Can Parrots Eat Dairy Products – Safe or Toxic?

Parrots Eat Dairy Products? No, it’s not a good idea to give parrots dairy products. They can’t handle lactose, the sugar in milk, very well. It’s better to feed them fruits, veggies, seeds, and pellets for their health. Basically, parrots shouldn’t eat dairy. Some parrots might not handle dairy well, even though it’s not necessarily harmful to them.

Taking care of your parrot’s diet is super important for its health and happy life. Just like any other living being, they do best when they eat things similar to what they find in the wild. But as parrot owners, we often question if certain foods, like dairy products, are safe and healthy for them.

Parrots and Lactose Intolerance

It’s generally a good idea to steer clear of offering parrots any dairy products. While these items aren’t necessarily harmful to parrots, many of them might not handle lactose all that well. You see, parrots have tummies that work quite differently from ours. They lack the special enzymes needed to digest certain foods that humans can easily process.

Due to this potential lactose intolerance, giving parrots dairy might lead to some problems. Think tummy issues, runny stools, or even missing out on crucial nutrients if dairy replaces important parts of their diet. That’s why veterinarians usually recommend avoiding dairy for parrots to prevent these concerns from popping up.

Dairy Products and Their Lactose Contents

Their Lactose Contents

Here’s a breakdown of common dairy products and the lactose they contain. Keep in mind that the lactose content can vary based on processing methods and specific brands.

  • Milk (Whole, or Skimmed): Contains lactose, so it’s a no-go for parrots.
  • Cream (Heavy, Whipping, Light): Has lactose but less than milk. Not ideal for parrots due to high fat content.
  • Butter: Has trace lactose due to low milk solid content. High fat content, so avoid giving it to parrots.
  • Cheese:
    • Fresh Cheese (Ricotta, Cottage Cheese, Mozzarella, Cream Cheese): Contains lactose, avoid for your birds.
    • Aged Cheese (Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, Gouda): Generally low or negligible lactose due to aging. Might be okay on a case-by-case basis.
  • Yogurt: Has lactose, but some types with live-culture bacteria have almost none. Unsweetened types are best for parrots.
  • Ice Cream: Contains lactose and is often high in sugar – not suitable for birds.
  • Sour Cream: Contains lactose, avoid for birds.
  • Kefir: Has lactose, but fermentation reduces it. Often high in sugar, not the healthiest for birds.
  • Buttermilk: Contains lactose, avoid for parrots.
  • Condensed Milk: Contains lactose and high sugar – not suitable for parrots.
  • Evaporated Milk: Contains lactose and high sugar – not recommended for parrots.
  • Lactose-Free Milk Products: Treated with lactase enzyme to break down lactose. These might be okay for parrots.

Read Also: Parrot Beak Anatomy – All You Need To Know (With Pictures!)

My Parrots Love Dairy Products – What Should I Do?

My Parrots Love Dairy Products

While there are risks, in moderation, some dairy products might offer nutritional perks for parrots. For instance, certain cheeses and yogurts have less lactose than milk and can provide protein and calcium. Still, these treats should be given sparingly and not replace crucial parts of a parrot’s diet. 

In simpler terms, it’s okay for your bird to have a little nibble now and then, but not every day! If you’re concerned about dairy, parrot-friendly alternatives like cuttlebone or mineral blocks can offer similar benefits without the worry of lactose issues.

Most bird experts suggest avoiding dairy for parrots because of the potential for lactose troubles. If you decide to share some dairy with your parrot, keep it limited and opt for low-lactose options like specific cheeses or yogurts. Always keep an eye on your parrot for any negative reactions.

Parrot owners have shared varied experiences with their birds eating dairy. Some say their parrots enjoy bits of cheese with no problems, while others have noticed digestive issues after dairy. Since each bird reacts differently, it’s best to approach with caution and stick to moderation.


Always check the labels on these products because they often tell you about the lactose inside. While some dairy might be okay for parrots, it’s safer to keep it as a special treat, not a regular food. If you’re ever unsure about what to feed your parrot, ask your bird doctor for advice. When in doubt, it’s best not to give your bird any of these dairy items!

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