The Galah (Rose-breasted Cockatoo) FAQ

Part Two: Feeding and Diet

I decided to compile my own Galah FAQ over 7 years ago and it is now up to its third edition here on Medium. I will continue to expand and update this FAQ in the hope it helps out people who are interested in keeping one of these wonderful parrots as a pet. In Part Two, I will cover Diet and Feeding Questions.

For those of you how have missed Part One: Gender and Age, Behaviour, Care and Breeding you can find that here:

Feeding and Diet Questions

What foods will a Galah like to eat?

In my experience, a Galah really enjoys eating berries, nuts and seeds — and fresh corn which seems to do something which makes them more aggressive. They will also enjoy eating the corners of your toast crusts (with no butter and spreads).

What foods does a wild Galah eat?

In the wild, they are known to eat grasses, leaf buds, flowers such as Gravillias and Banksias, seeds and on the occasion, insects for extra protein.

How often should I change my birds water?

I believe it is essential a Galah has fresh water changed every day. If you have more than one water source (or at least two water bowls) you may be able to extend this to every second day depending upon how messy your bird is.

What kind of seeds are best to feed my Galah?

I feel it is best to try to stick with Parrot seed mixes — even though your Galah will absolutely LOVE Sunflower seeds and would be happy to eat nothing but these. One seed mix I have had a lot of success with is Bird Munchies Gourmet Parrot Blend Seed Mix. I recommend this seed mix over most of the other brands because it does not contain ‘filler’ seeds like Sorghum (a round brownish/red seed), Barley or Cracked Corn — most pet birds do not consume these seeds. For this reason, I would not consider any plain label bird seeds.

My Galah “Pinkie” near her treat egg toy

What food treats can I offer my Galah?

Try not to give too many treats as your bird will be more likely to reject its seeds, berries etc. so I try to limit it to only on weekends. I try to give a protein treat and a dairy treat — and I will sometimes give a flower treat when certain flowers are in bloom. When offering treat foods, you can measure them using a teaspoon and I never give more than a rounded teaspoon (not heaped) worth at a time.

My birds favorite treats are hard boiled egg, soft shredded wheat (like Weet-Bix), a big chicken bone (with no meat, gristle is ok), unsalted peanuts in their shells and a square of hard yellow low-fat cheese. For flower treats, I only offer Banksias and Gravillias as you must be careful because giving the wrong flower type can poison your bird. For something fun, try giving the bird a few long pieces of cooked spaghetti (no sauce or seasonings).

Why can’t I feed my Galah just sunflower seeds?

While the birds love them — it will fatten them up and in excess may cause health problems due to their high oil/fat content over time. Ideally, the diet of a Galah should not be more than 20% sunflower seeds (roughly 12–15 seeds per day).

Can I feed my Galah fresh fruit, vegetables and grain based products?

Each day, it’s a good idea to make sure your bird eats something fresh. I have found some birds may not like much fruit at all — so don’t worry too much if they do reject it. You can try the following:

  • Fresh Fruits: Orange and Grapefruit segments; a peeled Fig; segments of Banana; Passionfruit; berries like Raspberries, Strawberries or Blackberries (my bird does not like strawberries but others birds do); Pear and Apple pieces (no core or seeds), Paw Paw (Papaya)
  • Vegetables: Kale; small Corn cob; Spinach; Broccoli; Carrot; Capsicum (Bell Peppers); Squash; Parsley
  • Grain based foods: wholegrain bread crusts; arrowroot biscuit; plain unsalted popcorn; cooked spaghetti (no sauce or seasoning); cold oatmeal (made with water); soft Weet-Bix (shredded wheat)
A great bowl of fresh food including squash, capsicum, pawpaw, passionfruit and grapefruit — Source:

Can I give my Galah other drinks other than water?

I recommend only letting them drink water and to change the water daily or every second day, depending on the mess.

What foods are bad for my Galah’s health?

I would never feed the following foods to a Galah as they can make a bird very sick or even kill them: avocado; the hard seeds/pits from fruit; onions; garlic; tomato leaves and stems (the FRUIT is OK), rhubarb leaves (stalks are ok but I would avoid); dried/raw beans (COOKED Beans are OK in moderation); any food that has spoiled, has mold or is a fungus like mushrooms; chocolate and sugary sweets; raw meats; raw eggs; alcohol; caffeine; potato chips and other salted snacks; cream, ice cream and other dairy products (except for Hard Yellow Cheese and Low Lactose Yogurt in moderation); cured/salted meats; sodas, cordials and juices.

Note that the above list is far from exhaustive. If you are interested in reading more on this subject, I can highly recommend reading this informative page on the The Caique Site — a site dedicated to the Caique species of Parrot — but this information is appropriate for all Parrot species.

Why can you only give a treat the size of a rounded teaspoon?

It’s important to remember that the crop size in a Galah is about the capacity of a rounded (not heaped) teaspoon, so it is a good idea to never feed them more than this amount when offering treats.

How often do Galahs eat during the day?

Galahs will generally graze during the day and eat small amounts whenever they feel the need. I have noticed my bird will eat a little more frequently in the morning compared to the rest of the day.

My bird already eats one of those bad foods and they seem ok..

Being a responsible owner, you would never feed your bird the foods listed as potentially lethal from bird experts. I would suspect the bird is vomiting or having other issues at night or when you are not watching. No one wants to wake up and see a bird on the bottom of the cage, so please don’t continue to do this.

But my Galah really likes to eat chocolate..

Please don’t feed your birds chocolate. It contains sugars and theobromine, the compound that makes consumption potentially lethal for many animals including cats and dogs. If you’re really lucky, your bird will only have to suffer through diarrhea and/or vomiting. A small amount of chocolate can be fatal to a bird, before which they’ll have to endure painful seizures before their death. Again, please be responsible owners and don’t feed these kind of things to your pets.

Why do beans have to be cooked? What about snow peas?

Uncooked beans and legumes (including snow peas) contain lectin and phytic acid which when consumed by birds can give adverse affects such as vomiting and diarrhea. I personally would not risk giving these to my bird raw. I have read sugar snap peas are fine for birds to eat raw as long as they don’t consume the pea pods but I have not attempted to feed these to my own bird.

I’ve observed wild cockatoos eating seeds from my plum tree, so there are obviously fruit seeds that these birds like. Right?

I’ve read that plums are fine to eat but not the pits, as they contain traces of cyanide, just like in apple seeds. For another reference other than the one listed in the question “What foods are bad for my Galahs health?”, refer to Parrot and Conure World, which is also a very good bird resource site.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you skipped past or have missed Part One: Gender and Age, Behaviour, Care and Breeding — you can find that here:

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