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Are Parrots Allowed Coconut? (Flakes, Oil, Milk, Yoghurt + Jelly)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Coconut (Coco nucifera) is a tropical fruit (one-seeded drupe) from the palm tree family. Parrots enjoy coconut’s sweet, nutty taste and dry, chewy texture.

Coconut is good for parrots. It’s rich in calcium, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and antioxidants. However, it’s high in saturated fat and calories, so coconut should be overeaten.

Never feed parrots desiccated coconut. It swells in the stomach, preventing nutrient absorption.

Before offering coconut-based foods to parrots, check they don’t contain added sugar, sweeteners, colorings, flavorings, or preservatives. Avoid all coconut and chocolate-based snacks.

Why Coconut Is Good for Parrots

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of fresh coconut (85 g) contains:

Fiber7.65 g
Calcium11.9 mg
Iron2.07 mg
Magnesium27.2 mg
Phosphorus96 mg
Potassium303 mg
Sodium17 mg
Folate22.1 µg
Vitamin C2.8 mg
Vitamin K0.17 µg
Medium-chain triglycerides25.2 g


Just 85 g of fresh coconut contains 11.9 g of calcium. While not as high as kiwi fruit, coconut is an excellent source of calcium. Parrots need calcium for the following reasons:

  • Bone health.
  • Robust eggshells.
  • Lower chick mortality risk.
  • Hypocalcemia prevention.
  • Reduced risk of stereoptypies, like Feather Destructive Behavior (FDB).
  • Lower risk of heart disorders.
  • Reduced cholesterol.
  • Less muscle pain and contractions.
  • Superior balance and coordination.

Parrots must be exposed to sunlight to synthesize vitamin D3 and absorb calcium into the body.


Parrots need roughage in their diets to assist with the digestive process. Fiber keeps the gut working healthily, softening stools and preventing constipation.

Also, fiber fills parrots up, preventing them from getting hungry and overeating.


Phosphorus is vital for the following reasons:

  • It keeps eggshells healthy.
  • Improves bone formation.
  • Metabolic processes.
  • Energy production.
  • Repairs tissue and cells.

Too much phosphorous can interfere with iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc utilization. Parrots must consume more calcium than phosphorus, especially breeding birds that need a 3:1 ratio.


At 303 mg per 85 g, fresh coconut is a good potassium source, similar to peppers. Potassium combines with sodium to regulate nerve signals, muscle contractions, and fluid balance.

Potassium is involved in nerve impulses, assisting with muscle function and coordination. Also, when a parrot sustains a cut, potassium helps with blood clotting, reducing blood loss.

can parrots eat shredded coconut?


There’s 27.2 mg of magnesium in an 85 g portion of coconut.

Magnesium assists with calcium absorption and mineralization of the bones. When parrots can’t absorb calcium, their bones become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.

Magnesium is also needed for nerve and muscle function, bones, digestion, and reproduction.


Fresh coconut contains 2.07 mg of iron. Iron creates hemoglobin, which allows blood to carry oxygen around the body. Parrots that lack iron are at risk of anemia, making them tired and weak.

Unfortunately, excessive iron can cause iron storage disease (ISD). This is when iron accumulates around the organs, preventing them from functioning correctly.

Fatty Acids

Coconut oil contains the following medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs):

  • Lauric acid: Used for fighting pathogens like bacteria and yeast.
  • Caprylic acid: Assists with digestive disorders, yeast infections, and skin disorders.
  • Capric acid: Regulates cholesterol and balances insulin levels.

As described by Scientific Reports, birds oxidize fatty acids to fuel their migratory movements, giving them the necessary energy and stamina for flying long distances.

Risks of Overeating Coconut

A parrot’s natural diet is low in saturated fat, so feeding them too much coconut can affect their weight and bodily functions. Excessive saturated fat can cause:

  • Heart disease.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Fatty liver disease.
  • Obesity.
  • Reproductive failure.
  • Joint problems.

Captive parrots don’t move and fly as much as wild parrots, becoming overweight.

Although coconut is high in minerals, it’s lower in vitamins than fruits like mango. For example, a cup of coconut contains no vitamins A or B6.

Different Types of Coconut

Here are the healthy and unhealthy varieties of coconut:

Raw Coconut

Raw coconut is a good nutrient source and free from additives and preservatives. Parrots enjoy coconut milk’s juiciness, enabling them to hydrate while eating.

Shredded Coconut

Shredded coconut comprises grated pieces of coconut in long strands. Although dried out, it retains more moisture than desiccated coconut. A standard cup of shredded coconut contains 4 grams of fiber.

Desiccated Coconut

When consumed, desiccated coconut rehydrates and expands in the stomach. Depending on the amount of desiccated coconut a parrot eats, it can cause digestive discomfort and bloating.

Coconut Jelly

Coconut jelly is okay as long as it has wholesome ingredients. It isn’t as high in nutrients as coconut meat, but it’s better than coconut yogurt because it contains no lactose.

Coconut Yogurt

Yogurt is derived from milk, and parrots lack the enzyme (lactase) needed to break down lactose. While lactose is non-toxic, it can upset the stomach and cause digestive distress.

is coconut milk safe for parrots?

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk doesn’t contain lactose, so it’s safe for parrots to drink.

Milk comes from the meat of the coconut, so it’s very hydrating. It’s an excellent source of calcium, so it’s suitable for parrots who are calcium deficient or are reluctant drinkers.

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is thick and rich, meaning parrots won’t enjoy its taste or consistency. It also contains saturated fat and is high in calories.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can assist with skin and feather problems. Instead of suet, you can use coconut oil to bind seeds and nuts together to create a hanging treat.

Parrots’ beaks are made from beta-keratin, which can become dry, brittle, and cracked. Coconut oil can be applied directly to minimize beak dryness and damage.

Coconut oil can also benefit dry, cracked, and irritated skin.

How To Give Parrots Coconut

Cut coconut into bite-sized chunks and place them in a small bowl for the parrot to pick out.

Alternatively, sprinkle flakes or shredded coconut on the parrot’s pellets. If you’re feeding a parrot a fruit medley, coconut pieces make a good accompaniment, providing additional nutrients.

You can safely feed raw coconut to parrots once or twice weekly as a treat or training reward.