ARTICLES | Parrot Diet

Chickweed - Just a Weed and Budgie Treat?

Chickweed is loved by budgerigars and other parrots. It is also one of the most underestimated plants. Not only is chickweed more nutritious than lettuce, it may also be harvested almost throughout the whole year. You may find its tender leaves under a layer of snow allowing our feathered companions – and also us – to enjoy fresh and healthy greens during the entire year.

Where do you Find Chickweed?

Chickweed: Healthy Nutrition for Budgerigar, Parrots and other Birds

Chickweed Healthy Nutrition for Budgies, Parrots and other Birds

Chickweed supposedly exists since the stone age. In the temperate regions of the world this plant may be found almost anywhere. Propagation takes place mostly through seeds of which a single plant may produce up to fifteen-thousand. You may find chickweed in gardens, along the sides of country lanes and on meadows. Of course you must pay attention to collect only plants that have not been polluted in some way or another. Therefore, you should not collect chickweed growing besides busy streets, dog walking areas or in gardens in which pesticides have been used. If you really want to be on the safe side, you may easily grow chickweed on your window sill.

How do you Use Chickweed?

The plant may be eaten fresh, but also in its dried state. You may also prepare a tea from chickweed. For this you may us either the infusion or the maceration method.


Chickweed is rich in vitamin A (pre-vitamin stage) which is especially important for your parrots. The plant also contains great amounts of vitamin C, etheric oils flavonoids and the minerals potassium, silicic acid, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and copper.

Nutrients per 100g edible plant

Calories kcal Carbohydrates g
Water 91.3 g Protein 1.8 g
Dietary Fibre 2.8 g

Iron 4600 ųg Potassium 580 mg
Calcium 150 mg Magnesium 45 mg

Vit. A (Total Carotinioids) 380 ųg Vitamin C 75 mg

Source: Souci/Fachmann/Kraut, “Lebensmitteltabelle für die Praxis”, Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Lebensmittelchemie, 3. Auflage, 2004

Medical Applications

Apart from the plant’s nutritious value it has also medicinal uses. According to folk medicine, chickweed is said to have pain-relieving, tonic, wound healing, expectorant, digestive and diuretic properties. Internally applied, chickweed may be used for rheumatism and arthritis. Externally applied, the plant is said to help with small injuries and skin problems. Chickweed is also said to help against cysts and tumors.
It is also claimed that a maceration of chickweed will reduce fat cells. For this purpose add 30 g chickweed to one litre of cold water and let it steep for at least four hours. Even if this has never been scientifically proven, at least it won’t do any harm. Who knows, maybe this is the reason why budgerigars love chickweed so much. After all, in captivity many of them have weight issues. Perhaps the indulgence in chickweed is your birds’ attempt to medicate and help themselves.


In my opinion, chick weed yield an important contribution to your bird’s diet. If you can, harvest it fresh from your garden or windowsill. As many of the healthy ingredients are maintained during drying, you may also add dried chickweed to your birds’ diet.