Are Peanuts Bad For Cockatoos? The Truth About Feeding Peanuts to Your Cockatoos

Caring for our feathered friends involves knowing what kinds of foods are safe and nutritious for them. In the world of pet birds, the question of whether or not peanuts are bad for cockatoos can be quite confusing.

After all, some birds do enjoy this legume while others can experience health issues. Let’s dive into the topic to uncover the truth and provide you with the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions about your cockatoo’s diet.

In short, peanuts aren’t inherently toxic to cockatoos. However, they can pose a risk due to their susceptibility to mold and potential choking hazards. It’s important to know the risks and alternatives before feeding peanuts to your cockatoo.

Join us as we explore the potential dangers of peanuts, how they can impact your cockatoo’s health, and the best alternatives to provide a safe and nutritious diet for your beloved pet.

Why the Controversy on Peanuts for Cockatoos?

Hidden Dangers of Peanuts

Peanuts are commonly enjoyed by humans and animals alike because of their delicious taste and nutritional value. Unfortunately, peanuts are highly prone to developing molds that produce toxic substances called aflatoxins. These toxins are a significant concern for cockatoos due to their highly sensitive respiratory systems.

Aflatoxins and Cockatoos

Aflatoxins are highly toxic and can pose serious health consequences for your bird when ingested, including liver damage, immune system suppression, and even death in severe cases. Moreover, research suggests that the harmful effects of these toxins can be cumulative, increasing the risk over time with constant exposure.

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Potential Choking Hazard

Aside from the fungal contamination issue, whole peanuts can pose a choking hazard to cockatoos. The size and shape of peanuts make them difficult for your bird to handle, leading to potential choking or blockage in the digestive tract.

Alternatives to Peanuts for Cockatoos

Safer Nut Options

The great news is that there are plenty of safer, healthier options for cockatoos if you want to include nuts in their diet. Almonds, cashews, and walnuts are just a few examples of nuts that provide a lower risk of mold contamination and are easier for your bird to eat.

Seeds and Grains

Seeds such as sunflower seeds, millet, and flax are also excellent alternatives for your cockatoo. These seeds are less likely to harbor mold and often pack plenty of essential nutrients and healthy fats necessary for your bird’s overall health.

Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into your bird’s diet is another way to provide essential nutrition while avoiding the potential dangers of peanuts. Some excellent fresh produce options for cockatoos include apples, bananas, carrots, and leafy greens such as spinach or kale. Be sure to wash any fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove any possible pesticide residue or bacteria.

Proper Cockatoo Nutrition and Diet

Cockatoos require a varied and balanced diet to maintain their overall health and wellbeing. Alongside the alternative food options mentioned above, it’s essential to provide your feathered friend with high-quality pelleted bird food as the foundation of their diet. These pellets are specially formulated to meet a cockatoo’s nutritional requirements and minimize the chance of nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to various health problems.

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Storing Bird Food Safely

Proper food storage is paramount in preventing contamination and mold growth. Make sure to store all bird food, including nuts and seeds, in airtight containers in a cool, dry place. Also, watch for any signs of mold or spoilage before offering the food to your cockatoo, and routinely check the storage area for signs of moisture or pests.


In conclusion, while peanuts are not inherently toxic to cockatoos, they do pose potential health risks such as mold contamination and choking hazards. As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to consider these risks and provide your cockatoo with safer, healthier alternative food options. Ensuring a balanced, nutritious diet will help keep your feathered friend happy and healthy for many years to come.


Q: Why are peanuts dangerous for cockatoos?

A: Peanuts are prone to mold growth that produces aflatoxins, which are toxic to cockatoos. They can also pose a choking hazard due to their size and shape.

Q: What other nuts can I feed my cockatoo?

A: Almonds, cashews, and walnuts are just a few examples of safer nuts for your cockatoo.

Q: Are sunflower seeds safe for cockatoos?

A: Yes, sunflower seeds are generally safe and nutritious for your bird, providing an excellent alternative to peanuts.

Q: Do I need to wash fruit and vegetables before feeding them to my cockatoo?

A: Absolutely. Washing fresh produce before offering it to your bird helps remove pesticide residues and bacteria that could cause illness.

Q: How do I store my bird’s food safely?

A: Keep all bird food, including nuts and seeds, in airtight containers in a cool, dry place to prevent contamination and mold growth.

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