No matter how much you want to add variety to your bird’s menu, cheese is not the way to it.
Though, small amounts of low-fat cheese may be used as treats on rare occasions.
However, the common consensus of bird breeders is that “Cheese is not good for your budgie’s health”.
So, if you are wondering:
Is It Okay to Feed My Parakeet Cheese?
Nope, it’s a bad idea.
It’s like going against a bird’s natural routine.
You see, cheese contains lactose and birds cannot digest it, as they lack lactase enzymes in their guts.
Consequently, all birds are lactose-intolerant.
So, feeding your budgie lactose won’t provide him any energy and will likely cause diarrhea or some other issue.
Not to mention the salts within the cheese.
The high salts can cause ionic imbalance or severe dehydration to your budgie. This also strains the kidneys and the brain.
Furthermore, cheese is abundant in fat content. A wild budgie may be able to digest this fat by flying around all day. But for a pet budgie, this is only fattening him up and increasing his risk of diseases.
Besides, fats take longer to digest compared to carbohydrates. So, even for a wild budgie, cheese may not provide enough energy for its immediate needs.
Now, if you are already feeding cheese to your bird, you may be worrying:
What Happens To a Bird That Eats Cheese?
Small amounts of cheese say once a month may not cause any issues.
So, if your budgie already loves the cheese, then maybe you can give him cheese as special treats on rare occasions.
I recommend opting for cheese with low salts and lactose such as lean curd cheese or cottage cheese.
Just make sure plenty of water is available to your bird, as consuming cheese leads to extreme thirst.
But if you are feeding cheese to your bird in large quantities and on daily basis, you are exposing your bird to health issues like:
- Heart rate fluctuations
- Poor metabolism and slow growth
- Kidney issues
- Chronic diarrhea
Even if your bird doesn’t show any symptoms of concern, you may be reducing his overall life span without even realizing it.
So, feeding cheese to your budgie is not in his best interests.
But if cheese is not an option,
Can Budgies Eat Dairy?
Again, all dairy products contain lactose and birds are lactose-intolerant.
So, feeding dairy products to your bird will be wasteful and probably harmful.
So, Birds can eat dairy, but they shouldn’t.
Though, there is not much point in thinking about which dairy product is the least dangerous one.
But if you must know, it’s low-fat yogurts.
Regardless, I suggest you avoid all kinds of dairy products.
I suppose the idea of feeding dairy products to your budgie came from “Milk has calcium, and my bird needs it for its bones”.
But if it’s just about calcium, then here are a few of the alternatives:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Cuttlebone to provide calcium minerals but also to help shape the beak
- Nuts and seeds with additional nutritional value
- Calcium mineral blocks
So, if dairy is no good for my budgie then:
What Should You Not Feed Budgies?
If you doubt any food item, don’t feed it to your budgie for the sake of his heath.
Here is a list of toxic foods for budgies:
Giving chocolate to your budgie is probably one of the worst things you could do to him. Chocolate contains detrimental elements like caffeine and theobromine. These can cause:
- Increased heart rates
- Tremors or seizures
Unfortunately, a toxic dose of chocolate can even result in your budgie’s Death.
Persin is a fungicidal toxin found profoundly in avocados. It is highly poisonous to birds especially baby birds. A toxic dose of persin may result in:
- Respiratory fluctuations
- Heart damage
- Muscle weakness
Therefore, avocadoes must be avoided at all costs.
3. Onions and Garlic
These contain thiosulphates and their ingestion can trigger:
- Hemolytic anemia characterized by bursting red blood cells
- Gastroenteritis or inflammation of the gut
4. Medicinal herbs
Herbs that are beneficial to humans may be harmful to your birds. One such medicinal herb is comfrey, known for its magenta bell-shaped flowers. A high intake of comfrey can cause liver damage to your budgie.
5. Fruit Pits and Seeds
While the flesh of most fruits is healthy for your budgie, but their pits may contain traces of cyanide. These include pits of apricots, cherries, plums, and peaches. This is also true for apple seeds.
Cyanide is a poison for both humans and animals, leading to respiratory malfunction. Therefore, always remove the seeds and pits of fruits before offering these to your budgie.
6. Certain Plants
All that green is not edible.
For instance, the leaves of potatoes, eggplants, rhubarb, and even peppers are toxic to budgies. These are rich in oxalates and often end up as kidney stones.
7. Seasoned/Processed Foods:
Budgies are not supposed to eat fried chips, salsa dips, or seasoned salads. It is best to avoid all fried or processed foods, primarily because they are either rich in fats, sugars, or salts. So:
- Overconsumption of fats is not only difficult to digest but may as well cause liver, heart, or brain malfunction.
- Highly concentrated sugars may vary a bird’s heart rate or cause kidney damage.
- Intake of salts may result in electrolyte imbalance or kidney stones.
Some breeders feed crushed candies to their budgies, assuming it will buy them the favor of their bird. Now, few of those go as far as feeding sugar-free candies to their budgies.
I am not even kidding.
Sadly though, all sweets are poison to your budgie, especially sugar-free ones. Since sugar-free candies contain xylitol, these may cause either hypoglycemia or severe liver damage to your budgie.
Just like dairy products, some foods are non-toxic to birds but only in small quantities. Hence, they are not recommended. These include:
- Peanuts: especially moldy old ones.
- Mushrooms: are extremely toxic for both humans and animals. Though, cooked mushrooms may lose their poison, yet, even those are not okay for your bird.
- Grit: when overconsumed, may cause intestinal blockage.
- Tomatoes: are highly acidic and their ingestion may lead to gut complications.
After going through this list
I know what you’re thinking..
What Can I Feed My Budgie?
Don’t worry, you can still feed your budgie a variety of things, like:
- Fruits such as apples, bananas, apricots, mangoes, grapes, and berries.
- Vegetables especially green leafy including alfalfa, spinach, broccoli, celery as well as potatoes, cucumbers, cooked beans, and carrots
- Nuts e.g. almonds, walnuts, pecans
- Hard-boiled eggs, cooked chicken, tuna
- Commercial pellets
Nonetheless, the key to a budgie’s health is balance and moderation.
Wrapping It Up
Budgies can eat cheese, but only in small amounts and as rare treats.
Since dairy is not a natural part of a bird’s diet and birds cannot digest milk lactose.
Therefore, offering cheese to your bird is never recommended.
Dairy aside, you must never give your budgie foods like chocolate, avocados, fruit pits, seasoned and processed foods.
A healthy budgie is a happy budgie and that is what every bird parent wants!
Related Article – Can budgies eat broccoli?