Can Cockatiels Eat Fish? (What Kinds of Fish to Offer)

Cockatiels can eat fish, yes. Cockatiels have a wide variety of food they can enjoy, and we can even share some of the foods we eat, such as fish. Fish is an excellent source of protein, which is an essential nutrient for your pet. When feeding fish, always make sure you cook it thoroughly, and you give it unseasoned. Further, always keep fish treats in moderation. 

Fish is a part of our menus, and almost everyone loves the idea of it once in a while. The great thing is that, like us, our cockatiels love to munch on it as well, although not all the time.

If you have fish and wish to spare some for your pet, you may find the insights below helpful.

Let’s get into it!

Is fish OK for cockatiels?

Fish is OK for cockatiels to eat for the reason that it is highly nutritious. All kinds of fish are rich in many nutrients, but the most prominent ones are the Omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

To further understand, here’s what you can give your pet from feeding fish. According to the Washington State Department of Health, fish can offer the following:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

Further, there’s no component in fish that is toxic to cockatiels. Thus, feeding a little serving from time to time shouldn’t cause any issues.

The only thing you should remember about it is that fish isn’t the usual food for cockatiels. These birds aren’t carnivores by nature, and they need more plant-based food than meat.

For this reason, it would be best to serve fish only as snacks or treats and not a substitute for their primary food.

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What kind of fish can cockatiels eat?

There are no specific kinds of fish that are ideal for cockatiels. However, if you’re planning to do so, consider the following in choosing the fish.

Fresh fish

If you are feeding fish, you should always opt for the fresh ones. With such, you can be confident the food won’t cause any health complications. Feeding fish that isn’t fresh may not be suitable for your pet.

Cooked fish

Now, it doesn’t mean cockatiels cannot eat raw. Still, it would be best to let your pet eat a cooked one to ensure it’s free from bacteria and viruses.

Further, be mindful of cooking the fish. It would be best to serve a simple, plain-cooked fish. It would be best to boil it rather than fry, and also, avoid seasonings and salt.

Unseasoned & unsalted fish

When feeding fish, always make sure you offer it without added salt, flavors, or seasonings. While such components make fish enhance its taste, it won’t do any good for our pets.

Giving a plain fish is better than giving salted ones, as it can harm them. Of course, you can opt for canned fish, but most of it has seasonings, so be sure to opt for the ones without added flavor.

How much fish can cockatiels eat?


Like meat, fish is also an unusual food for cockatiels. Thus, it would be best to feed it only in small amounts, ideally as a treat or snack.

It would also be best to offer fish in bite-size pieces or shredded. Although cockatiels can nibble on chunks, it would be easier for them to eat it in smaller ones.

If you are to feed fish, make sure it won’t exceed 30% of a cockatiel’s daily food intake.

Cockatiels need a balanced diet to take in nutrients it needs for the day.

A significant amount of food should be pellets, taking up 60% or more of their daily intake.

The food’s 30% can be a variety of vegetables for added nutrition. The rest, which is 10%, should be for treats such as fruits, nuts, and seeds.

You can offer fish as a substitute for both treats and veggies. However, it would be best if you never made it a substitute for pellets.

Always keep in mind that pellets are the best food you can offer, so make sure to give it to your cockatiel every day.

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Risks of feeding your cockatiel fish

If you are planning to offer fish to your cockatiel, here are some of the possible risk you should always be cautious of:

Unfresh fish

Feeding unfresh fish can lead to some complications. If the fish you offer is already exposed for too long, it can obtain different kinds of bacteria. Further, it can already lead to having a foul taste and smell.

Salted and seasoned fish

This incident can happen if you feed leftover fish and even the canned fish. Since leftover fishes are the remains of our meals, it most likely has added salt and seasoning. The same goes with canned fish, as it has additives to preserve it for a long time.

Raw fish

As I said earlier, raw fish can contain different kinds of viruses and bacteria that can harm your pet. Thorough cooking can eliminate such viruses, so it would be best to do so before feeding.

Do cockatiels like eating fish?

Fish, like meat, isn’t a usual food for cockatiels. Thus, you may find your pet ignoring it, especially for the first time.

However, your pet may also like it after a few treats or snacks. Still, it doesn’t mean you can offer it as much as you want.

As always, it would be best to offer fish in small amounts to ensure your pet stays on the safe side and doesn’t take too much.

Instead of feeding large servings of fish, you can consider other food as treats or snacks to offer a variety.

The variety will give your cockatiel different kinds of nutrients as well.

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Cockatiels can eat fish, and it can be a fantastic treat for them. Fish is an excellent source of protein, which is ideal for a cockatiel’s body. While it won’t harm your pet if you feed raw fish, it would be best to offer it cooked. Still, always keep in mind to give fish unseasoned, and only in small amounts.

As long as you don’t forget the essentials, you can feed your pet some fish without any worries. It may even enjoy such treats once in a while.


Washington State Department of Health’s article on benefits of fish

Image credits:

  • Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash
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