Parrot eating a healthy weight gain diet

6 Best Foods To Help Underweight Parrots Gain Weight

For most parrots, a good pelleted diet combined with some fruits and veggies can be all that is needed to maintain a healthy weight. However, if your parrot is underweight despite being fed properly, there may be a few things that need to be addressed first. 

There can be many reasons why your parrot is underweight. Sometimes, it can be because of simple lifestyle changes such as switching to a diet that your parrot does not like. Parrots also lose weight during their natural molting cycle. 

However, it can also be a sign of a serious health issue. So it is important to get your bird checked out by a vet to identify the reasons why your parrot is unable to gain weight. 

Once, you have ruled out the medical reasons, you can tweak your parrot’s diet with the right balance of foods to help them gain weight.

Reasons Why Your Parrot Is Not Gaining Weight 

If your parrot has recently lost a lot of weight, it could be because of an underlying problem. Below are some of the reasons for an underweight parrot:

  • Eating Difficulties 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Polyuria 
  • Stress
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Renal Disease
  • Other Illnesses

How Much Weight Should My Parrot Gain?

The ideal weight for your parrot depends on its species, age, and size. If a parrot is healthy, it should be able to gain weight pretty quickly as you increase its food intake. However, it is important not to overfeed your parrot, as they can become obese which is just as bad as being underweight.

How To Help Your Parrot Gain Weight?

The components of a weight gain diet for parrots are the same as a maintenance diet. However, the proper balance between pellets, seeds, and veggies should be kept in mind to provide the most nutrition. Also, increasing the calories in a disproportionate manner can lead to your parrot gaining too much weight.  

Increase Healthy Fats

Fats are an important part of helping your parrot gain weight. However, high-fat diets that include seeds often compromise on other nutrients. Feeding too many seeds often leads to unhealthy weight gain and nutritional deficiencies. 

According to a study published by BioOne, seeds in small quantities may not result in nutritionally imbalanced diets. The study found that parrots offered low-seed diets (60% pellet, 22% produce, 18% seed) were able to consume more fat than recommended but still acceptable levels of other nutrients.

More Treats

While on a weight gain diet, you need to feed your parrot multiple times a day. Their base meals should still be two times a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. However, you should increase the number of treats. These should be calorie-dense foods like nuts and seeds.  

Limit Fruits In The Diet

When you’re trying to get your parrot to gain weight, fruits may not be the best choice of food. It does not mean you should not include them in your parrot’s diet but offer them in small quantities.

Fruits contain a lot of water, which can make your parrot full too quickly if they eat them a lot. They are also very low in calories and fats. So when you’re offering treats to your parrot, switch them with more calorie-dense options like seeds and nuts.  

Regular Exercise 

In addition to dietary improvements, physical exercise is also beneficial in stimulating a parrot’s appetite and helping it gain weight. You do not want to fatten up your parrot by increasing its calories and promoting a sedentary lifestyle. 

When parrots engage in physical activities, especially flying, it develops their pectoral muscles. It helps them convert the protein and healthy fats they’re consuming into muscle mass. 

Parrots that fly regularly will have firm pectoral muscles from the stroking movements of the wings. You can feel the muscles on their keel bone. Conversely, when a parrot lives a sedentary lifestyle, its chest will feel much softer due to the accumulation of fat. 

6 Healthy Foods To Help Your Parrot Gain Weight

Choosing the best parrot food for weight gain is not just about calories. There are many foods that may be healthy but are not suitable for parrots to eat.

So, you want to make sure that the food is bird-appropriate along with being high in fats and protein. Protein is an important component of a weight gain diet for parrots as it promotes muscle growth.

Sunflower Seeds

Of all the treats and snacks you offer, parrots enjoy eating sunflower seeds the most. The action of hulling the seeds on their own gives them a kind of satisfaction that no other food or type of seed does. 

Sunflower seeds are quite high in fats and most of them are healthy fats. They can be a great source of fats for parrots but they should be fed in moderation.

Even when you’re trying to help your parrot gain weight, it is important not to get carried away and let your parrot have more seeds than it should. And when it comes to seeds, parrots really do not stop.  

So you should carefully add it to their diet. Ensure that seeds do not exceed 10% of your parrots’ diet. That way they can get the necessary amounts of fat without compromising the diet plan.

Parrot eating seed mix


Another good source of healthy fats for parrots is nuts. Parrots can benefit from eating nuts, but make sure they’re not roasted or salted. Nuts like cashews and almonds can provide a good amount of protein, fats, and some essential nutrients. Peanuts can also be good for parrots to consume, although they’re technically a legume and not a nut. 


As far as foods that provide balanced nutrition go, there is nothing better than eggs. You want your parrot to have a good amount of healthy fats in combination with protein.

Eggs can provide these macronutrients in a balanced way along with many vital micronutrients. You can also add crushed eggshells to your parrot’s diet to up its calcium intake. 


The good thing about rice is that it is easy to digest and contains more calories, which can help your parrot put on weight. You can easily add rice to any parrot food and make it a calorie-dense meal. However, rice does not contain many nutrients, so it is better to feed it in moderation. 


Potatoes also come under the category of starchy foods. Aside from providing extra calories for your parrot, potatoes contain essential nutrients and fiber. Starches are a rich source of carbohydrates. They are easy to digest which makes them a go-to energy source.

Starches can be found in many foods, but the ones that are most suitable for parrots to eat include potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and rice. These foods are calorie-dense, which makes them an effective choice for increasing calorie intake.

Sweet Potatoes

Like potatoes, sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, but that’s not the only thing that makes them a great food for a weight gain diet for parrots.

Sweet potatoes contain complex starch and are generally considered to be healthier than regular potatoes. This is because they are rich in many minerals and vitamins including Vitamin A.

Vitamin A is an incredibly important nutrient for parrots that has many benefits. It supports their eye health, improves feather, and beak quality, and bolsters their immune function. Sweet potatoes can be served as a treat or even as a part of a balanced diet.

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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