrots most of the noted unsafe fruits, when in season, on a daily basis for over 20years now and have never had a problem? I have also never removed the Pits and or seeds whilst prepairing there daily feeds. Does this only appy to the USA? I’m in South Africa and have Yellow Naped Amazon, Goffin Cockatoo, African Greys and others. Please advise

Patty  08/29/2010 6:40 pm

Hi Hans,
First of all, the fruits are all safe and great for your birds, only the pits or seeds mentioned are dangerous, and their toxic content is the same everywhere. This could just be a matter of your birds not biting into the pits with any regularity. You are fortunate that this is the case as I have read of deaths occurring with the seeds and pits cited as the cause. I don’t think this is a problem with all birds, clearly not yours. But problems happen often enough that I felt the warning should be put out there. Better safe than sorry.

Bembie  08/29/2010 7:28 pm

Help . My African grey Mickey wont eat any fruit except apples an pomigranites. He also is very selective about the veggies he eats. If he does not like them he throws em at me an the cats 🙁 what do i do?

angie  08/30/2010 12:25 pm

please help !!! i recently bought a blue and gold macaw , i thought i knew enough about her , but now i’m not so sure …can anyone tell me about how much of whatever she should eat daily ?? i love her so so much already , i just need to know that i’m doing enough for her so , please , all advice will greatly be appreciated !!

tanya  08/31/2010 12:08 pm

thanks for the tip ,i have a sun conure and a jenday conure,the y love fruits .now i know to make sure i take out all the seeds

Patty  08/31/2010 9:09 pm

Hi Angie,
Here’s a link to a post that will give you all the details:

linda  09/01/2010 1:48 am

i mix up a big batch of cooked brown rice, couscous, cooked frozen mixed veggies, corn, peas, hard boiled eggs chopped up, and powdered bone meal (from health food store). i pkg. it up in snack sized baggies and freeze. a pkg. left in the refrig. overnite will defrost. i put it in microwave for about 12 seconds to take the chill off. my plumhead parrakeet loves the inside of sweet peppers, seeds and all. also loves the marrow from chicken wing bones! he is now 22 years old and just passed his annual exam with flying colors! he is a great eater–will try anything once.

EVA TZOREF  09/02/2010 12:01 pm

Fruits are healthy for parrots but are some one that not good to give from them to
much.Promegranats, grapes ,cherry, date including lot of iron, what is not so good for the birds.
A few pices it’s ok, but must be feed carefully.
Tomato, eggplant are from the family solanum, what is poisning for parrots.
Also for people is not good to eat the yellow or green part from the tomato, beacuse if it is not enough rippen this part incloud the solanum.

Debbie  09/03/2010 11:54 pm

What I don’t understand is why no one posting has ever consulted their Avian Vet !!! I bring my Quakers in at least once a year. I ask a ton of questions about everything, especially diet. My vet is an expert…..Dr. Peter Sakas (Chicago. Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Center) He has written articles on diet and other things. google him. Avocado… for sure OFF the list. Scrambled eggs are great, just remove the yoke, alittle is ok. and also I take the egg shells and grind down to a powder and sprinkle into the eggs as i scramble them…..they get calcium and protein. Also, learn to look at and ‘read’ their poop. important. Also, remember about the non-stick frying pans…….the fumes released can kill your bird. Important thing is to LEARN from the vet, other pros, and read. If in doubt, ask your Avian Vet. My first vet didn’t really care much for birds, and his advice nearly killed my bird. So find a real bird-loving vet!

Patty  09/04/2010 2:11 pm

Hi Debbie,
Many people here are new to living with birds and we welcome their questions. Please keep in mind that avian vets are not easy to come by in many areas. I am pleased that these people are seeking out sources for information and looking for assistance as needed. Consider the alternative…

KathyH  09/04/2010 3:33 pm

My goffin cockatoo LOVES the seeds inside papayas! It’s his favorite food. He also loves sno peas.

KathyH  09/04/2010 3:54 pm

Other foods that our goffin likes include little pieces of bell pepper, mango pieces, watermelon, cantaloupe, kale, cauliflower pieces, any kind of pasta or rice, little pieces of chicken, bread (he dips it in his water and then eats it), and, of course, the striped sunflower seeds. I also give him the corner off of an ear of corn, and he loves to nibble on it. He LOVES it when I put ice chips in his water bowl and will sit and sip on his water for a half an hour. I’m aware of the various “bad” seeds and avoid them. As I mentioned before, his favorite food are little chunks of papaya with the seeds. I often just scrape a whole bunch of the seeds into his fruit/veggie bowl. He gets a little buffet of fruits and veggies every day, and rewards me with lots of hugs and kisses. The only problem we have is he hates our adult son for some reason, and he screams and screams when he comes into the house. He has also developed a dislike for my husband, and we don’t know why. We love our little goffin so much – any ideas on how to get him to behave and accept my husband and son more? He’s also great at mimicking, but doesn’t talk much.

Fontainne Schoenfeld  09/12/2010 2:12 pm

I am fortunate enough to have a husband who planted two pomegranate trees. My macaw and african grey love this fruit and make a wonderful mess for me to clean up as pomegranates are sticky. They love the seeds so much, how could I possibly deny them? We also have apples, pear trees and crabapple trees in our yard and I know they are safe because we don’t spray them with any poisons because of the birds. I knew about the seeds but thanks for telling others so they can change their feeding habits for their birds.

luis  09/14/2010 5:14 am

Im am from mexico city and i love to learn about how to take care of my parrots better every time thanks so much to teach me what to do with their food, because i give them fruits and vegetables once in a while but i never knew what kind of seeds were dangerous for them and because in my country we have the whole fruits and vegetables the whole year i thougt they can eat the fuit just like they are without taking off the seeds. thanks

Donna Bourne  09/15/2010 9:08 am

Five years ago, I am saddened to say, I bought a bean burritto and it had avocado on it, I left it in the refrigerator, and had to go out of town during a move, my roommate gave it to my Greater, sulphur crested cockatoo, we dearly loved one evening just before bedtime, unkowingly of course. In the morning frosty had her little head in her cup dead of a heartattack. I had her 26 years, and handfed her as a baby, this was so devastating, I still cry just writing this. I still have my adorable sadie, she is 30 now, and I also handfed her as a baby, she missed frosty for a long time, and kept biting me at first. so this is a waring to all most avocados are poisonous to birds. from Donna

leia king  09/22/2010 12:06 pm

thanks for this information, im from barbados and most of the fruits you just called we have here, and i also feed my love birds, baked peanuts, cabbage and sunflower seeds!

sandra walker  10/08/2010 10:41 pm

I have tryed to get pellets for my african gray franky here in middlesbrough england with out any luck but i will keep trying and hopfully franky will eat more as all he really eats out off a sake off food is the sunflower seds and the flat seeds so rest off the sake i buy would go to wast but i throw it out for out for the wild bird thay seem to enjoy it so i will put franky on pellets as soon as i find a shop to get them i hope he will not be as bad tempered then lol the only one he gos to is me he will not have anything to do with anyone else in the family at all in fact he flys at them if hes out bad lad he is lol mind i love him to bits but i have to tell people not to put there fingers in the cage as he dont like it lol

Georgia  11/01/2010 11:16 am

I am so very glad to see the info printed for once and for all. All one can do is to print the info. If people choose not to pay attention and their most beloved pet dies there is nothing more that can be done.
The very first parrot book I read stressed that parrot can die from ingesting Avacado, chocolate, garlic and onion therefore I do not feed those fruits. Arguing over whether something is a fruit or a veg is unimportant. I personally think Chet gives advice that he or his brother has personally sought out from reliable sources. Thank you Chet for all that you share unselfishly on your web-site. My advice to most bird lovers is go to and let Chet send out info to your email. I have learned so much from him. My bird coco sits on my shoulder while I watch and listen to his Ytube presentations and she just watches so very intently and listens. I really think she loves his voice.
As for the seeds stuff…I never give fruit seeds to coco. I slice apples core and peel them. Oranges I seed but give them a small piece of the rind. Coco loves banana peel but not a lot of the fruit itself. She does love red peppers (dried type). When I cook Pasta at my daughters house most all of the birds love and get very noisy waiting for me to serve it up. She has cockatiel, MacCaw, Meyers Parrot and of course my Quaker, Coco.
I also feed a small amout of spaghetti and a small piece of toast with peanut butter as a treat. the MacCaw peeks out from the corner of his cage into the kitchen to see if I’m bringing the toast in the mornings. His name is Logan. He loves it.
I also make the bird-muffins from a receipe using veggies such as grren bean and peas and even egg shells. Of course you do not give a whole muffin at any one time…just break the muffin into pieces. I got this receipe from Chet’s web-site when he interviewed a woman that was one of his guestes at a seminar. Chet really does share a lot of info..more importantly he researches before he puts it out there and he has his own birds and trains them.


Andy K  01/08/2011 10:52 pm

I have been feeding apple seeds to my my cockatiel almost daily for years. During a day I have one or two apples and she sits on that side of the cage waiting for the seeds which she loves. I even save and bring home the seeds if I have an apple away from home. Other foods she eventually gets bored with but not apple seeds. She’ll get anywhere from 2 to 12 a day depending on the variety of apple. I was even going to go to a local apple cider press and ask for the seeds which I figured they discarded, but I thought I would check the almighty internet first. I won’t be going to the cider press but I am tempted to continue with the few seeds per day. I wonder if their metabolism eventually builds up a tolerance to the cyanide and arsenic.

Jean  01/27/2011 1:49 pm

My parakeet eats only the seeds of strawberries and makes a mess of raspberries. I buy only organic produce.

Mac  03/18/2014 5:33 am

what about mango husk, not the seed, just the husk containing the seed, and not as a food source but as a toy.

Reginald  04/15/2014 9:21 pm

Hi. Fabulous blog post you have there. Personally, you have explained almost everything and I’ve even jot them down for future usage. Keep writing and thank you for revealing the important info.

Jesse whittington  08/24/2014 10:29 am

is all of the water melon safe ?

Jesse Whittington  08/24/2014 11:56 am

Is to say that unsafe fruts are never to be given to your birds or is there a way to make them safe

George Butel  09/13/2014 2:30 am

Someone asked about the safety of lychee and longan seeds, and got no answer. Lychee (litchi) seeds contain a chemical called alpha-(Methylenecyclopropyl)glycine which is hypoglycemic (it lowers blood sugar). In addition it depletes liver glycogen stores in mice. See , SInce longan is botanically closely related to lychee, it might very well contain the same or a similar substance. I doubt that a single seed would be toxic, but I don’t think it’s wise to let birds eat those seeds. Parrots love the fruit, though, which is quite nutritious, There are reports that the seeds are used medicinally in some parts of the world, as a vermifuge and as a pain-reliever.

If you want to know the facts about whether something is toxic or not, check out the literature, not what “they say” or “everybody knows” or “I hear.” Go to PubMed or Google Scholar and type in the name of whatever you’re trying to find out about, and also put in the word “toxicity.” If there are lots of results, you might try putting in the word “broiler” or “chicken” also to see what is known about the effects on avian species. Lot’s of work is done on chickens as far as herbs, for instance, to see if they will improve productivity. When it’s something oddball like a certain seed, you may not find out much toxicity information except on rats or mice, but if something is toxic to a mouse, it’s probably toxic to a bird also.

Gayle Robinson  05/04/2015 4:02 am

Is Passion fruit seed bad for birds and yes no apple seeds to birds i have Conures Green Cheech gayle

Sandra  08/24/2015 8:48 am

Thanks so much for this I have learned a lot .

Albert  08/14/2016 6:06 pm

How bout the seed from a mango? Is that safe?