Beans: An Ancient Food Provides Nutrition For Your Flock

Beans for Parrots? Absolutely!

Variety of Beans
Beans For Parrots? Yes!. Maximilian Stock Ltd./ Getty Images

 Beans have been in the human diet for centuries. They are a solid source of vegetable protein and have been harvested for this protein since pre-biblical times. Evidence of bean planting and harvesting has been found in archeological digs all over the world so apparently many cultural groups found their taste and nutrition valuable. In many cultures beans became the staple food as they are easily grown and stored for the hard times many people went through over the years as well as during the winter when growing and harvesting anything was impossible.


But not unlike today these cultures had their favorite varieties.

Lentils were found on the banks of the Euphrates River in what is now modern-day Northern Syria. Those lentils had been kicking around for a while because archeologists estimated them to be ten thousand years old. Lentils were a favorite of Ancient Egyptians. What is thought to be the remains of a lentil paste was discovered in some tombs that date back to the 3rd century B.C. in the ancient city of Thebes about 400 miles south of Cairo.

While beans were popular in ancient Egypt, The ancient Greeks were not as fond of them. They were regarded as a poor man’s food. The Greeks also didn’t much care for fava beans and didn’t allow priests to eat them due to the little dark sports on the beans which they equated with death. But they finally caught up with the value of beans centuries later when writers and leaders began realizing what a good food source they were.


Easily stored and an excellent low-cost source of high quality vegetable protein, beans are also low in fat and are good food for both you and your flock. And due to their low cost, this will allow you to get great food into your parrot’s bowl for very little money. 

Beans are a high-fiber food. There is about 12 grams of fiber in one cup of cooked beans.

Fiber is very important in aiding digestion as well as allowing the proper absorption of the nutrition in food. 

How does this work? Well, beans are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers. The soluble fiber slows down the digestion process by forming a gel-like paste in your parrot’s intestinal tract allowing it to move slowly and making the nutrition more available to the body. Once the absorption process is complete, the insoluble fiber takes over and speeds up the process of expelling the spent food, efficiently moving it along and out of the body. 

The nutritional properties of beans are quite interesting as well.  As I stated before, they are low in fat and high in protein, but they also cholesterol-free and are a great source of vitamins as well as riboflavin, copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and Vitamin B6.

Research has indicated that they high in antioxidants. These valuable antioxidants fight free-radicals. Free Radicals cause damage in a living system's cellular structures and in DNA.

Most birds seem to take to properly cooked beans. I’m not sure if it’s the flavor or the texture, but they are quite the popular food item with my parrots. Parker, one of my African Greys seems to use a bean as a foraging toy.

He will peel the bean out of its skin before consuming it. 

Stock up on dried beans in the bags when they are on sale. They keep in your pantry for a long time so you will be able to store them and use them as needed. 

Cooked beans can go into just about any food you prepare for your birds. They can easily be added to mixed chopped vegetables, in a Grain Bake or mixed with sprouts. They would pair well with steamed vegetables or even occasionally on their own. 

By learning to prepare them properly and safely, you can incorporate this inexpensive and valuable food source into your flock’s diet for a boost to they nutrition as well as your wallet.