My favorite pizza topping, despite the heat I’m a big fan of jalapenos. The nice crunch followed by a surge of heat make them one of my favorite foods. Jalapenos are a part of the nightshade family along with eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes. They originate from the Mexican state Veracruz and are now grown all over the world.
I recently bought a pizza and was about to pick one off and feed it to my parrot however I remembered I’d never given him a jalapeno so I wasn’t sure if they were safe for him. So I researched everything I could and put it into this article for other confused parrot parents. Let’s get into it.
Can parrots eat jalapenos? Yes parrots can eat jalapenos, if you’re worried about them being too hot for your parrot then worry no more. Parrots have different taste receptors to humans which means they are unable to process the effects of capsaicin, the chemical inside jalapenos that make them so hot for humans. Jalapenos also contain some vital vitamins and nutrients your parrot can benefit from like vitamin C, A, K, B6 and manganese.
In this article I’ll further explain the benefits of jalapenos, can parrots eat the seeds and some other things I think you should be aware of so read on!
Why Can’t Parrots Feel The Heat Of Jalapenos?
This was a question I found myself asking when I became a parrot parent. It’s the same food so how come parrots can eat them without needing 2 litres of milk on standby like I do?
When us humans eat something spicy it sends messages to something called our capsaicin receptors. This is a heat activated ion channel that let’s the brain know we’ve had something spicy and shortly after we feel this heat.
Parrots can’t be effected by the heat of jalapenos because they don’t have any capsaicin receptors, therefore it’s biologically impossible for them to feel any spice.
Many people hold out on feeding their parrots spicy peppers due to not knowing about this, leading to their feathered friends missing out on all the quality nutrition that they bring.
Jalapeno Benefits For Parrots
We know jalapenos are safe for our parrots, but just how good are they? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional content.
Vitamin A is found in jalapenos and unfortunately it’s a vitamin many parrots are deficient in. It helps with growth and repair of their body tissues along with being vital for healthy skin and feathers. One of the main reasons it goes unnoticed is because it’s hard to tell if your parrots skin is deteriorating under their gorgeous feathers.
Other health benefits of vitamin A include :
- Necessary for eye health
- Improved bone health
- Supports the ears and hearing ability
- Supports the immune system
If you’re worried your parrot may be deficient in vitamin A look out for the following symptoms :
- Increased thirst
- Discharge from the nose
- Lost their appetite
To prevent a vitamin A deficiency in your bird then alternative foods you can feed to them are dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers.
Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is needed for your parrots immune system. Without adequate vitamin C in your parrots diet they are open to infections and disease due to having an immune system that isn’t the best it could be.
Other health advantages vitamin C brings to your parrot are :
- Cleans plaque from blood vessels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps your parrot with healing
- Cleans heavy metals from the blood
Strawberries, papaya, kiwi, mango, pineapple, brussels sprouts, kale and peppers are all safe alternatives to jalapenos your bird can get their vitamin C from.
Jalapenos also contain some vitamin K, this is needed for your parrots body to produce prothrombin. A protein made by the liver and one of the substances known for it’s fantastic clotting abilities.
When your parrot is unfortunate enough to get a cut that bleeds these clotting factors work together to form a blood clot and heal the wound. If your bird isn’t getting enough vitamin K in their diet and get a cut it will bleed more than it needs to.
Manganese is also known for it’s clotting factors but it also has many other benefits it can bring to your parrot. It plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, how well your parrot absorbs calcium and their blood sugar regulation.
It also helps maintain proper brain function and the nervous system.
Other foods high in manganese include :
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy vegetables
A type of carbohydrate important for your digestive system, fiber should be a feature in your parrots diet. It’s great for if you want to control your parrots weight as foods high in fiber are more filling than those without, so it’s less likely your bird will eat too much.
Fiber is also important for :
- Helps with bowel movements – fiber increases the weight and softens stools leading to easier passage.
- Known to lower cholesterol levels
- Helps regulate your parrots blood sugar levels
- Increased overall bowel health
If you need some other sources of fiber in your parrots diet pears, strawberries, raspberries, beets, broccoli and pumpkin all contain a healthy dose of it.
How You Should Feed Jalapenos To Your Parrot
First and foremost it’s important you buy fresh organic jalapenos – these will be the best nutrition wise and healthiest for your parrot. You should avoid store-bought like canned jalapenos, the nutrition is much less and things go into it like additives, sugars and preservatives that will only do your parrot more harm than good.
Now you’ve got yourself some fresh jalapenos it’s important to wash them to remove any dirt or pesticides that could bring harm to your parrot.
Your parrot is now ready to reap all the rewards jalapenos bring, you can feed them whole to your bird or slice them up into little chunks it really depends on your birds preference so try test a few things out and see what they like.
What Other Foods Can Your Parrot Eat?
You know jalapenos are safe for your parrot to eat but if you’re like me then your always looking for new foods to improve your parrots diet to create some variety and and include vital things that aren’t already in your birds diet.
So what other foods can your parrot eat?
- Fruit & Vegetables
Foods like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, peppers, bananas, blueberries and pineapples are all fine and encouraged for your Parrot to eat.
Things like almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts can be fed to your parrot. Just be wary of the fat content in some of them so they may need to be treated as a snack for your Parrot. We don’t want them getting fat!
Jalapenos For Parrots – Final Thoughts
Jalapenos are a completely safe and nutritious food your parrot can enjoy, without you having to worry about it burning your little pet due to parrots not having any capsaicin receptors to feel this heat. Remember to buy fresh organic jalapenos to ensure your bird gets the best nutritional value possible.
I hope you’ve found this article useful and your parrot enjoys this crunchy new snack.