Wondering whether parakeets can eat cheese? You might have asked yourself this question based on your specific situation. Perhaps there was a piece of cheese in the vicinity of your parakeet when you were feeding it. Maybe your parakeet flew down to say hi to some kids eating PIZZA and took a moment to try and get a bite of the pizza, or maybe your parakeets are curious about wanting to see what you’re eating.
Keep reading to learn more about parakeet food preferences and the pros and cons of offering your pet parakeet cheese or other dairy products.
So, can parakeets eat cheese? While cheese is not outright lethal to the parakeets, it is not exactly healthy for them either. Some cheese varieties are safer for them than others, but in the end, if you’re feeding them cheese, keep it to a minimum.
While having parakeets as pets is a delightful experience, offering them treats can be tricky. They’re so little and fragile that you have to be utmost careful about what they’re eating. Even if you feed them a small portion of something lethal, they could end up paying for it dearly.
In this article, we are going to discuss different aspects of feeding cheese to parakeets.
Does cheese have any nutritional value for parakeets?
As far as treats are concerned, cheese is not the healthiest one to offer your feathered pets. However, there are some nutrients present in it that your parakeets can gain from. Let’s take a look at these nutrients and their role in your pet’s diet:
1. Vitamin A is essential in all animals and birds. For the parakeets, this vitamin enhances their eyesight and kidney health and supports their brain development.
2. Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells and promotes energy production in their body.
3. Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin is a water-soluble vitamin that supports their nervous system functioning and helps them in the metabolism of both amino acids and fatty acids.
4. The main role of Vitamin K in your bird is to support their blood clotting. The deficiency of this vitamin in their diet could lead to your parakeet bleeding profusely from a minor cut.
5. In addition to supporting the bone formation of the parakeets, Calcium is also responsible for forming their blood vessels, connective tissues, and muscles.
6. Phosphorus has 3 functions in a parakeet’s body: it supports their egg formation, aids their metabolism, and is essential in their bone formation.
7. Zinc promotes the production of insulin in their body and helps in their molting and cartilage development.
Problems with feeding cheese to parakeets
For all the health benefits that cheese can offer your parakeets, there are also many health problems that your pets can suffer from by eating it. These are more likely to happen if you’re feeding them too much cheese or too frequently.
Let’s explore everything that can go wrong with feeding cheese to parakeets:
Most of you might have heard of the condition of lactose intolerance in some people. In this condition, a person lacks the ability to digest lactose, a naturally occurring sugar present in milk and all other dairy products.
Because of this, the consumption of milk or any other dairy product can lead to a stomach ache or other digestive problems.
Unlike mammals, birds like parakeets don’t grow up drinking their mother’s milk, which is why they lack the enzymes required for digesting lactose.
Therefore, they are lactose intolerant as well. And if your lactose intolerant pet will consume too much cheese, they will end up having diarrhea.
Possibility of bacteria
If you have any idea about the production of cheese, you must know about the fermentation process, which is essential in its manufacturing.
Although it doesn’t always happen, there are instances when cheese can pick up some bacteria during fermentation.
Now, if your parakeet eats a cheese that is harboring bacteria, they will suffer from loose and stinking feces right away. In a severe case, they might even need the immediate attention of a veterinarian.
Even if the cheese itself is not that big a problem in moderation, many manufacturers add spices like garlic and onion in order to enhance their taste.
And while the spicy cheese is delicious for us, it might not sit well with your feathered pets. In some cases, the onion and garlic cheese is even known to poison their digestive tracts.
Parakeets and different kinds of cheese
We have already established that cheese, if not fed in strict moderation, can be lethal to your parakeets.
However, if you were to feed cheese to your little pets, which kind of cheese would you go for? After all, most cheese varieties have a different shape, size, and nutritional value. Some are better for the parakeets than others.
Below, we will see which cheese can be fed to your feathered pets in moderation and which ones should be avoided at all costs.
Can parakeets eat cheddar cheese?
Named after the English village where they originated from, the cheddar cheese is an off-white cheese variety that has a hard texture and a somewhat sharp taste.
In about 28 grams of cheddar cheese, the lactose content ranges between 0.4-0.6 grams. Although it is not too much, you should still try to avoid feeding them to your parakeets ideally. Even if you’re feeding them cheddar cheese, do so only once a month.
Can parakeets eat parmesan cheese?
Originally named “Parmigiano-Reggiano,” the parmesan cheese is an Italian cheese variety that has a hard, granular structure and is consumed after aging for at least 12 months.
Parmesan cheese contains no lactose and can easily be consumed by your pets in small quantities.
Can parakeets eat cream cheese?
Made from milk and cream, the cream cheese has a soft, creamy texture and a fresh taste with a mild touch of cheese. The lactose content in cream cheese varies greatly and can even go up to 0.8 grams in 1 ounce of cheese.
Just like cheddar cheese, moderation should be practiced while offering this cheese to your parakeets. Moreover, you should never feed them this cheese alone but always with a cracker.
Can parakeets eat mozzarella cheese?
Originating from the southern parts of Italy, mozzarella is made from the milk of the Italian buffaloes through the pasta filata method.
The lactose content in this cheese is lower in comparison to most cheese varieties (0.08 grams in 1-ounce cheese).
Thus, it is one of the safer cheese varieties to feed your feathered pets. When you feed mozzarella to your parakeets, make sure to chop them into little, bite-sized pieces first.
Can parakeets eat cottage cheese?
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese variety made of curd products. This cheese has a mild flavor and contains a high amount of lactose (when made from the milk of goats or sheep). Cottage cheese is, thus, not safe for your parakeets.
What about non-dairy cheese? Can parakeets eat them?
The major concern about feeding parakeets cheese, or any other dairy product, is its high lactose content which often leads to digestive problems. But what about cheese that is not made of dairy products? Are they safer for your feathered pets? Let’s find out:
While you’d think that soy would be a better option for parakeets than dairy-based cheese, it is not really true. In fact, the hormones present in soy are actually harmful to these birds.
Soy also has a high protein content, which can be detrimental to your pet’s health.
Moreover, eating too much soy can cause your parakeets to suffer from premature aging and deformity of bones and beaks. Even if you are to feed soy cheese to your parakeets, keep it limited.
Of all the cheese varieties in the world, both dairy and non-dairy included, nut-based cheese is the healthiest for your parakeets. Do you know why? Because nuts are an integral part of their natural diet and hold a rich nutritional value for them.
However, before you feed nut-based cheese to your pet friends, make sure to check the label and see if it contains any artificial flavor or additives.
Cheese made from coconut oil
The cheese that is made from coconut oil is a highly processed cheese and should never be fed to your parakeets, just like any other processed food.
Moreover, this cheese often contains onion, garlic, and salt, all of which are detrimental to your pet’s health.
Frequently asked questions
Can parakeets eat flowers? Yes, parakeets eat a variety of flowers in the wild and safely eat them in captivity as well. Roses, petunias, magnolias, hibiscus, daisies, violets, and carnations are some of their favorites. However, you must not feed them flowers bought from a florist or a commercial outlet. If you have their plants growing in your garden, your parakeets can eat them by all means.
Can I feed sunflower seeds to my parakeets? Yes, you can safely feed sunflower seeds to the parakeets. Seeds are a part of their natural diet and can benefit their health greatly.
We hope you found this article helpful and that you gained some insight into whether your parakeet can eat cheese or not. If your bird has special dietary requirements or allergies, always consult a veterinarian before adding something new to his diet.
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