Can Cockatiels Eat Onion? (Vet Guide)

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Cockatiel are native Australian birds that live in the wild, and people also tend to pet them because of their phenomenal behavior and beauty. Cockatiels living in the wild do not have any normal or distinct diet.

They feed on any kind of seeds, fruits, and vegetables. While cockatiels that are brought up at home also require a diversity of food. These various food choices for cockatiels raise questions in the owner’s mind what should I feed my cockatiel, and what should I avoid feeding them?

Let’s take a very common question that most owners ask.

Can Cockatiels Eat Onion

Can cockatiels eat onions?

The answer is No, cockatiel cannot eat onions in any form whether it is raw or in sprinkled form. It is because they cause toxicity in cockatiels, which can be fatal.

Harmful Ingredients for Birds in Onion

Onion contains a lot of ingredients but in this article, we will highlight those ingredients that adversely affect your cockatiel’s health.

Onion contains sulfur amino acids in the form of Thiosulphates and disulfides, which causes many health problems in birds disturbing all systems of your bird’s body including the skeletal, digestive, and blood system. The major effects of onion ingredients have been discussed in detail below.

Potential Harmful Effects of Onions

1.    Calcium absorption impairment.

It disrupts calcium absorption, which causes the fusing of bone spikes at joints in birds. It causes a lot of pain in movement which leads to immobility and ultimately leads to paralysis.

2.    Hemolytic Anemia

Disulfides cause hemolytic anemia. It is a disease in which red blood cells are destroyed at a rate greater than at which blood is produced by the body itself. A bird does not have enough time to make its blood and will get weaker soon leading to death.

3.    Acidity

Onions are found to be highly acidic, and when they are consumed, they severely affect the gastrointestinal tract starting from irritation in the mouth. Ulcers in the mouth and stomach develop, which affects the whole digestive system and can become a cause of death.

4.    Sulphur

Sulfur is present in onions, which converts to a disulfide. Disulfides are very fatal, and when consumed, they irritate the mouth and food pipe.

Signs of Onion Toxicity

According to veterinarians, birds with onion toxicity are presented at the clinic with the following signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms can vary from bird to bird according to the level of toxicity and immune system of your bird.

  •  Dull
  • Depressed
  •  Anemia
  • Emaciation
  •  Discoloration of skin
  • Paralysis
  • Ulcers
  • Dehydration
  •  Even Death

 When Does Onion Sign Appear?

Signs of onion toxicity appear after one week of consumption, and by that time, it’s often very late, and the prognosis is very poor. Make sure your bird does not get near onions.

What to Do If These Signs Appear?

Immediately consult a veterinarian if the above-mentioned signs appear in your bird and ask for veterinary treatment.  If you suspect that your bird has consumed onions, do not wait until signs appear because it may be too late. Immediately consult a veterinarian.

Prognosis in Onion Toxicity

Prognosis is defined as the possible outcome of a disease. It is also referred to as are chances of survival in a disease. Prognosis is often characterized as excellent, good, fair, and poor. Unfortunately in the case of onion poisoning in cockatiels prognosis is poor meaning that the chances of survival of your bird are very low. So take it seriously and make sure your bird does not get near onions.

Do Cockatiels Like to Eat Onions?

Onions have a very strong and unpleasant smell. Almost all cockatiels do not like the smell, but some of them are interested in finding out what it tastes like. Keep such birds away from the reach of onion. Your bird’s health is more important than what it likes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much is Onion toxic for cockatiels?

Any amount of onion (even in grams) is toxic for your bird and can severely affect your bird’s health. Make sure not to feed Onion in any form.

Q. What are the other dietary items that I should avoid giving to my cockatiel?

Avocado, onions, chocolate, and caffeine are toxic for your cockatiels and should be avoided at all costs.

Q. What should I feed my Cockatiel?

Healthy and green vegetables should be given to cockatiels which include carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, mustard, corn, broccoli, apple, and cherry seeds.


Now we can conclude that onions should never be given as a diet to a cockatiel. Despite having essential ingredients like fiber, potassium, manganese, vitamins, and antioxidants, avoid giving it to your bird because it imposes more harm than gains to your bird’s health. 

Always make sure to consult a veterinarian before feeding anything new to your cockatiel and what to feed cockatiel.

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