Do parrots stop eating when full

6 Reasons Your Parrot Is Eating So Much (And What You Should Do)

If you put out more food for your parrot, it does not necessarily mean that it will gobble it all up. Parrots know when to stop eating. However, some parrots tend to eat more than others.

Most parrots stop eating once they’re full. If you fill your parrot’s bowl with more food than it needs, most of it will end up on the floor. Parrots tend to be wasteful when food is abundant. However, if your parrot is eating too much, it could mean that its diet is not nutritionally complete. 

Can Parrots Overeat?

Parrots will not overeat just because they have more food in their bowl. The extra food usually goes to waste. Lafeber explains that parrots will generally not overeat if their nutritional needs are met.

In the wild, a parrot’s eating habits can change based on the availability of food. When food is abundant, they usually eat only as much as they require and toss the rest of it to the ground. 

This behavior serves an important ecological purpose by helping disperse seeds in the environment. This is also one of the reasons why parrots in captivity tend to waste their food, as they have plenty in their bowls at all times.

However, it is possible for parrots to overeat in some cases, particularly when their nutritional needs are not met. If the parrot is fed an improper diet, it may overeat in order to fulfill its nutritional requirements.

Parrot overeating

Why Is My Parrot Eating So Much?

If you feel like your parrot is always hungry, it could be due to both behavioral as well as environmental factors. Below are some common reasons why parrots overeat:

Poor Diet

This is one of the most common causes of overeating in parrots. Parrots have a sense of their nutritional needs. When their diet lacks essential nutrients, they may instinctively consume more food in an attempt to compensate for these inadequacies. 

This behavior is particularly noticeable in seed-eating parrots, as seeds are often deficient in several vital nutrients that parrots need.

So, these parrots often consume larger quantities of seeds, which leads to excessive calorie intake and unhealthy weight gain. These parrots may even eat their own poop in order to retrieve the undigested seeds.


Boredom can manifest in parrots in many different ways. When a parrot finds itself lacking stimulation, it may resort to overeating because it has nothing else to do. According to the American Federation of Aviculture, parrots can eat compulsively to relieve boredom. 

This can lead to overeating and potentially weight gain. So, if you notice your parrot gulping down more of the treats in its cage than usual, you should provide it with some form of stimulation.

Introducing foraging toys for the parrot to eat out of can be a good start. At least this way it will be able to keep itself physically active while eating food.

Intense Exercise

Your parrot is going to eat more if it burns more calories in a day. For the most part, parrots in captivity do not have anything physically challenging to do, so they do not need as much food.

However, parrots that are provided the opportunity to engage in physical activities outside their cages, especially flying, will have higher energy requirements.

Larger Portions

Some parrots can eat too much if you overfill their food bowl. Many parrot owners do not use portions for the meals and also leave too many treats for their birds, which can make parrots overeat, especially if the food is something they like. This can slowly increase their appetite and also cause weight gain.

Breeding Season

During the breeding season, you can expect to see an increase in your parrot’s appetite. Parrots in this period will eat more food because of the energy demands of mating and nest building. 

Parrots also need extra care during this time and necessary diet modifications. You should increase the amount of protein in your parrot’s diet as well as nutrient-rich foods. However, dietary fats should be reduced to a minimum because they can make parrots agitated and also lead to rapid weight gain.

Molting Cycle

Soon after the breeding season, it is time for parrots to molt. Just coming out of the breeding season, parrots’ bodies need to prepare for an energy-intensive job which means that their nutritional requirements will go up.

The shedding of old feathers and growing new ones places an increased demand for energy on the parrot’s body. As a result, they’re hungrier and need to be fed frequently.

Providing your parrots with a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals is crucial during molting. This ensures that they have the necessary resources to grow vibrant and healthy feathers.

What Happens When You Overfeed Your Parrot?

Parrots do not typically overeat, but if you’re feeding them too many unhealthy snacks like seeds and human foods, it can lead to obesity.

It is important to understand that obesity is not caused by overeating but rather by eating the wrong foods. 

Parrots that are fed a balanced diet will maintain a healthy weight. They will not have to overeat to compensate for a poor diet.

However, when their diet is imbalanced, it can lead to weight gain and many health complications. It can result in a poor quality of life and ultimately reduce the parrot’s lifespan.

Macaw parrot eating a treat

Can Parrots Die From Overeating? 

Overeating itself cannot directly result in a parrot’s death. However, overeating can contribute to obesity which can lead to various ailments that can shorten a parrot’s life. Obesity can cause a range of health issues, including heart problems, joint pain, fatty liver disease, reproductive problems, and diabetes.

How Much Should I Feed My Parrot?

The amount of food a parrot eats differs not only from species to species but also from individual birds.  Many veterinarians recommend 15 grams of pellets for small parrots and 20-25 grams of pellets per meal for larger parrots.

When it comes to feeding fruits and vegetables, there is no one-size-fits-all. But you can determine the right portion to give to your bird by monitoring their eating habits. 

How To Keep Your Parrot From Overeating?

The issue of overeating can have a far-reaching impact on your parrot’s health. So, it’s important to provide them with a nutritionally balanced diet and fine-tune their portions to ensure they only eat the amount they require. Here are some strategies to keep your parrot from overeating:

Provide A Balanced Diet

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons parrots overeat is an imbalanced diet. Once you correct your parrot’s diet, it will no longer need to overeat.

A balanced diet for a parrot should primarily consist of high-quality pellets. They are formulated to provide a variety of nutrients that a parrot needs in its daily diet.

And while fruits and dark leafy vegetables are important, they should constitute a smaller portion of their daily intake. Nuts and seeds should be considered as treats. 

Use Correct Portion Sizes

Giving your parrot the correct amount of food is beneficial both for your parrot’s tummy and your pocket. Filling up your parrot’s food bowl with veggies is like throwing food away because they’re not going to eat most of it. And you cannot store it for long as it will go bad. 

So in order to determine the correct meal portion for your parrot you need to weigh how much your parrot eats and how much it leaves out. 

To do this, first, weigh the amount of food you give to your parrot. This will be your base amount. Since we’re trying to measure exactly how much the parrot eats, we need to offer more food initially. So fill up their bowl and weigh the amount. 

After your parrot is done eating, weigh the food that is left in the bowl and subtract it from the initial weight. This will give you a good idea of how much your parrot eats in one meal. 

You can do this a few more times to get an average amount of food because parrots may not eat the same amount every day. It can vary based on their activity levels, mood, and other factors. This is extremely important to do because food portions can differ between individual birds. 

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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