Can Parrots Eat Chicken Bones? Is It Healthy?

Yes, parrots can technically eat chicken bones but it’s not advisable to feed them any.

The potential risks involved in giving your parrot chicken bones are simply not worth it. It could lead to various dangers such as choking hazards, injury to the digestive tract, and nutritional imbalance.

Why would you want to give your parrot chicken bones in the first place? Perhaps you were having dinner and had leftover chicken with bones and you have heard about all the nutrients and health benefits parrots can derive from chicken bones but you have also heard the dangers and now you are left confused and wondering can parrots eat chicken bones.

Is it healthy?

In this article, we will explore the potential health benefits, the associated dangers, and safe feeding practices related to parrots and chicken bones. Then you can decide whether to feed your parrot bones or not. 

Can Parrots Eat Chicken Bones?

Naturally, parrots do not eat bones. When hunting for food, parrot species hardly ever come across animal bones so they are not known to eat bones.

They do eat animal matter such as insects, invertebrates (like butterflies, snails, and worms), and larvae. Kea parrots and other omnivorous parrot species, however, eat the meat of dead animals and occasionally the bone marrow as well.

On an occasion when a parrot comes across an animal carcass in the wild, it may eat the flesh off the bones and break the bones to remove the bone marrow. Therefore, eating bone marrow is rather normal for omnivorous parrots

The bone and bone marrow contain several nutrients that could be beneficial for parrots. The bone and bone marrow contain several nutrients that could be beneficial for parrots.

These include Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, which are abundant in animal bones. Additionally, Omega-3, calcium, copper, iron, selenium, zinc, and vitamins such as A, B2, B12, D, E, and K are all found in bone marrow.

Parrots are generally known to be granivores or frugivore-granivores and as such their diet mostly consists of fruits, seeds, nuts, and foliage. However, to ensure the health and well-being of the majority of pet parrots, a balanced diet based on their unique nutritional requirements should be offered. 

The occasional intake of bone marrow by Kea parrots raises the possibility that they may have evolved to extract vital nutrients from bones when such opportunities appear in their native habitat and this has been a subject of debate among parrot owners. 

While some larger parrots, like the African Grey, have stronger beaks and digestive systems that might allow them to safely consume bones, smaller parrot species like the Lovebird or a budgie face greater risk and may not have the specialized adaptations to safely consume bones.

Their beaks are not designed for breaking bones, and bone fragments can pose serious health hazards, including choking and digestive issues.

Therefore, for the majority of pet parrots, it’s recommended to provide a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs through commercially available parrot pellets, fresh fruits, vegetables, and seeds. 

Are Chicken Bones Healthy For Parrots?

Yes, the nutrients in chicken bones are healthy for parrots. There is a continuous discussion about whether pet parrots can benefit from ingesting bones because of the prevalence of calcium deficits (hypocalcemia) and vitamin A deficiencies (hypovitaminosis A).

Essential nutrients contained in chicken bones including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium are beneficial for parrots as well as the variety of essential elements, such as omega-3, calcium, copper, iron, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A, B2, B12, D, E, and K, which are also contained in bone marrow. 

For parrots, the bone marrow in chicken bone is a tasty treat. Parrots won’t eat the bones, they will most likely break the chicken bones, eat the marrow, and then discard the fragments. They might have fun breaking the bones as a kind of enrichment and exercise.

Parrots have relatively strong beaks that allow them to shatter open-shelled nuts and as such bigger parrot species like the African grey can easily crack open chicken bones to get the bone marrow.

Smaller parrots like the Lovebirds, parrotlets, and budgies might have a harder time with bones, they probably won’t be able to break bones.

You can still give your little parrot this nutritious treat by cutting the bone in half to make the bone marrow more accessible. If you’re concerned that a parrot might hurt its beak, this is safer.

However, the consumption of bones comes with some hazards even if these minerals are essential for the health of birds.

Cooked bones are known to splinter and this can be a choking hazard to your parrot as fragments can be ingested and lead to injury in the digestive tract. Also, bone marrow contains a lot of calories and fat, so pet parrots can gain a lot of weight if offered these treats regularly. 

All bird species are more susceptible to atherosclerosis, a condition marked by artery narrowing when they consume diets high in fat. As a result, even though bones provide vital nutrients, you should exercise caution and moderation when feeding them to your parrot.

What Are The Nutritional Values Of Feeding Bone Marrow To Parrots?

Nutrients such as Protein, fatty acids, collagen, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin A are all found in bone marrow. Feeding your parrot bone marrow is a great way to supply it with these nutrients as they require them to stay healthy.

1. Fatty Acids

Bone marrow contains fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining proper organ function in parrots. These vital fats support healthy physiological processes and help different organs work properly.

2. Protein

Protein, also abundant in bone marrow, is essential for parrots because it helps with tissue growth and repair. It encourages the development, upkeep, and general structural integrity of tissues.

3. Calcium

Parrots need the essential mineral calcium, which is found in bone marrow, to maintain strong teeth and bones. It ensures bone strength, which is essential for these birds in particular.

4. Collagen

Another nutrient present in bone marrow called collagen helps keep bones and joints flexible. Parrots are typically active animals and collagen is important for joint health and overall mobility.

5. Zinc

Zinc is essential for the parrot’s immune system to function more effectively. It helps fight off infections by boosting their immune systems.

6. Iron

For parrots, iron from bone marrow is essential because it makes the creation of red blood cells easier. This maintains general health by ensuring correct oxygen delivery throughout the body.

7. Vitamin A

The growth and development of parrot cells are supported by vitamin A which can be found in bone marrow. Additionally, it helps them keep their vision at its best, which is essential to their well-being.

Can Parrots Eat Cooked Chicken Bones?

Yes, parrots can eat cooked chicken bones but there are certain risks involved. As long as the bones are properly cooked, they can be given to parrots as a treat. Cooked chicken bones are a healthier and safer way of supplying critical vitamins, proteins, and minerals found in bones like calcium and phosphorus. 

A cooked bone from a chicken, turkey, or other form of fowl can be a wholesome way to add to your bird’s diet and provide it with some important vitamins and nutrients. Giving cooked bones to a parrot makes getting the flesh and bone marrow much simpler. 

Many owners give their parrots cooked bones (such as those from chicken and turkey) although it can be risky. This is because cooked bones are more likely to shatter and become a choking hazard than raw bones. 

Can Parrots Eat Raw Chicken Bones?

No, you should not give your parrots chicken bones or any raw animal protein. Every pet owner is aware of how crucial it is to provide their pet with a balanced diet that fits all of its demands. This often comprises different kinds of seeds, fruits, and veggies for birds. 

But some bird owners also like to offer their feathery companions a treat now and then, like a piece of raw steak or chicken. However, you should avoid giving your parrot raw meat, as it can carry harmful bacteria that can be detrimental to their health. 

The same goes for raw chicken bones. Despite the fact that birds can tolerate germs quite well, raw bones can still contain pathogenic microbes that can infect your parrot.

Additionally, since raw bones are much harder to break than cooked bones there is the risk of your parrot hurting its beak.

While cooked chicken bones are more likely to splinter, raw chicken bones aren’t much better, they will still break and are still a choking hazard to your parrot. It is recommended to stick with safe items, like cooked meat or boiled seeds if you want to give your parrot a treat.

What Are The Risks Of Feeding Parrots Chicken Bones?

As highlighted earlier, chicken bones and bone marrow indeed contain vital nutrients that can benefit a parrot’s diet. However, you must know that feeding bones to parrots comes with certain risks that demand careful consideration.

The most obvious concern for most parrot owners is the potential for a piece of bone to pose a choking hazard to the bird. Moreover, bones tend to splinter, posing a threat to the parrot’s delicate digestive system and potentially increasing susceptibility to infections.

Additionally, the act of gnawing on bones could harm a parrot’s beak, as they naturally have the urge to chew on hard materials.

Given these potential risks, it is important to exercise extreme caution when offering bones to parrots. You could opt for smaller portions that are unlikely to cause harm or pose a choking hazard or consider taking out the bone marrow for them.

How To Prepare Chicken Bones For Parrots?

Always make sure the bones you give to your parrot are cooked because raw ones can contain bacteria that can make your parrot ill. A recommended method is to boil these bones while retaining some chicken flesh and skin on them for added flavor.

However, it’s advisable to refrain from using leftover fried or roasted chicken bones, as they often contain salt and other seasonings that could pose risks to your parrot’s health.

To further minimize potential hazards, consider chopping the chicken bones into smaller, manageable pieces. The size of the bone fragments should align with your bird’s size and preferences. You can either provide whole bones for them to nibble on or cut them into smaller, bird-friendly portions. 

To avoid choking dangers or damage, keep an eye on your bird while they are eating chicken bones and remove any small bits they don’t finish.

By keeping these suggestions in mind, giving your parrot some chicken bones as a treat can be both safe and beneficial.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can Parrots Eat Boiled Chicken?

Yes, parrots can safely enjoy boiled chicken as part of their diet. Boiling the chicken gets rid of all the harmful bacteria and ensures a tasty and healthy treat for your parrot. 

2. Can Parrots Eat Chicken Wings?

Yes, as long as the chicken wings are cooked, do not contain salt, and are bone-free, parrots can eat them. Before giving the wings to your parrot, remove all of the bones to avoid dangers and other possible concerns.

3. Can African Greys Eat Chicken Bones?

While it’s true that African Greys belong to the larger parrot species, it’s essential to exercise caution when it comes to their diet, particularly concerning chicken bones. Even though their size might suggest a greater tolerance for such bones, it’s vital to understand the potential risks involved.

The bones, even though they might seem manageable, can splinter or break into smaller, sharp fragments, which could harm the bird’s delicate digestive system. This is why it is highly advisable to always remove the bones from chicken or any other meat before offering it as part of their diet. 


In conclusion, incorporating chicken bones into your parrot’s diet can provide valuable nutrition, and many parrots will enjoy nibbling on the bones to access the nutrient-rich bone marrow. 

However, it is of utmost importance to exercise caution and moderation when introducing any new food items to your parrot’s menu.

A parrot’s dietary needs and digestive system are unique, and what might be safe for other animals can present potential risks to their health.

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