South American birds have enjoyed quinoa in the wild for centuries. Now that it’s widely available, you’ve likely thought, can budgies eat quinoa?
Yes, they can. In fact, they love to eat it. The size, texture, and nutty flavor of this grain is satisfying to budgies. Better yet, quinoa is one of the most nutrient rich grains in existence.
How to Prepare Quinoa for Budgies to Eat
As with many grains, budgies can eat quinoa both cooked and raw.
Yet, even when this grain is served raw, the best preparation involves more than simply pouring a handful of it into a dish straight from the bag.
Before you get to preparation, however, you’ll have to choose which of the many quinoa variants to purchase.
This grain comes in many colors, and they are all tasty to a budgie. But, the best choice is red quinoa, as it has a slight edge in nutrient density.
Whether or not you plan to cook the quinoa, the first step in preparing it is to rinse it thoroughly.
As with any form of produce, you want to remove any pesticide residue, dust, dirt, and other foreign material.
From there, cooking them is a simple task. First measure out how much quinoa you want to prepare. Then measure out twice as much water.
Combine them into a pot, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat to a simmer, place a lid on the pot, and let it cook this way for 12-15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.
When you’re done, let the quinoa cool before serving. You can mix the now fluffy grains with anything your budgie loves, such as bits of fruit, seeds, or nuts.
Serve it up in a bowl or atop a dish, and watch how quickly it disappears.
Raw quinoa certainly can be offered to your budgie after nothing more than a thorough rinse. However, if you really want to treat your feathered friend, you should sprout the grains first.
Sprouting is essentially a process of repeatedly soaking and draining the grains. It isn’t a complicated process, but it will take about 2 days to complete.
To do it, you take your washed grains and place them into a mason jar, or similar container. Fill the jar with cold water, then drain that water thoroughly.
There are sprouting lids made specifically for this process, but any mesh covering will do.
Let the damp quinoa sit somewhere away from direct sunlight, at room temperature. After about 6-9 hours, repeat the process. Continue doing this until you see sprouts peeking out of the grains.
So, why go through all this trouble? The sprouted grains are easier for your budgie to digest, and have a higher nutrient yield.
The sprouting process also decreases the phytic acid content of the grain, which allows more vitamins and minerals to be metabolised.
Is Quinoa Good for Budgies?
There is a reason quinoa has gained so much attention. It is essentially a super grain, packed with a plethora of nutrients beneficial to budgies and humans alike.
For starters, they contain a surprising amount of protein, as much as double that of other popular grains.
And, it’s complete protein, with all the essential amino acids — a rarity among plants, and something your pet parakeet will appreciate.
Quinoa also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which will help regulate your budgies cholesterol and heart health, and lysine, a compound that eases protein synthesis and helps sustain calcium levels.
Even this grain’s phytonutrients outshine many others.
Its high levels of quercetin and kaempferol safeguard your chirping companion from inflammation, viral infection, cancer, and even depression.
As for vitamins, quinoa is most notable for the following:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin E
Thiamine is essential for your budgie’s nervous system, while healthy levels of riboflavin and pyridoxine promote the proper formation of cartilage and bone.
Meanwhile, vitamin E bolsters the immune system, and keeps your chirping chicks from becoming overstressed.
Quinoa also boasts an impressive list of minerals, including:
Calcium is required for your budgie to have strong bones and cartilage, though magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus all play a part in bone health.
Magnesium also strengthens cell membranes, why potassium keeps your birds muscles and nerves working properly.
Different variants of quinoa have similar amounts of each nutrient, though red quinoa is notably higher in antioxidants.
These compounds are anti-inflammatory agents, and assist your budgie in fighting off sickness and infections.