Can Cockatiels Eat Walnuts? (and Other Kinds of Nuts You Can Give)

Cockatiels can eat walnuts, yes. Walnuts, along with other types of nuts out there, can even be a healthy snack for your pet. Nuts provide entertainment for cockatiels, as they love to munch and peck on shelled food. Further, walnuts are high in proteins, fats, and trace minerals. The only thing you should avoid is giving walnuts that have salt and seasoning.

Walnuts and many other kinds of nuts are healthy. Aside from the pleasure of snacking on this food, both we and our pets can enjoy the nutrients it offers.

Here are some of the things about walnuts that you may find useful before feeding some to your cockatiel.

Let’s get into it! 

Are walnuts safe for cockatiels?

Walnuts are not only safe for cockatiels to eat. In fact, it is even healthy for them if appropriately fed.

Still, the effects of walnuts can either be good or bad, depending on how you feed it.

The reason is that walnuts consist of 65% fat and about 15% protein. While protein and fats are essential in a cockatiel’s diet, too many fats can also be harmful.

According to HealthLine, an ounce (30 grams) of walnuts consists of the following:

  • 185 Calories
  • 4% of water
  • 4.3 grams of protein
  • 3.9 grams of carbs
  • 0.7 grams of sugar
  • 1.9 grams of fiber
  • 18.5 grams of fat

Aside from that, walnuts are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Among these are:

  • Copper
  • Folic acid
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin B6
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin E

Still, it’s also not ideal for these birds to eat too many walnuts, as it doesn’t form a big part of their daily meal.

Further, raw nuts have high levels of Oxalates and Phytates, according to PubMed. Such components can contribute to the possible nutrient deficiencies of your bird. At the same time, it can cause low mineral absorption.

For this reason, it would be best to soak walnuts before feeding. By doing so, it increases the availability of essential nutrients. 

Moreover, soaking activates helpful enzymes that increase nutrient absorption.

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How many walnuts can cockatiels eat?

Cockatiels shouldn’t eat too many walnut snacks. Like all other birds and animals, they should have a balanced diet of a few things.

Along with all other nuts and seeds, walnuts should only make 10% of their daily food intake.

The most significant percentage should be pellets, making up a total of 60% of their daily diet. The remaining 30% should be for vegetables like carrots and fruits like grapes or raisins.

The key to a good diet is always balance. For this reason, you should limit feeding walnuts to once or twice a week.

Further, it would be best if you didn’t feed walnuts as the only treat or snack. Consider getting a variety of options like peanuts, almonds, and others.

Risks of feeding your cockatiel walnuts

Although walnuts are nutritious snacks for your pet, it still has some risks with it. You should be aware of such to avoid unwanted incidents from happening.

Never give salted or flavored walnuts.

Some walnuts have added salt and seasonings to improve the taste. While salt is tolerable for us, it’s not the same for our pets.

Salt could cause an imbalance in your bird’s electrolytes and fluids. It can also lead to dehydration, kidney failure, or worse, death.

For this reason, it would be best to avoid salted walnuts and choose the unsalted ones instead. Also, prevent walnuts with other flavors and seasonings added.

Give all nuts without shells.

Walnut shells contain an ingredient called aflatoxin. Such a component is exceptionally harmful to birds like your pet, as it can cause liver damage.

Thus, if you’re giving walnuts, always share with the shells already removed from it.

Prevent molds from growing on walnuts.

Keep the walnuts in a dry and cool area to prevent it from getting molds.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t feed walnuts that you won’t eat yourself.

Since moldy food isn’t something we eat, it would be best to avoid feeding your pet.

Further, keeping your walnuts in a moist area can cause fungus to grow, which is also toxic for these birds.

Thus, always make sure your walnuts are in a safe and secured area and avoid giving it with shells intact.

Avoid feeding large servings.

Always make sure you give walnuts in small amounts. Of course, walnuts may be tiny for us, but it can still be big enough for our birds.

It would be best to crush the walnuts before feeding so they can swallow it easily. It’s ideal to do so, mostly if your pet has just finished weaning.

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Do cockatiels like eating walnuts?


Most cockatiels come to like what they eat the most. However, if you are just about to feed walnuts, it may or may not be that your pet will like it.

Due to its texture, most birds and cockatiels, for that matter, come to like walnuts and eat it at most.

A gentle reminder for you, though. If you think your pet likes walnuts, it doesn’t mean you can give it as much as you want.

As always, moderation plays a vital role in keeping your pet as healthy as possible.

Feeding too many walnuts can cause harm, so be mindful of that matter for the sake of your cockatiel.

What kind of nuts are good for cockatiels?

Aside from walnuts, cockatiels can eat the following nuts as well, given that it’s human grade and unsalted. If you have some, you can give it the same as walnuts:

  • Almond (dry roasted/no shells) Almonds contain high levels of anti-nutrients
  • Beechnut
  • Brazil Nut (no shells)
  • Cashews (roasted)
  • Coconut
  • Gumnut
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia
  • Palm-nut
  • Peanut (roasted/no shells)
  • Pecan
  • Pili nut
  • Pine nut
  • Pistachios

As I said earlier, nut snacks are nutritious and will remain as such if appropriately fed.

You can even give your cockatiel some peanut butter, as long as you know the risks.

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Cockatiels can eat walnuts, and it can be a highly nutritious snack for them. Still, there’s a thin line that separates walnuts from becoming healthy and becoming harmful. Thus, you should always be cautious to ensure your pet is safe when feeding such a nutty snack.

All it takes is awareness and caution in feeding peanuts to our birds and other pets. As long as we do so, our pets can enjoy the nutrients without causing any harm.


HealthLine’s nutrition facts on walnuts’s study on phytates’ effects to birds

Image Credits:

  • Photo by Peppe Ragusa on Unsplash
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