Legumes for parrots

Legumes for parrots

  • Legumes are the dried seeds of pod plants, highly valued by our parrots, which come in various shapes and colors.
  • Legumes are a premium source of vegetable protein and should be part of the parrot’s diet on a regular basis (3-4 times per week).
  • Low in fat, cholesterol free (except peanuts) and rich in minerals.
  • Legumes are listed in the “Meats and Alternatives” group in Canada’s Food Guide. 1 cup of legumes contains as much protein as 60 to 90 grams. of meat
  • It is preferable to offer them to our bird in association with cereals and vegetables, not overcooked, “al dente”, but never dry.
  • Mung and azuki beans, as well as lentils, are the most digestible legumes.
  • All dried legumes can be stored for 1 year. Over time, legumes become harder and less digestible. It seems that this is less the case with lenses, but it is still better not to keep them for more than a year. They are kept in an airtight container, in a cool and dry place.
  • Always offer legumes intended for human consumption to your parrot, never seeds intended for cultivation. In the latter case, the sanitary requirements are less strict and they may contain repellents or poisons for wild animals.

Legumes for parrots


  • Rich in calories and protein, very popular with our parrots. As peanuts are very rich, it is best to offer them in great moderation.
  • More digestible dry roasted than raw.
  • Commercial peanuts are usually roasted, whether shelled or in shell.
  • Parrots love peanut butter. The latter should be kept cool, because it rancid easily.
  • Avoid industrial peanut butters. They usually contain salt, chemical preservatives, flavorings and added sugars. In addition, often, to preserve their stability, hydrogenated oils (trans fats) are added to them.

Make peanut butter

Choose organic dry roasted peanuts and go through a blender ( food processor ).
It can be creamed with a little water.

Natural peanut butter ( no chemical preservatives )

Once started, will keep for one week at room temperature, two months in the refrigerator. In natural peanut butter, it is not uncommon for the oil to rise to the surface, a normal phenomenon that can be corrected by stirring everything with a knife.

Roasted peanuts

Roasted peanuts can be stored in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator. Shelled, three months; in shell, nine months, and raw in an airtight container, three months in the refrigerator, six months in the freezer.

  • Roast raw peanuts: arrange them in a single row on a metal sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes in an oven set at 175 ° C – 350 ° F

Boiled peanuts

Peanuts boiled in water acquire a soft texture that other cooking methods do not allow. Soak them overnight before cooking them over very low heat for eight to ten hours. Add water as needed. A treat very popular with parrots.

Legumes for parrots
White beans


  • Dried beans are one of the best dietary sources of soluble fiber and are high in good quality protein for our parrots.
  • After picking, the skin of the beans hardens and certain chemical changes take place in the grain, which loses digestibility. The longer they are kept, the longer they must soak before being cooked.
  • Semi-sprouted: soak them for eight hours. Then just put them, still wet, in a closed glass jar and place them in the dark. As soon as a germ appears, which takes about 24 hours, they can be cooked as usual.
  • Dried beans can be stored for one year in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place. At the end of this time, they lose digestibility.

Legumes for parrots

A few beans



  • Good source of protein. Slightly sweet with a nutty taste, birds love it. Excellent sprouts and can also be puffed.

Black-eyed peacock

  • The name of “black-eyed cowpea” comes from the fact that its hilum (point of attachment to the pod) forms a dark spot, usually black, sometimes brown, red or dark purple depending on the variety, which gives it the appearance with one eye. This hilum disappears on cooking.


  • In the legume world, white beans are among the richest in calcium.


  • It is mainly used sprouted; it is the basic ingredient of chop shuey. The most common variety is green, but there are over 200 others that can be golden yellow, brown, olive green, purplish brown, solid, or mottled.

Legumes for parrots


  • Flecked bean, lightly salted and delicious.
  • Warning: can create poisoning if poorly prepared. Refer to the “Preparation and Cooking” section at the bottom of this article.


  • Slightly floury and soft texture when cooked.
  • Warning: can create poisoning if poorly prepared. Refer to the “Preparation and Cooking” section at the bottom of this article.


  • Do not consume raw ( anti-trypsin ). Considered as rich as animal products. Avoid offering soy or its derivatives when the bird is in a hormonal period. Soy beans contain a natural form of estrogen which can increase hormone levels.
  • Soy milk: lactose free, soy milk is suitable for parrots. Great source of calcium. Prefer soy milk fortified with vitamins A and D.
  • Tofu: Drained and prepared, the milk gives tofu, a kind of vegetable cheese that has little flavor, but which can absorb that of other foods or condiments. Store in water in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Legumes for parrots


  • Lentils are a good source of soluble fiber. These help stabilize blood sugar levels and provide energy over a long period.
  • The reds are shelled, less nutritious and do not germinate. Lentils can lose their shape when cooked, so avoid cooking too long, which turns the lentils into a puree ( parrots don’t like it too much ). Allow 60 min for the brown lens, and 15 to 20 min for the red lens.
  • Lentils do not need to be soaked Before cooking, rinse them with plenty of water, removing any floating ones… as well as pebbles if necessary.
  • Plunging them in boiling water would aid their digestion.

Legumes for parrots


  • Very high nutritional value when sprouted. We find young shoots sold in grocery stores.
  • The base of the shoots should be white and the tips green. They should be firm and cool. Avoid shoots that are yellow or withered or that are partially soaked in liquid.
  • They are stored for a few days in the refrigerator in their original container or in a perforated plastic bag.

Legumes for parrots

The peas


  • It is the most protein of peas and the richest in minerals. Easy to germinate and delicious. Both desi and kabuli-type chickpeas germinate very well.

Dry peas, split peas, split peas

  • Important source of protein and carbohydrates. Split peas have a more delicate taste and cook faster. May lose their shape when cooked.

Legumes for parrots
Black-eyed peacock

Preparation and cooking

If you buy canned legumes, you must take the time to rinse them well, as they are too salty for parrots.

Most varieties of legumes except Azukis, Mungs, and lentils need to soak for 6-8 hours or overnight, then need to boil over high heat for 15-20 minutes in order to flush out toxins. . This is especially important for the kidney bean family which can cause poisoning if not properly prepared.

  • Always sort and wash all legumes thoroughly.
  • Soak in a bowl large enough to let them swell if necessary ( see table below ). Cover with cold water, let soak overnight, then drain and rinse well.
  • Always discard the legume soaking water ( trisaccharides – gases, toxic products )
  • Start cooking the legumes in cold water, cover the legumes.
  • Bring to a boil and boil over high heat 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Then lower the heat and simmer over a lower heat, until tender.
  • When cooked, legumes double or triple in size.

If you forgot to soak, you can put the legumes in cold water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes and let stand 2 hours so that they swell.

Legumes are an excellent source of protein for our parrots and should be offered on a regular basis, in combination with cereals, in the fruit and vegetable mixture of our birds.

Soaking and cooking table for legumes

1 cup
Soak Water Cooking
Azukis no 3 cups 1.5 hours
Black-eyed peacock 6-8 hours 3 cups 1 hour
White beans 6-8 hours 3 cups 1.5 hours
Black beans 6-8 hours 4 cups 1 hour
Red beans 6-8 hours 3 cups 1.5 hours
Soy beans 24 hours 3 cups 2.5 hours
Lentils no 3 cups 40-45 minutes
Red lentils no 3 cups 20 minutes
Mung no 3 cups 30 minutes
Pinto 6-8 hours 3 cups 1.5 hours
Split peas no 3 cups 5 minutes
Chickpeas 6-8 hours 4 cups 2 hours
Yellow peas 8 hours + 3-4 cups 3 hours


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