Many people love milk, even though some are allergic to it. And if you have a conure, you’re probably wondering if milk is safe for your pet bird.
Birds can drink milk, but only in little amounts. In this article, you’ll learn about why birds can’t drink too much milk, the kinds of milk, and other drinks your conure can drink besides water.
While it’s okay for your conure to drink little amounts of milk, it may not be necessarily beneficial. Unlike mammals, birds hatch from an egg. Mammals produce milk for their newborn offspring.
The milk offers different nutrients for the young bird, including carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, minerals, water, etc. But conures can’t do this because they’re not mammals.
During the birds’ incubation period, the egg contains every essential nutrient that the young bird needs to survive and grow. After hatching the hound bird, the mothering conure doesn’t produce milk. Instead, she regurgitates food for her baby.
Since conures don’t produce milk for their offspring, milk isn’t a part of their diet. In fact, it’s foreign to them. Conures rather get nutrition from things in the wild, including vegetables, fruits, flowers, seeds, and nuts.
They are not disposed to milk-related products, such as yogurt and cheese, in their natural environment. So they don’t have the necessary enzymes needed for digesting the sugars (or lactose) within the milk. While milk isn’t harmful to conures, but it isn’t necessarily beneficial either.
What If My Conure Takes Milk?
You don’t have to worry if your conure has taken a little amount of milk. Taking a little amount of cereal or oatmeal with milk once in a while is unlikely to result in any harm for your bird.
However, you should note that while little milk quantities are less likely to harm your conures, larger amounts of milk could. Since your conure doesn’t have the necessary enzymes for digesting the lactose, the fluids can be passed into its digestive tract. It can result in diarrhea.
Can Conures Drink Lactose-Free Milk?
Conures can drink lactose-free milk. There are some commercially available milk products manufactured for lactose-intolerant people that your bird shouldn’t have. There are divided opinions on this subject.
While it’s proven that salt and lactose contents of cheese vary and some cheese brands don’t contain lactose, research reveals that cheese contains aspergillosis and aflatoxins, depending on the type and age.
If you decide to give your conure cheese, yellow cheese is good. Avoid the white ones. Also, ensure that the lactose-free milk or milk by-product you’re offering your pet bird contains no additives or preservatives that can harm them.
Can Conures Drink Coconut Milk?
Conures can drink coconut milk. However, like other kinds of milk, you need to limit its intake. Just as a conure’s ideal diet doesn’t require milk, coconut milk is also not needed.
Besides, it’s very high in fats and calories, which you need to monitor in your conure bird. You can occasionally offer your conure coconut milk as a treat, but it shouldn’t be a part of its regular diet.
If you’re hoping to give your conure coconut milk, you’ll want to avoid purchasing it in cans. The can’s lining can easily leach into the coconut milk, exposing you or the conure to BPA (a chemical compound used in plastics production).
Although coconut milk is hard to find outside tropical regions, you can still choose to purchase it in bottles or cartons instead of cans.
Can Conures Drink Almond Milk?
Your conure can drink almond milk. But it’s only safe for birds in little amounts. And keep in mind that your conure doesn’t have the right enzymes needed to digest milk appropriately.
If you’re hoping to give your conure almond milk, it should only be an occasional treat.
Can Conures Take Yogurt?
Giving yogurt to your conure isn’t a bad idea, but ensure to choose plain yogurt without any added preservatives, dyes, or sugars. An excess of these ingredients can cause harm to your conure.
Plain/Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and healthy fat for conures, but you should only stick to not more than ½ a teaspoon of yogurt for your bird per day.
What Can Conures Drink Besides Water?
Fruit juices are okay for your conure, and apple juice is a great starter. Natural fruit juices offer more nutrients (such as minerals and vitamins) than water, and they can be used to mask the taste of medications (vitamins and antibiotics) that may be included in their drinking water.
But it would be best if you avoided any fruit juice with staining substances like grape juice. Any fruit juice that contains perishable items should be changed within 12 to 24 hours, especially on warm days to prevent spoilage. The juice must not contain salts or sugar.
How Can You Give Your Conure Milk?
If you decide to give your conure some milk, it’s advisable not to do so in a bottle or bowl to avoid giving the bird too much. When giving them milk to drink, you can use a syringe to enable you to monitor the quantity they are taking in.
However, even the syringe technique isn’t recommended. Since milk has no essential benefits for conures, it’s pointless offering it to them as a drink.
The best way to offer milk to your conure is to mix it with other foods (such as oatmeal, cereal, or cooked grains) that provide your conure with the nutrients they need to survive and stay healthy.
Most kinds of milk are safe for your conure, but in very little amounts. Keep in mind that flavored milk and chocolate milk shouldn’t be an option.
These milk types contain toxic ingredients that could result in serious side effects and possibly death for your conure. If you’re looking to feed your conure other kinds of milk, ensure to combine it with nutritional meals.
And also, remember that your conure’s digestive enzymes aren’t the same as yours, and it can’t digest milk easily. So while you’re enjoying a full cup of milk, your conure’s intake should be limited and monitored.