My Parrots are Eating House Plants How Dangerous Is This?
My Parrots are Eating House Plants How Dangerous Is This?

My Parrots are Eating House Plants How Dangerous Is This?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Gail writes: 

I have been very sick for a long time and in November my boys, 2 parrots, had to go to twin cities to stay with people who could care for them while I was in hospital. 

They were there for over four months and I finally got them home  I have houseplants and always have, bird-friendly of course.

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I had my boys out playing and I went into the room where the birdcages are and my Gabby had eaten my houseplant,  tossing a bunch on the floor and chewing up a bunch, and generally not something he ever did.


He is fine since it was a safe plant.  I was going to plant seeds in a tub and raise them for him to eat but realized he would think eating the plants was ok, so decided not to do that. 

I put a vase with some romaine and other lettuce maybe later broccoli or cauliflower. He took a day to get used to it but he chomps down on it now.  Is that ok? 

Are there other veggies I could put out for him?  I can not afford to put out houseplants too much money.  I just wondered what you think and why you think he started eating the houseplants.

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Thanks for any info you can give.  We are in MN if that matters.


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Catherine Tobsing wrote:

Dear Gail

Sorry that you have been ill, glad you are back home. Good that your birds were cared for well. 

Regarding the plants. You don’t state what their diet has been. Did you give them veggies, greens, etc before they went into another for care? Did they get them there?

Did they chew houseplants at their place? More info will help, but I will write what I can here.

Houseplants and pet birds can be deadly. If the plants are not toxic, the additives, and fertilizer in the soil can be. A tropical plant background in a bird room is lovely, but if the birds can reach the plants, it can be devastating.

If not for the birds, for the plants. Plastic plants go a long way…

Birds are amoral. Meaning that anything they see and reach can be theirs. Including food, toys, woodwork, curtains, electrical cords, plants, etc. NO, is not a word or thought in a bird’s mind. It is in ours only.

They only know that when you yell NO, you are not happy with whatever they are doing, not that what they are doing is wrong, it still is right in their minds. Once you go away, they will likely go right back to whatever was holding their interest.

It is up to us as their caregivers to make sure they are safe. Some birds have zero interest in anything that is not in their food dish or cage. Others have to check out everything and taste, play with, or destroy it.

Plant matter. They don’t know the difference between your houseplants or a tub of growing kale, etc. You have to keep what you want to stay intact out of reach and the rest can be served up. So yes, a pot of sprouted seed can be great fun for a bird.

But make sure you keep the soil away.

This can be done by planting some seeds in a pot and covering the top of the pot with a (stainless steel) screen.

Large enough that the sprouted plants can grow through the screen, but not allow the bird to go below the screen.

You might even look into options for soil-free growing. 

I have good luck with using a hanging/mounted water dish and inserting a stalk of kale or romaine in it with some water and clothespinning it in place so they can’t yank it out of the water dish right away. Just clipping the kale, etc to a cage bar, it will go limp quickly and the bird will lose interest. 

So save your houseplants and keep them out of reach. Offer up the greens. Perhaps some homegrown sprouts floating in a pan of water and let them enjoy their greens.


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Catherine Tobsing

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