Last Updated on March 4, 2023 by Ali Shahid
Some parrot owners, even those with the best intentions, may give their birds treats that can be harmful. However, experienced parrot keepers will conduct extensive research before providing their birds with anything.
It may seem time-consuming, but this is the best strategy for keeping your macaw safe. In addition, it keeps you from hurting or sickening your feather friend. So, what about watermelon?
Can Macaws eat Watermelon? Macaws can eat watermelon without any fear. Macaws love it because it has a variety of nutrients beneficial to immunity, muscle development, digestion, and overall health.
However, it should not be the main food of macaws, but must be included as part of the diet. The question that may arise in your mind is how much watermelon they need every day.
Watermelon is undeniably a healthy part of the diet, but how much do they need per week? When do they eat? Furthermore, what if they overeat watermelon? First, let’s discuss watermelon’s importance and how it relates to all the above questions.
Nutritional Facts of Watermelon
In one cup (152 grams) of raw, diced watermelon, you will get the following nutrients:
- Calories: 46
- Sugar: 9.4 grams
- Carbs: 11.5 grams
- Fiber: 0.6 grams
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Potassium: 4%
- Magnesium: 4%
- Vitamin A: 5%
- Vitamin C: 14%
Health Benefits of Watermelon for Macaws
Fruits provide a multitude of health benefits to macaws just as they do to humans. And it is no different with watermelon. However, what kinds of benefits can be expected?
I will explain to you all the elements in watermelon that make it essential to keep macaws healthy.
According to one study, supplementing an unhealthy diet with watermelon powder lowered oxidative stress and inflammation markers in rats compared to their control counterparts. Here is a complete list of watermelon benefits for macaws.
- Source of water
Watermelons contain 92% water. The fruit is both juicy and delicious and can keep your macaw hydrated. A parrot’s system is flushed with water to eliminate toxins and waste. Among these are excess vitamins and minerals, which otherwise could be harmful.
The fiber in your macaw’s diet is crucial to its digestive health. It maintains a healthy gut bacterial colony. It will accomplish the following:
- Regular bowel movements
- Constipation risk is lower
L-citrulline is an amino acid that helps keep the cardiovascular system healthy. It is associated with the strengthening of the heart and its blood vessels. Additionally, it will enhance the immune system.
Kidneys convert L-citrulline into L-arginine. The Italian Journal of Animal Science reports that L-arginine plays a vital role in bird weight gain, particularly during early development.
Watermelon gets its red color from lycopene. Many plants contain it, including the iconic tomato. However, watermelons contain a higher level of lycopene than tomatoes. Several studies have linked its antioxidant properties to the prevention of aging signs.
Phytochemicals like lycopene can protect against sun damage. Although the results of studies are mixed, lycopene intake may lower cancer risk in some cases.
According to some studies, lycopene lowers insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a hormone that promotes cell division. In particular, cancer occurs when cell division is uncontrolled. Also, it’s good for your macaws’ heart, lungs, and eyes.
As a water-soluble vitamin, it enhances muscle coordination, prevents inflammation, and helps with muscle movement. Additionally, it ensures the brain works efficiently, so the bird stays sharp and attentive.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A produces keratin, which makes the feathers of the macaws. The mineral is essential to the smooth, full, and healthy appearance of the feathers on your macaw.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C strengthens the parrot’s immunity by preventing illnesses caused by bacteria or mice. Furthermore, it strengthens the skin of the macaws.
Macaws need potassium for strong, healthy muscles. Furthermore, it improves the health of the heart and controls blood pressure.
Enhances feather development, as well as bone and brain development. It also contributes to the health of the heart and the coordination of muscles.
Hemoglobin carries oxygen through the body thanks to iron, which is essential for its production.
How Much Watermelon Is Safe for Macaws?
It is recommended that macaws consume seeds, fresh fruits, and vegetables as part of a well-balanced diet. It is possible to find dried fruits in some formulated foods.
Even so, breeders advise giving your feather companion fresh fruit, since dried fruits may be inadequate in terms of nutrition. According to general guidelines, fruits should account for 15-30% of the parrot’s diet.
The norm allows for a variety of fruits, such as blueberries, kiwi, watermelon, etc. Thus, you can decide how much watermelon to feed your macaws.
However, don’t substitute watermelon for seeds to give your macaws full nutrition benefits. Mix it with other fruits for a healthy snack.
How to Feed Watermelon to Macaws?
It is a treat for macaws to eat the seeds of watermelon. Soak this overnight so that they can easily peck at it. Remove the rind when feeding them to avoid exposing them to pesticides.
When they consume the watermelon, they create a lot of mess, so it is easier if you chop it into small pieces. When you chop, you reduce the surface area and make it easier for them.
However, you should be prepared to do some cleaning once your bird has finished eating the watermelon.
It is recommended that you withdraw the fruit from your macaw if it does not finish eating it within two hours. This will help prevent harmful bacteria from growing on the fruit.
How to Make Watermelons Appealing to Macaws
If your macaw doesn’t like watermelon, it is not the end of the world yet. Here are some tricks you can try.
The place where you put food can affect your macaw’s appetite. Watermelon is a favorite food of macaws, but if your bird ignores it, try relocating it. You can:
- Ensure that it’s placed higher in the cage so that your bird has to reach for it.
- Place it on the cage floor to ease the burden on the bird
- Handfeed the bird as a bonding activity
The bigger the chunk, the better
A change in serving size may affect your macaw’s interest. If you’re feeding parrots, big chunks are best. The giants of the parrot’s world prefer large chunks of food because they find them more enjoyable.
Breaking it down into smaller pieces enriches the process. Whenever your parrot ignores small pieces, give it a slice the same size as the palm of your hand.
Make Eating Stress-Free
Think about your macaw’s personality. Macaws are prey animals. They only eat food if they are in a safe environment. If your parrot lacks an appetite, check if it is experiencing stress in its environment.
- Move your parrot to an area of the house that is less busy
- Feed it at a quieter time of day
- First, play with your bird to relax it. Then, feed it by hand
Can Macaws eat Watermelon Rind?
A macaw can eat all parts of a watermelon. However, it’s best to avoid eating watermelon rinds. This is because it’s hard to distinguish between rinds that have been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals.
Even after washing thoroughly, rinds retain pesticides. Ingestion of even a small fraction can be harmful to your macaw. A macaw should only consume organically grown watermelon rind.
It contains citrulline, a compound that reduces blood pressure, increases energy, and promotes heart health. Furthermore, the rind is a good source of fiber, which keeps your bird healthy and promotes bowel movement.
Can Macaws eat the Watermelon Seed?
Macaws can eat the seeds of watermelon. Seeds also contain many beneficial nutrients, just like the juicy part of the watermelon.
Among the nutrients present in watermelon seeds are copper, zinc, magnesium, folate, and potassium, all of which provide health benefits. It is beneficial for the macaw’s heart, bones, feathers, and metabolism to eat watermelon seeds.
Therefore, most parrot lovers soak their seeds overnight before giving them to their birds. There’s a reason for this. It can be difficult to peck seeds that are hard and tough to get out of the ground.
The key is to soak them before feeding them to your parrot. This makes seeds easier to eat and reduces choking risks.
Can macaws Drink Watermelon Juice?
You can also give your macaw watermelon juice. Give your bird a little blend of watermelon. When your bird eats too much watermelon juice, its poop will be very messy and watery.
Don’t overfeed your bird with watermelon juice and fruit. The macaw needs a cup and a half of fruit and vegetables per day.
Watermelon is highly nutritious for macaws, so they can eat it. They can’t eat watermelon rind because it contains pesticide residues even if they eat it in small amounts. However, macaws can be fed seeds with some care to prevent choking.
You should offer macaws pulp once a week to help strengthen their bones, feathers, and immune systems. The macaw will love this tasty fruit if you do not bother to clean and wash the cage first.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.