Parrot eating a healthy diet

How Long Can A Parrot Go Without Food?

Parrots have a high metabolism and need to eat frequently to maintain their energy levels. They need us to make sure their food bowl is never empty. But what happens when we’re not there to care for our parrots or if they’re unable to eat? 

Many parrot owners wonder how long their parrot can go without food when they’re going out for a longer duration of time and worry about if their bird will be alright on its own.  

Parrots cannot go more than 48 hours without food due to their fast metabolism. They can get extremely weak within a day of not eating anything. Small parrots can be more vulnerable to dying from starvation than larger birds. However, the nutritional needs of a parrot can vary depending on its age, size, and health condition.

How Often Do Parrots Need To Eat?

Most parrots will be okay if you feed them at least two times a day. However, parrots have natural habits of foraging and will likely eat more outside of their regular meal times.

They explore and chew on different things throughout the day. So, while they do eat regular meals, they also need snacks in their cages to find and eat on their own. 

Feeding a parrot

How Long Can A Parrot Go Without Food Before Dying? 

People often worry about how long the parrot can go without food when they have to leave them unattended. Parrots have a high metabolism, which means they need to keep refueling every couple of hours to sustain their energy levels. If they don’t, it won’t take very long for them to start feeling the effects of it. 

Typically, a parrot may begin to starve within 24 hours of not eating. Once the parrot enters a state of starvation, it won’t be long before it becomes weak and notices symptoms of declining health.

Without food, their energy reserves will deplete rapidly, and their bodies may not be able to function properly. A parrot can go 24-48 hours at most without food before dying. It is hard to say exactly how long because it depends on various factors, such as the size of the bird, age, overall health, etc.   

How Do I Know If My Parrot Is Hungry?

Parrots often let their owners know that they’re hungry by making loud noises and sounds like screaming and squawking. It is an easy way to their message across and also helps you understand what they need. They may also scream for food when you’re away.

So, it’s important to make sure that there is enough food when you leave your parrot home alone. But remember, the food you leave for them should be non-perishable.

Fruits and vegetables can rot within a few hours of being kept outside and your parrot may choose to not eat them once they have been out for some time.

Always use high-quality pellets when you’re going out for more than a few hours. It would be wise to invest in an automatic bird feeder that dispenses only as much food as the parrot needs or else you could also ask someone responsible to take care of your parrot and feed them according to their schedule. 

What Can Cause A Parrot To Stop Eating?

Parrots can be picky about their food and when exactly they would like to eat it. Their behavioral tendencies can sometimes control their eating habits. However, there can be certain health-related aspects to it as well. Here are some common reasons why a parrot may abruptly stop eating:

Change In Diet

Parrots can sometimes turn their noses up if they do not find their regular food in their bowl.

They can be a little cynical about new food especially when they’ve been on a seed diet for a long period of time or when they’re not used to eating healthy food.

You cannot make abrupt changes in your parrot’s diet. It has to be slow so your parrot can adapt to it or else they may stop eating altogether. 

New Bird

It can take a while for a new parrot that has just been rehomed to adjust to the new environment. It may not feel as secure as it did in its previous home because parrots in general do not like change.

To help the new bird, you can make it feel more comfortable by slowly introducing new things and also familiarizing it with everyone around. 


Stress or boredom can be another reason why a parrot may not find interest in eating its meals. Stress in parrots can come from a myriad of things like changes in their environment, being alone, sudden noises, etc.

When parrots are stressed, they may constantly worry and be more vigilant which can make them lose their appetite. Here are some factors that can stress out a parrot:

  • Change in environment
  • Loud noises
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Absence of the owner
  • Inconsistent routine
  • Other pets
  • Perceived threats
  • Insufficient mental stimulation
  • Health issues
  • Poor diet or nutritional imbalances


Due to their fast metabolism, parrots expel waste more frequently, in fact, pooping anywhere from 20-30 times a day is completely normal. But when the parrot is constipated and not able to pass waste easily, it would not be up to eating its next meal.  

Beak Injury 

This a not uncommon for parrots to have since they do have to maintain their beaks and keep them well trimmed. Sometimes, it can get a little unmanageable which may lead to asymmetries or even make them more prone to injuries.

A parrot will not be able to eat with an injured beak and also choose to hide it. This is why you should regularly check on your parrot and see whether they’re physically okay. 

Health Issues 

If your parrot hasn’t eaten in 24 hours, they’re possibly not feeling well. Many health conditions can contribute to your parrot not eating its food. But what’s worse is that a loss of appetite can make them weaker and less likely to recover from the health condition. 

Will A Parrot Starve Itself?

Parrots can sometimes be really fussy about their food and may even choose to starve themselves if they feel like their needs aren’t being met. Such behavioral problems are more common in parrots than in other pets.

They won’t starve themselves to death but if not intervened a parrot can become malnourished from not eating.

So if a parrot refuses to eat anything despite your best efforts, it is time to consult your vet. You shouldn’t let your parrot starve itself for more than a day as it can be taxing on its health. 

Parrot looking sick

How To Encourage A Parrot To Eat?

There are a few ways you can help your parrot eat again, but before that, you want to make sure that their reason for not eating is not because of a health issue. Rule out any kind of injury or illness. These are some ways to make your parrot salivate for treats:  

Tease Them With Food

Parrots just cannot resist eyeing what their owners are having. They have a natural tendency to eat based on what they think might be nutritious. And you eating that food can be the validation they needed.  

Replacing The Old Food Bowl

Parrots are very fastidious creatures and like their surroundings to be clean including their food bowl. You should clean your parrot’s food bowl if it looks too dirty. Parrots often make a mess when they eat, so it’s normal for bits of the food to be strewn near that area as well.  

Make The Food Look Good 

No one likes to eat food that looks dull and boring. This can be especially true for organic pellets and seeds. Try giving your parrot some colorful fruits and vegetables decorated nicely in their food bowl. The colors and smell might spark their interest back in the food.  

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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