Can parrots eat cashews? Explained

Parrots are known for their diverse and sometimes surprising dietary preferences.

While most of their diet typically consists of fruits, vegetables, and seeds, many parrot owners wonder about incorporating nuts into their feathered friend’s meals. Cashews, in particular, is a popular human snack due to their creamy texture and delightful flavor. 

But can parrots eat cashews? Yes, parrots can eat cashews in moderation. Cashews are a nutritious nut that provides healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, they are also high in fat, so they should be offered as an occasional treat rather than a regular part of a parrot’s diet. 

It’s important to note that cashews should be unsalted and unseasoned when provided for parrots, as salt and seasonings can be harmful to them. Read on to find out other things to know and how best to feed cashews to your parrots.

Are cashews safe for parrots? 

Cashews are generally safe for parrots when given in moderation. However, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind and we will discuss them in the next section.

Important considerations for feeding cashews to your parrots

Here are things to consider before feeding cashews to your parrots:

  1. Feed in moderation

Like most nuts, cashews are calorie-dense and contain fats. Feeding them in excess can lead to weight gain, which can be detrimental to your parrot’s health. Limit cashews to occasional treats. 

  1. Avoid salted or seasoned cashews

The added salt and flavorings can be harmful to parrots. Stick to unsalted, plain cashews. 

  1. Look out for allergies

Some parrots might be allergic to certain nuts, including cashews. Introduce them gradually into your parrot’s diet and monitor for any adverse reactions. 

  1. Avoid Choking Hazards

Cashews are relatively large nuts, and if given whole, they can pose a choking hazard for smaller parrot species. Consider breaking them into smaller pieces or offering them crushed. 

  1. Always Priotise For Nutrient Balance

Cashews should be part of a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other foods suitable for your parrot’s species.

Can parrots eat cashew fruit?

Yes, parrots can eat cashew fruit. Ensure that the fruit is ripe and free of any pesticides or chemicals before offering it to your parrot. Always wash it thoroughly and remove any seeds or pits if necessary. 

Can parrots eat cashew nuts?

Yes, parrots can eat cashew nuts. They provide healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients. Feed cashew nuts as an occasional treat and not as a primary dietary component. 

Health benefits of cashews to parrots

Cashews offer several potential health benefits for parrots when given in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Here are some of the advantages:

  1. Cashews are Nutrient-Rich

Cashews are packed with essential nutrients that contribute to a parrot’s overall health. They contain a variety of vitamins, including B vitamins like niacin and folate, which are crucial for energy metabolism, immune function, and overall vitality.

Additionally, cashews provide minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which play roles in bone health, immune support, and enzyme activity.

  1. Cashews Give Energy Boost

Cashews are an excellent source of healthy fats, particularly monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These fats serve as a concentrated source of energy, which can be especially beneficial for parrots with high energy needs.

Parrots engage in various activities like flying, playing, and foraging, and the sustained energy from cashews can help them stay active and maintain their vitality.

  1. Cashews Promote Feather Health

The combination of zinc, B vitamins, and healthy fats in cashews contributes to maintaining healthy plumage in parrots.

Zinc is particularly vital for feather health, as it supports the production of keratin, the protein that makes up feathers. Healthy feathers are not only aesthetically pleasing but also vital for flight and insulation.

  1. Cashews Promote Digestive Health

Cashews contain dietary fiber, which can support digestive health in parrots. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and encourages the passage of food through the digestive tract.

For parrots that are prone to digestive issues or those with slower digestion, a moderate amount of fiber from cashews can be beneficial.

  1. Cashews help parrots develop Strong Beaks

Parrots have strong beaks designed for cracking open various foods in their natural habitat. Chewing cashews can provide valuable exercise for their beaks, helping to maintain strength and durability. This activity is not only physically beneficial but also mentally stimulating.

  1. Cashews Help with Mental Stimulation

Offering cashews as an occasional treat can provide mental stimulation and enrichment for parrots. Parrots are intelligent birds that enjoy working to access their food.

The challenge of extracting the cashew kernels from their shells can keep them engaged and mentally active, reducing boredom and associated behavioral issues.

What nuts should parrots not eat? 

Certain nuts can be harmful to parrots and should be avoided. Here are some nuts that parrots should not eat: 

  1. Peanuts

Peanuts can be contaminated with a fungus called Aspergillus flavus, which produces a toxin called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is highly toxic to birds and can lead to serious health issues, including liver damage. Even though many commercial peanuts for human consumption are screened for aflatoxin, it’s safer to avoid peanuts altogether. 

  1. Almonds

Almonds, especially bitter almonds, contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when chewed. Cyanide is toxic to birds and can be fatal in large amounts. While sweet almonds are less toxic, they are still high in fat and should be fed sparingly. 

  1. Pecans

Pecans are high in fat and can be difficult for parrots to digest. They may lead to obesity and digestive issues if consumed in excess. Additionally, moldy pecans can contain mycotoxins, which are harmful to birds. 

  1. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are toxic to many animals, including birds. They can cause weakness, tremors, vomiting, and other symptoms when ingested by parrots. It’s best to avoid them entirely. 

  1. Walnuts

While walnuts are not highly toxic, they are very high in fat and can be difficult for parrots to digest. Feeding them in moderation is key, and they should be shelled to prevent choking hazards. 

  1. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are safe for parrots in small amounts due to their high selenium content. Excessive selenium intake can be toxic, so it’s best to limit the quantity of Brazil nuts in your parrot’s diet. 

  1. Hickory Nuts

Hickory nuts can be challenging for parrots to crack open, potentially causing dental or beak issues. They are also high in fat and should be offered sparingly.

Can parrots eat roasted cashews?

Roasted cashews are generally safe for parrots to eat in moderation. The roasting process can change the texture and flavor of the nuts, which some parrots might find appealing.

However, it’s crucial to offer roasted cashews without any added seasonings, salt, or flavorings. Salted or seasoned cashews can be harmful to parrots due to the high salt content and the presence of potentially toxic seasonings.

Can parrots eat raw cashews?

Yes, parrots can eat raw cashews. Raw cashews are generally safe for parrots to eat in moderation. They can be a healthy and tasty addition to your parrot’s diet, as they provide essential nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and minerals. 

Can parrots eat cooked cashews?

Yes, parrots can eat cooked cashews in moderation. However, it’s essential to ensure that the cashews are plain, unsalted, and not seasoned with any spices or additives that could be harmful to parrots.

Can parrots eat chocolate cashews?

No, parrots should not be given chocolate-covered cashews or any chocolate products. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to birds (as well as many other animals).

Ingesting chocolate can lead to various health issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and, in severe cases, can be fatal.

It’s crucial to keep all chocolate and coco-containing products away from your parrot’s reach. Stick to offering plain, unsalted cashews as an occasional treat, ensuring they are given in moderation due to their high-fat content. 

How often should parrots eat cashews?

Cashews are a high-fat treat for parrots, so they should be given in moderation. You can offer cashews to your parrot as an occasional treat, not as a daily food source. Ideally, limit cashew treats to a few times a week and provide only a small amount each time.

Other similar foods to feed your parrots

Parrots can enjoy a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods to complement their diet. Here are some similar foods and treats you can offer your parrot: 

  1. Fresh Fruits

Apples, pears, grapes, oranges, and berries are all excellent choices. Just be cautious with the seeds and pits, as some can be toxic. 

  1. Vegetables

Broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens like spinach and kale are great options. Ensure they are fresh and free from pesticides. 

  1. Nuts

In addition to cashews, you can offer almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts in moderation. Always remove any shells or husks. 

  1. Seeds

Parrots enjoy seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds. These should also be given in moderation due to their high-fat content. 

  1. Pellets

High-quality commercial pellets designed for parrots are an essential part of their diet. They provide a balanced mix of nutrients. 

  1. Cooked Grains

Cooked rice, quinoa, and whole-grain pasta can be included occasionally. Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, and beans (cooked and unsalted) are good sources of protein. 

  1. Herbs

Some parrots enjoy fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley. These can add flavor and variety to their diet. 

  1. Dried Fruits

Small pieces of dried fruits like apricots, figs, or dates can be offered as an occasional treat. 

  1. Hard-Boiled Eggs

Eggs are a good source of protein. Offer them occasionally as a protein-rich treat.


In conclusion, understanding what parrots can eat is vital to their overall health and well-being.

While cashews can be a delightful addition to their diet when given in moderation, it’s important to remember that parrots thrive on variety. A balanced diet that includes a wide range of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other parrot-safe foods is the key to keeping your parrot happy and healthy. 

Frequently asked questions:

Can all parrot species eat cashews? 

No, not all parrot species can safely consume cashews. While some larger parrot species can enjoy cashews in moderation, smaller parrots may find them difficult to digest. 

Are salted cashews safe for parrots? 

No, salted or flavored cashews are not safe for parrots. The high salt content and artificial additives can be harmful to their health. 

Can I feed my parrot cashew pieces or whole cashews?


You can feed your parrot cashew pieces to make it easier for them to consume. However, ensure that the pieces are small and given in moderation. 

Are there any signs of cashew allergies in parrots? 

Signs of allergies in parrots can include itching, feather plucking, or digestive issues. Always monitor your parrot closely when introducing new foods. 

Can parrots eat other types of nuts? 

Yes, parrots can enjoy a variety of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans. However, these should also be given in moderation as part of a balanced diet. 

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