Training your Parakeet to Eat Vegetables

Parakeets are naturally cautious. It is up to you, the owner, to show them that a new food item is safe, yummy and worthwhile.

Make sure your keet is fully hand trained, first. You don't want to get too many things confused in your training process.

Have your keet hop onto your finger, where she's happy and content. Next, take a piece of lettuce and start nibbling on it. Don't push it in her face, or scare her with it. Just hold it where she can see it. Make happy noises (Yummmmm!) when you eat it.

Maybe the first few times your keet will be afraid or ignore you. That's fine, just keep doing it each day. After a while of this, your keet should get intrigued. When this happens, start moving the lettuce closer to her. Again, don't force it on her, but as you nibble away, she will reach over and try to nibble some too.

Parakeets LOVE lettuce so this is a good veggie to start with. After a few times of trying out the lettuce, she should leap for it with delight when you bring it around.

Once your keet realizes lettuce is tasty, clip a fresh piece of lettuce in your keet's cage each day. Be sure to clip it somewhere that it is easy for her to get to. Yes, I realize lettuce has few nutrients in it. However, keets love it, and it is a perfect training tool. It teaches keets that green, leafy things are in fact edible. Also, lettuce has a lot of water in it, which is important to a keet diet. It's easier for keets to "eat" water than to lap it up with their little tongues.

Once you get your parakeet eating lettuce, move on to a few other vegetables, one at a time. I'd recommend celery next - parakeets love to crunch and gnaw things. Celery often has those little leaves on the stalk, and your keet already knows that leaves are tasty. So that is perfect. Try spinach - some parakeets like it, some don't. Move on to peas - they're round, rolly and fun to play with :) Give each new item at LEAST a week, to have your parakeet get used to this thing.

Make sure each time that you show your keet that this item is edible. Go through the whole training process with each new item. Don't just leave the food in the cage and hope that your parakeet will realize it's food. Don't force your parakeet to eat only the new food, your parakeet might choose to starve rather than risk poisoning herself with something unknown. You have to TRAIN your parakeet that this new object is edible and tasty.

Remember, parakeets DO HAVE TONGUES. They have a sense of taste. Different parakeets like different things. Some parakeets love carrots. Some hate them. Some love tomatoes. Some hate them. Keep going through different fruits and vegetables and learn what YOUR parakeet likes and dislikes. A parakeet journal is invaluable in this effort.

Soon you'll have your keet eating a complete, nutritious diet! Be sure to read my pages on what foods to avoid, though. There are some foods that parakeets can't tolerate well!

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