Most parrots like the taste of coconut due to its subtle flavor. It’s also easy for most parrots to eat. However, smaller parrots struggle to crack open the tough outer shell, so it must be unshelled and cut into chunks.
Coconut is safe for parrots to eat. It’s high in nutrients, including calcium, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, and fatty acids. However, coconut is high in saturated fat and calories. Most kinds of coconut are OK for parrots to eat, but desiccated coconut expands in the stomach, making it dangerous. Similarly, coconut cream and coconut yogurt can make your parrot feel unwell.
Whenever you consider feeding coconut-flavored items to your parrot, make sure you choose a quality brand. Similarly, check the ingredients to make sure there are no added ingredients, like sugar and sweeteners.
Can Parrots Eat Coconut?
Coconut is safe for parrots to eat. While desiccated coconut and coconut cream are unsuitable, fresh coconut and coconut milk provide parrots with a range of nutrients needed to stay healthy.
Other coconut varieties are also okay for your parrot to eat, including flakes and shredded coconut. However, they don’t have as much nutritional value as feeding a parrot fresh coconut.
Coconut Nutritional Information
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, one cup of fresh coconut (85 g) contains the following nutrients:
|Nutrient of Mineral||Amount|
|Vitamin C||2.8 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.17 µg|
|Fatty Acids||25.2 g|
Is Coconut Good For Parrots?
Coconut is healthy for parrots because it contains many nutrients and minerals that they need to remain healthy. This includes:
|Calcium:||Keeps bones strong and healthy while improving muscle health|
|Fiber:||Healthy gut health and digestion, creates more regular bowel movements|
|Phosphorus:||Filters waste, repairs tissue and cells, and creates energy|
|Potassium:||Helps muscles and bones grow properly and clots the blood|
|Magnesium:||Helps the body absorb calcium. It’s also important for nerve and muscle function|
|Iron:||Allows the blood to carry oxygen around the body, preventing anemia|
|Fatty Acids:||Helps treat bacteria, viral and yeast infections. Also helps balance insulin levels|
|Protein:||Builds muscle tissue, improves brain health, and produces healthy blood cells|
85 g of fresh coconut contains 11.9 g of calcium. While this isn’t as high as kiwis and other fruits, coconut can help boost your parrot’s calcium levels, preventing a deficiency from forming. Calcium is essential for:
- Building strong bones
- Maintaining healthy eggshells
- Reducing the risk of chick mortality
- Preventing hypocalcemia (low calcium)
- Stopping parrots from plucking their feathers out
- Reducing the risk of heart disorders
- Lowering cholesterol
- Preventing muscle pain and contractions
- Improving balance and coordination
With a healthy, balanced diet, parrots get all the calcium they need from their diet. Therefore, adding coconut as a weekly treat can reduce the risk of harmful conditions from arising.
Parrots need roughage in their diets to help with the digestive process. Fiber keeps the gut regular and healthy, as well as softening stools and preventing constipation.
Not only that, but fiber fills parrots up, preventing them from getting hungry too quickly and overeating as a result.
Phosphorous is found in the bones, teeth, body fluids, and soft tissue. Phosphorus is important because it:
- Keeps eggshells strong and healthy
- Improves bone formation
- Metabolizes fats and carbs
- Allows the body to use proteins and lipids properly
- Filters waste
- Repairs tissue and cells
However, too much causes diarrhea and calcification of the organs and soft tissue. It also interferes with the body’s ability to use iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Potassium ensures the bones and muscles grow correctly. It also helps with the blood clotting process. When a parrot cuts itself, potassium stems the flow of blood, preventing too much blood from pouring out. Parrots that don’t have enough potassium in the body will continuously bleed.
Potassium also works together with sodium to regulate nerve signals, muscle contractions, and fluid balance. At 303 mg per 85 g, fresh coconut is a rich potassium source, matching the potassium levels of peppers.
There’s 27.2 mg of magnesium in an 85 g portion of fresh coconut. Magnesium helps with calcium absorption. When parrots are unable to do this, their bones get brittle. Similarly, the risk of rickets is increased.
Fresh coconut contains 2.07 mg. Iron creates hemoglobin, which allows the blood to carry oxygen around the body. Parrots that don’t consume enough iron are at risk of anemia, a disease that can make parrots feel tired, lethargic, and weak.
However, too much causes iron storage disease. This is where iron accumulates around a parrot’s organs, preventing them from functioning properly. Unfortunately, symptoms only show when the condition is in the advanced stages.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), including lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. These act as building blocks for fats and oils and have the following health benefits:
- Lauric acid: Treats viral infections and fights pathogens, including bacteria and yeasts.
- Caprylic acid: Helps treat digestive disorders, yeast infections, and skin disorders.
- Capric acid: Regulates cholesterol and balances insulin levels.
As described by Scientific Reports, birds also oxidize fatty acids to fuel their migratory movements, giving them the energy they need for flying.
Is Coconut Bad for Parrots?
While there are plenty of health benefits to feeding your parrot coconut, there are also some things to be mindful of. This includes:
High in Fat
A parrot’s natural diet is low in saturated fat, so feeding your bird too much coconut can affect their normal bodily functions. As described by MSD Veterinary Manual, a high-fat diet is directly linked to obesity. Excessive saturated fat is associated with:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Fatty liver disease
- Reproductive failure
- Joint problems
Captive parrots don’t move around as much as wild birds, so they’re more likely to become overweight from eating too much coconut. That’s why it’s so important to monitor the amount you feed your parrot.
Low Vitamin Content
For example, a cup of coconut contains no vitamins A, D, or B-6. That being said, it does contain traces of vitamins C and E.
Can Parrots Eat Raw Coconut?
Raw coconut is packed with nutrients and is free from added colors and preservatives. Parrots also enjoy the coconut milk’s juiciness, enabling them to hydrate while they enjoy a tasty treat.
However, when feeding your parrot coconut chunks, make sure all pieces of the dried shell are removed to prevent digestion problems. Similarly, small, sharp pieces may scratch and irritate the throat.
Can Parrots Eat Desiccated Coconut
Desiccated coconut is a drier form of shredded coconut. Because fresh coconut is safe for parrots to eat, some owners make the mistake of feeding their birds desiccated coconut. Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for parrots.
That’s because when it’s consumed, it rehydrates and expands in the parrot’s stomach. Depending on how much your parrot eats, desiccated coconut causes severe discomfort and bloating. The small pieces can also be difficult to digest.
Can Parrots Eat Coconut Flakes?
Coconut flakes are safe for parrots to eat. While coconut flakes contain all the healthy parts of fresh, raw coconut, they also contain saturated fat and have a high calorie content.
You can also add coconut flakes to a seed and nut mix to boost the nutritional value. However, you should avoid sweetened coconut flakes.
Can Parrots Eat Shredded Coconut?
Shredded coconut describes grated pieces of coconut that come in long strands. They’re dried out, but they retain more moisture than desiccated coconut, meaning they’re less likely to expand in the stomach.
They’re also packed with nutrients. According to SF Gate, a standard cup of shredded coconut contains 4 grams of dietary fiber.
Can Parrots Eat Coconut Jelly?
Coconut jelly can be fed to parrots as a tasty treat. Any brands are fine, as long as they have relatively wholesome ingredients.
However, there are disadvantages to coconut jelly. They’re not particularly high in nutrients. Other things to watch out for include:
- It’s messy and will get all over the cage
- It can be high in sugar
- May contain sweeteners
Coconut jelly is a healthier option than yogurt because it doesn’t contain any undigestible lactose.
Can Parrots Eat Coconut Yogurt?
Yogurt is derived from milk. Parrots don’t have the enzymes needed to break down lactose. While lactose is not toxic, it can upset your parrot’s stomach and make it sick.
Is Coconut Milk Safe for Parrots?
Coconut milk doesn’t contain lactose, so it’s safe for parrots to drink. In fact, it makes a healthy addition to your parrot’s diet.
Milk comes from the meat of the coconut, so it’s very hydrating. It’s also an excellent source of calcium. As a result, it’s a good option for parrots who are calcium deficient or struggle to drink water.
You can place coconut milk in a shallow bowl for your parrot to drink. If it’s too thick, dilute it with a splash of water to make it more palatable.
Can Parrots Eat Coconut Cream?
Coconut cream is too thick and rich for parrots, so it’s unsuitable for them to eat. Also, most parrots won’t enjoy the taste or consistency.
Coconut cream is also high in saturated fat and calories. Even a small amount can cause weight gain.
Can Parrots Drink Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is used to treat a range of ailments, including skin and feather problems. However, it isn’t the tastiest food for parrots.
Coconut oil can boost nutrients that parrots lack in their diet, especially when fatty acids are missing. You can use it instead of suet to bind seeds and nuts together to create a hanging treat.
Parrots’ beaks are made from keratin, which is the same substance as human fingernails. As a result, their beaks can become dry, brittle, and cracked. They can also injure them as a result of fighting or an accident.
Coconut oil can be applied directly to a parrot’s beak to soothe superficial beak damage. However, make sure the coconut oil you use is organic and contains no harmful ingredients.
Coconut oil is good for treating a range of parrots’ skin problems, like dry or irritated skin. However, with coconut oil, the healing is more effective when done from the inside out.
If you were to apply coconut oil directly to your parrot’s skin, you’d need to use a significant amount of oil for it to work. As a result, it may have the opposite effect by irritating your parrot’s skin. It may also affect the waterproofing properties of the feathers.
How To Feed Coconut To Parrots
Provide your parrot with fresh coconut. Cut it up into bitesize chunks and place them in a small bowl for your parrot to pick out and eat.
You can sprinkle flakes or shredded coconut on your parrot’s pellets. Or, if you’re feeding a fruit medley, coconut pieces make a good accompaniment, providing nutrients without the high calorie and fat content.
Coconut has its place in an avian diet. While it’s not the healthiest fruit, it does have plenty of health benefits. Just be mindful of how much you’re feeding your parrot, as too much can cause vitamin deficiencies.