Can Parrots Drink Milk? (Dairy & Vegetarian)

Milk is one of the well-known drinks in all history, yet some people won’t be able to tolerate the lactose (sugar) in milk and it can cause them abdominal distress. But what about parrots?

Can parrots drink milk?

No. Parrots can’t drink milk because of the absence of the lactase enzyme that breaks down the lactose in milk for further digestion. Undigested milk can cause parrot diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Although milk is not toxic, these symptoms can make the parrot go through really uncomfortable times.

And in this article, we will dive into everything about milk for parrots, and what are the best alternatives for dairy milk. So, without further ado, let’s get into this.

can parrots drink milk

Why Parrots Shouldn’t Drink Milk

Yes, milk itself is not toxic or harmful for parrots, and in fact, small sips of milk won’t cause any bad symptoms, yet milk, coffee, or tea are not one of the natural drinks for parrots, water, and organic fruits juices are the only drinks allowed for them. And if you think about it, parrots are not mammals, and they don’t need milk when they hatch out of their eggs, because the eggs contain all the nutrients they need to develop, so why they will need it when they are older.

For mammals, milk is essential after birth, as it is the only thing they can digest and benefit from until they grow and start chewing solid food like grass and tree leaves. Some of the mammals will have a reduction in lactase enzyme production, leading them to develop what we called lactose intolerance, just like what happens with some of us humans.

In another sentence, mammals have the ability to digest lactose at younger ages, and they might lose it later on. And parrots don’t have this ability, whether they are young or old.

Apart from that, yes, small sips of milk won’t harm any parrot, and you might think that it’s worthy to let your parrot drink milk and benefit from whatever these small sips contain. The truth is that there is nothing worthy within small sips of milk, and every nutrient found in milk is in fact available in many other different natural resources for parrots to consume. Not to mention that parrot won’t be able to digest the milk and it will stay and get out intact.

However, serving milk to parrot as something new to try is ok, but it should never happen using a glass or bowl as the portion the bird may drink could irritate its digestive system, I recommend using a syringe just like the one used when feeding baby parrots. The parrot may like the taste of milk and it may scream for more, so it’s on you to handle it while knowing it could cause bad symptoms for the bird.

Which Parrot Can Drink Milk?

Milk is not natural to consume for every type of parrot, like African greys, macaws, cockatiels, conures, cockatoos, Quakers, etc. And all types of parrots will suffer from gas, diarrhea, bloating, and digestive system irritation. At least if they consume it in large portions.

What About Other Types Of Milk?

As a rule of thumb, any dairy milk will contain lactose, whether it was cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or any other type of mammal. So, it’s always going to be bad for parrots to consume, and the best practice is to avoid it. However, there are different types of vegetarian milk, and some of them in fact are beneficial for parrots more than dairy milk. And These may include:

Can Parrots Drink Oatmeal Milk?

Oatmeal is a type of vegetarian milk that is made by grinding oatmeal and mixing it with water. There are many brands of oatmeal milk and they may add some extra ingredients to enhance the flavor, and if this is the case, avoiding oatmeal for the parrot is recommended, because of the unknown ingredients that are used to make.

However, small portions of organic oatmeal can be really beneficial for pet parrots if consumed, and this, of course, should be in moderation. The benefits of oatmeal milk are numerous. It’s good for bone health, free of lactose, a great source of vitamins and minerals. Apart from that, every cup (240ML) of oatmeal milk contains the following:

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbs: 16 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin B12 
  • Riboflavin
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus 
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Potassium
  • Iron

Can Parrots Drink Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk is the white flesh of the fruits blended with water. This creamy milk is lactose-free and parrots can drink it as long as it is organic. However, coconut is not natural for parrots, even in wild they can not open up a coconut and eat the flesh inside, thus serving coconut milk in moderation is recommended.

The benefits of the coconuts for parrots may include better heart health, boosting the immune system, and providing healthy antioxidants to prevent any damages to the cellular level of the bird’s body. Coconut milk is also good for the skin and feathers of the bird.

Not to mention the other vitamins and minerals that coconuts milk comprises, and some of them are:

  • Protein
  • Carbs
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium

Can Parrots Drink Almond Milk?

Yes, almond milk is lactose-free and parrots can drink it, but moderation is highly recommended because of the high-fat content that may lead your parrot to develop a fatty liver condition and maybe obesity. Apart from that, serving organic almond milk is the only way to allow parrots to have it, because many brands of almonds milk may add a lot of unknown ingredients to the mix to enhance the flavor or the nutrient content of the milk.

Yet Almond milk can provide wonderful benefits if served moderately, and here are some of the benefits:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Riboflavin
  • Phosphorus

Can Parrots Drink Soy Milk?

Yes, soy milk is also lactose-free and parrot can drink it in small portions as long as it is labeled organic. Non-organic soy milk contains bacterial genes that may harm the parrot’s system and lead to unwanted symptoms. Apart from that, you should consider moderation when serving soy milk to your parrots.

When doing that, soy milk can provide wonderful benefits for the bird that may include a better heart and circular system, good for the brain, because of the omega-3 found in soy milk. Apart from the vitamin and minerals that exist in the type of milk. Just remember, moderation is the key. You don’t want your bird from bad side effects after over-serving.

Can Parrots Drink Chocolate Milk?

Of course no, neither dairy milk with chocolate nor vegetarian milk with chocolate, and this is because chocolate contains theobromine that can be harmful and intoxicating for parrots, and when added to any vegetarian milk it will ruin the health benefits of it parrots and may turn it into a dangerous drink. So no, parrots can’t drink chocolate milk whatsoever, and they shouldn’t be allowed to even taste it.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, all dairy milk types are not natural nor safe for parrots to consume because the lactose levels that will cause harmful but not deadly symptoms to the bird. Yet, there is no guarantee that diarrhea won’t continue over days, causing the bird extreme dehydration and food refusal, and in this case, death is possible. Better alternatives to dairy milk are vegetarian milk. However, it’s also not natural for parrots and you should serve only the organic brand and with a small portion from time to time.

And yes, that’s about it. I hope you found this article informative and easy to digest. Thank you for reading…

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