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are sunflower seeds good for budgies?

Can Budgies Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Some owners offer seed or millet as the primary diet for their budgies, alongside some fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Sunflower seeds are tasty and healthy for budgies.

Sunflower seeds are healthy, tasty, and fun for budgies to eat. They can boost your budgie’s immune system, provide energy, reduce inflammation, and provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Black oil and striped sunflower seeds are high in fat, so offer no more than 2 tablespoons per week.

Budgies can bite through and shell sunflower seeds. They even count this as enrichment, turning mealtime into playtime. Don’t roast sunflower seeds, as the added salt, oil, and preservatives are harmful.

Are Budgies Allowed Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds aren’t harmful, nor do they contain toxic or dangerous compounds. However, the high fat content of sunflower seeds means that they should only be given to budgies in small amounts.

Are Sunflower Seeds Good For Budgies?

Sunflower seeds have many health benefits for people, and the same is true of budgies too.

A 1/4 cup of dry, roasted sunflower seeds contains the following:

Calories207 kcal
Protein5.8 grams
Fat19 grams
Carbohydrates7 grams
Fiber3.9 grams

As a treat, they can give your budgie a stronger immune system, more energy, and additional vitamins and minerals.

Let’s explore the health benefits in more detail:

Rich In Vitamins And Minerals

Sunflower seeds are known for being high in protein and healthy fats. They also contain a lot of antioxidants, which keep your budgie healthy.

Here are some of the nutrients:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B6

Sunflower seeds are rich in minerals, including:

  • Iron
  • copper
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Potassium

More Energy

Sunflower seeds are full of protein, which are important for creating energy.

However, there are other compounds found in sunflower seeds that help with energy production, namely vitamin B1 and selenium.

Reduced Inflammation

According to Aging and Disease, inflammation has been linked to aging-related diseases. These diseases include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

Sunflower seeds have anti-inflammatory properties due to their compounds, such as vitamin E and flavonoid antioxidants.

If a budgie becomes sick, whether that’s from bacteria or a virus, sunflower seeds can aid in healing. This can also lower the risk of age-related diseases later in your budgie’s life.

Immune System Booster

Besides aiding with inflammation, sunflower seeds can aid the immune system itself. Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients that boost the immune system, including zinc and selenium.

Zinc, specifically, is essential for a functioning immune system, as it maintains and develops immune cells. Selenium reduces inflammation and fights infection.

Do Budgies Like Sunflower Seeds?

Budgies like sunflower seeds. In fact, the fatty taste of this seed can sometimes lead to an addiction in birds. However, it’s easy to avoid this problem when seeds are fed in moderation.

There are two main types of sunflower seeds: black oil sunflower seeds and striped sunflower seeds. Your budgie can safely eat both kinds, but it may show a preference for one over the other.

Budgies tend to like black oil seeds most of all. However, they have a higher fat content, making it necessary to ration the amount your budgie is given.

Black Oil

Black oil sunflower seeds, also known as oil seeds, have thin shells, making them easy for all birds to open. You can distinguish them from other types by their characteristic black shell.

All sunflower seeds are high in oil. However, as the name implies, black oil seeds have even higher amounts than other types. Because of this, black sunflower seeds are often used in manufacturing sunflower oil.

This high oil content also makes the seed tastier and more appealing while giving the budgie that eats it a boost of energy. As such, it’s no wonder that budgies often gorge themselves on this type when given the chance.

In moderation, a budgie can snack on them healthily. In fact, most commercial bird seeds include black oil sunflower seeds in small amounts.


As the name implies, striped sunflower seeds are black with white stripes running the length of them. Their shell is thicker than the black oil counterparts and larger in size. 

Regarding nutritional content, striped sunflower seeds are lower in oil content. If you get seeds manufactured for human consumption, they’re likely from the striped variety.

are budgies allowed sunflower seeds?

Black vs. Striped Sunflower Seeds For Budgies

Black sunflower seeds are often packaged specifically for birds. The shells are much easier to open, taste better, and give budgies the energy they need.

However, when given in excess or as a regular meal, they can be fattening due to their high oil content. Wild birds can often burn this extra weight off, but pet budgies can become obese.

Striped sunflower seeds are usually cleaner than black sunflower seeds because they’re made for human consumption. It’s not uncommon for packages of black sunflower seeds to have dirt, stones, and other debris in the package.

Most importantly, striped sunflower seeds are harder to overfeed because of their lower oil content.

Roasted Sunflower Seeds For Budgies

Sunflower seeds can be fed to budgies in moderation. However, roasting makes sunflower seeds extremely unhealthy for all birds, parrots especially.

Here are the main reasons why:


Roasted sunflower seeds possess high salt content.

For example, 1 ounce of roasted sunflower seeds can contain about 170 mg of sodium. This is far above what a healthy budgie should be consuming in a single meal.

Your budgie already gets enough sodium from a balanced diet. Any additional sodium, especially from table salt, puts it at risk for various ailments, like kidney and cardiovascular diseases.


Commercially-available roasted sunflower seeds often contain harmful additives and preservatives. These lengthen the shelf-life of food and improve the taste of the seeds.

However, they’re hard to digest and can lead to adverse effects inside your budgie digestive system. For small parrots like budgies, this could be harmful.

High Oil Content

To roast anything, you’ll need oil, and sunflower seeds already have a very high oil content. Roasting the seeds, and adding more oil in the process, makes them more harmful to birds.

Instead, offer the seeds plain and unroasted. This allows the budgie to eat more seeds in one sitting, gaining nutrients without overloading on salt, oil, and additives.

How Much Sunflower Seeds Can Budgies Eat?

You can feed your budgie 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds a week.

When feeding sunflower seeds, provide a balanced and healthy diet alongside them, and never let them become the primary meal. Sunflower seeds are a treat, a training tool, or a dietary supplement.

Can Budgies Eat Sprouted Sunflower Seeds?

Sprouting any seeds will increase their nutritional content and health benefits. In particular, sprouting increases the levels of folate, magnesium, and vitamin C, alongside other compounds.

According to Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, this increase in nutrients is because sprouting removes antinutrients. These are compounds that reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Can Budgies Open Sunflower Seeds?

Budgies can open sunflower seeds. This is true of both the black oil seeds with their thin shell and the striped sunflower seeds with their thicker casing.

However, not all budgies will have a good time opening seeds. This may be because they are too young, too old, or have mobility issues.

For these budgies, consider only giving them black oil sunflower seeds with thinner shells, or provide seeds that have already been hulled. 

Are Sunflower Seeds Safe For Budgies?

Sunflower seeds are safe for budgies to eat, but only in small amounts. Sunflower seeds are better provided as a treat, alongside a healthy and balanced diet.

Vets recommend against a seed-based diet for every budgie. Instead, seeds should only make up a small amount of every meal.

Some vets recommend removing seeds altogether and replacing them with pellets. This formulated diet allows owners to provide carefully balanced meals, ensuring that your budgie gets all the nutrients that it needs.

Seeds can be addictive to birds. It’s common for budgies to only eat the seeds on their plate, ignoring the other food provided to them. This can easily lead to an unbalanced diet, which can lead to disease and illness.

All seeds, like sunflower seeds, do have their health benefits. However, not all seeds are created equal. Sunflower seeds, alongside other types of seeds that are high in fats, are one of the more unhealthy choices for a budgie to eat.