Broccoli is a popular vegetable worldwide belonging to the brassica family, which also includes cauliflower, cabbage varieties, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and the so-called kale.
It is recognized as a super nutritious vegetable with a large amount of proteins and minerals which we will detail later in this topic.
But is it safe to feed broccoli to small birds such as budgies? In the course of developing various topics on this website about feeding animals and vegetables I have noticed that sometimes it is not all rosy.
Some vegetables contain elements that could be harmful to some animals to a certain extent, others are only beneficial in a certain way.
It is indisputable that broccoli is a nutritious vegetable and that it does not represent any risk of toxicity for any animal, does this also apply to budgies? Can budgies eat broccoli without any problem?
As a quick answer, budgies can eat broccoli, this vegetable is very healthy and promotes many healthy elements in budgies, it provides essential vitamins and minerals for a budgie in captivity, especially vitamin D.
However, despite the great benefits of broccoli as a budgie food, be careful not to give it in large quantities. Even healthy foods can quickly become unhealthy if they are too large.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the topic, everyone knows broccoli as a super food with many vitamins and minerals, if you research on the internet, you will come across hundreds of topics providing information about the benefits and qualities of this vegetable.
Therefore, I would like to start this topic developing the possible negative aspects of this vegetable specifically in the feeding of budgies.
Yes, broccoli can contribute positively to the health of a budgie, but there are some elements to take into account that in case of being excessive could result in adverse results for the bird.
You might think that because of all the vitamins and minerals, the more you feed your budgie the better, right?
It is better that you think twice, broccoli, like cauliflower, and cabbage, from the cruciferous group, has substances that are responsible for both its aroma and its spicy flavor.
These compounds have the ability to block the utilization and absorption of iodine, thus slowing down the activity of the thyroid gland.
A very high consumption of cruciferous vegetables has caused hypothyroidism in animals.
If you are wondering if birds such as budgies have a thyroid gland, the answer is yes.
In birds, the thyroid gland is an oval structure located at the entrance of the thoracic cavity above the neck, lateral to the trachea and medial to the jugular veins.
This gland secretes T3 and T4 hormones that regulate molting and stimulate the growth of new plumage. They also have control over metabolism, growth and reproduction.
Cooking broccoli minimizes risk for feeding budgies
After discovering that broccoli has its dark side as a food, and that it should be used in moderation, it is important to emphasize that the risk of possible problems with broccoli in budgies and any other animal is lower when it is fed cooked.
However, it should be mentioned that cooking the vegetable could mean that it loses large amounts of its nutrients.
Cooking these vegetables further minimizes the risk for feeding budgies, broccoli gives off a very characteristic odor during cooking.
When broccoli is cooked, not only the house is flooded with this peculiar aroma, but it also spreads in the environment. This is due to the sulfur compounds it possesses, which are released intensely during boiling.
If this smell bothers you too much, you should know that by adding a splash of milk or a few pieces of celery to the water, the stench is slightly mitigated.
How to feed broccoli to budgies?
Although broccoli is safer and easier to digest if given cooked to budgies, it is true that a large percentage of its beneficial properties are lost during this process.
It is possible that budgies may not be interested in chopping large pieces of broccoli if it is given raw and whole, so the ideal is to give it shredded or mixed with other foods.
Another suitable way to offer broccoli can also be steamed for a few seconds and then processed and transformed into a porridge.
This way of offering broccoli to budgies may be more suitable for chicks and older budgies, as it favors their digestion. Remember to always use organically grown food and wash broccoli thoroughly before offering it to your budgies.
Do budgies eat broccoli stems?
Budgies can also eat broccoli stems and broccoli stems are also rich in nutrients.
In addition, broccoli stems strengthen the immune system. In particular, it contains carbohydrates and proteins, is high in fiber and low in fat and is rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, K, A, calcium and iron.
Additional contraindications of broccoli for budgies
Broccoli has high amounts of fiber, this is positive from a certain point of view, but looking at it from a conservative perspective, ingesting large amounts of fiber can cause intestinal irritation and diarrhea in budgies.
In addition, since this vegetable is high in vitamin K ( which has an anticoagulant effect), its over-consumption may lead to an increased risk of internal bleeding and hemorrhage.
Recommended feeding dose of broccoli for budgies
Throughout this topic the frequent issue has been about feeding broccoli to budgies, in reality broccoli can be an essential food for budgies, as long as it is not abused.
As a general rule of thumb, most pet owners can offer broccoli to their budgies every other day, or it could be very small daily doses mainly for female budgies in the laying, breeding or rearing period.
However, there is no single established dose for feeding budgies. The dose should be adequate according to the purpose of consumption, weight and health status of each bird.
For this reason, it is necessary consulting a specialist veterinarian first before making any dietary changes for your birds.
The professional will be able to guide you on the necessary amount and the best way of administration to obtain a positive impact on the health of your budgies.