Can Parrots Drink Milk?

Milk is quite possibly my favorite drink to have, I swear I’ve never broken a bone simply due to the amount I consume. If I could have a pet cow to have unlimited milk then I would.

With foods I’m having I would usually share them with my parrot, but last week I was drinking a glass of milk and my bird was looking at me rather eagerly but I’d never given him milk before so I wasn’t sure if he could have it. This lead to me researching and putting my findings into this article for other curious parrot parents. Let’s get into it.

Can parrots drink milk? Technically parrots can drink milk as it contains no immediate toxins that are harmful to them. However milk contains lactose and many parrots are lactose intolerant therefore giving milk to your parrot would lead to problems like diarrhea and stomach problems. Don’t worry if your bird has taken a few sips they are likely going to be fine.

In this article I’m going to explain why milk is bad for parrots, can they have coconut milk and some other things you should know as a parrot parent.

Is Milk Safe For Parrots?

As we’ve spoke about milk isn’t exactly the safest drink you can give to your parrot. It’s not going to immediately harm your parrot but it isn’t going to do their digestive system any favors either.

The high content of lactose in milk would upset their stomach and cause problems like aches and diarrhea. While none of these are fatal it’s not exactly what you want for your parrot. Extreme diarrhea can also lead to dehydration.

There’s also a high fat content in milk making it another reason why it’s not the best choice of drink to give to your feathered friend.

Milk contains a high amount of fat, and not the good kind that nuts have. High fat in a parrots diet can lead to an array of problems like weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and an increased cancer risk.

Can Parrots Drink Chocolate Milk?

chocolate milk

Arguably the worst kind of milk you can give to your parrot is chocolate milk. This is because it has all the bad properties milk has, combined with all the negatives that come with chocolate too.

Chocolate is also on the toxic list for parrots, meaning it can potentially be life threatening to them if they have enough. However chocolate milk isn’t likely to contain enough to harm your bird.

Chocolate milk is also known for it’s high sugar content, which can lead to :

  • Unwanted weight gain
  • Increased pressure on the cardiovascular system
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Can increase cellular aging

While sugar isn’t toxic to parrots it’s not going to do them any favors nutritionally, similar to humans we both need to watch how much sugar we consume.

Can Parrots Drink Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk is probably the best kind of milk to give your parrot but it’s still not good for them as it’s high in calories and fats. If you are going to buy coconut milk then avoid buying it canned as your parrot can be exposed to BPA, an industrial chemical used to make plastic.

BPA is usually non-toxic to humans because there’s so little found in plastic to harm us, however our parrots are a lot smaller than us so it doesn’t take much to effect them.

What Will Happen If I Give Milk To My Parrot?

If you’ve given your parrot milk without knowing it’s bad for them or you’ve found them slurping away when milk has been left unattended then it’s good to know what will happen to them.

Thankfully milk isn’t toxic for birds so if your parrot has had a few sips from a leftover cereal bowl they won’t be subject to any harm. However if they’ve had some more than that then your parrot will be likely to experience some stomach upset – mainly in the form of diarrhea.

If this happens to your pet be sure to give them plenty of water as diarrhea will naturally dehydrate you.

There’s no shame in contacting your avian vet if your parrots had some milk, you’d rather be safe than sorry!

Better Alternatives To Milk


A much healthier alternative to milk is water. Similar to humans parrots also need water to survive and prevent health hazards that water can help with.

Your parrots body is made up of 75% water and it’s involved in basically every process that goes on in their body.

Water is needed for the following :

  • Remove excess minerals and waste
  • Help with body temperature
  • A healthy heart, kidneys and other organs
  • Keep cells healthy

Avoid the use of flavored water as they are filled with preservatives and extra sugars to make it more tasty for humans, they can have ill effects on your bird.

Milk For Parrots – Final Thoughts

Milk should be avoided for your parrot as they are lactose intolerant and milk may cause some upset within their digestive system. However if you are going to give them milk then I’d recommend going with coconut milk as it’s the safest option. Be sure to give it very rarely as it’s high in calories which can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

A better drink for your parrot is… water of course. It keeps our feathered friends hydrated and doesn’t contain any substances that can harm them.