Milk is a large part of the human diet, but budgies can’t digest milk or any other form of dairy. They don’t drink milk in the wild, so they don’t yearn for it in captivity.
Even though birds produce eggs, they require calcium to stay healthy.
However, budgies get the calcium they need through cuttlebone, eggshells, and leafy green vegetables, so milk isn’t a dietary requirement.
However, there are plant-based milks that don’t contain lactose that budgies can safely drink.
Are Budgies Lactose Intolerant?
Budgies aren’t nursing animals and feed their young regurgitated food and crop milk – a secretion from the crop lining. While “crop milk” shares the same name as animal milk, they’re different substances.
As a result, budgies lack lactase, which is an enzyme produced in the small intestine that enables mammals to digest lactose.
Seeing as budgies aren’t mammals and don’t have this enzyme, they’re intolerant to dairy products.
Another reason budgies are lactose intolerant is that they don’t have access to dairy in the wild. They’ve never needed to consume lactose, so their bodies haven’t evolved to digest it.
Can You Give Budgies Milk?
Milk isn’t toxic and small amounts won’t kill your budgie. However, milk offers little nutritional value. It can even be harmful in large doses, resulting in digestive issues and diarrhea.
All forms of animal-based milk, including cow’s milk and goat’s milk, have the potential to make your budgie sick and are considered unsafe.
It’s not only milk that budgies can’t consume. As confirmed by VCA Animal Hospitals, all dairy products, including cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, whey, and casein, are harmful.
What Happens If A Budgie Drinks Milk?
As mentioned, your budgie will likely feel unwell soon after drinking milk. Its stools may become watery, turning to diarrhea in the worst cases, and your budgie will experience abdominal discomfort.
The symptoms should stop after a little while, but you mustn’t feed your budgie any more milk. This is to allow its body time to recover.
Diarrhea and stomach problems aren’t medical emergencies but could develop into long-term problems if your budgie frequently consumes milk.
What’s more, due to its high fat levels, milk is linked to obesity. Excess weight strains the delicate organs and joints, making life uncomfortable, especially as budgies rely on their legs to perch.
A budgie’s vent is also difficult to keep clean when it has diarrhea. So, minimize the health risks by cutting animal-based milk and replace it with plant-based milk alternatives.
Can Budgies Drink Almond Milk?
Budgies eat almonds and love the nutty taste, so they can safely drink almond milk. In fact, almonds are one of the healthiest nuts budgies can eat.
According to the journal Nutrients, almonds are a good source of:
- Dietary fiber
Almonds are also abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which provide many vital bodily functions, such as:
- Controlling arthritis
- Lowering the risk of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries)
- Preventing heart disease
- Reducing the chances of stroke
Almond milk is made by blending almonds with water and straining the solids from the mixture. The texture is similar to animal-based milk, but unlike cow’s milk, you rarely have to add water to thin out the consistency.
When purchasing store-bought almond milk, look for unsweetened varieties, as these are better at reducing the risk of obesity and sugar-related health conditions.
How Do You Make Almond Milk?
If you’re concerned about the added ingredients in processed almond milk, you can make your own at home by following these steps:
- Soak 1 cup of raw almonds in cool water overnight or use hot water, and soak for at least 1 hour.
- Transfer the almonds to a blender or food processor. Add 5 cups of distilled or filtered water.
- Process the almonds for at least 1 minute until they become creamy.
- You can transfer your almond milk to any container.
- Refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.
- To make almond milk even healthier for your budgie, you can add fruits or berries for flavor.
Can Budgies Drink Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a plant-based milk made from whole oat grains and water. It doesn’t contain lactose and is safe for budgies to drink.
Oat milk is low in fat and contains no saturated fat. It provides many vitamins and minerals, including:
- Beta-glucan – soluble fiber that strengthens the immune system and prevents infection
- B vitamins, including thiamine and folate
- Vitamin D
Oat milk is a good source of calcium, which is beneficial in the following ways:
- Prevents calcium deficiency disease
- Helps stave off self-destructive behaviors
- Lowers cholesterol
- Lowers the chances of heart disease
- Prevents muscle contractions
- Reduces muscle pain
- Improves balance and coordination
When getting shop-bought oat milk, it should be unsweetened without artificial colorings and flavorings.
Can Budgies Drink Soy Milk?
Soy milk is one of the most common alternatives to animal-based milk. It’s made from soybeans or soy protein isolate, which is soybeans without the sugars or dietary fiber.
Soy milk contains high levels of plant-based protein, which benefits the muscles, tissue, and organs.
It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Like various plant-based milk varieties, soy milk is low in saturated fat, so it’s better than animal-based milk for regulating a budgie’s weight.
However, one thing to be wary of with soy milk is allergies. Soy milk has been found to trigger allergies in humans and animals more than in other milk varieties.
Symptoms of allergies include:
- Over-preening or fluffing feathers suddenly (likely from itching)
- Bumps on the skin
There’s no harm in feeding a small amount of soy milk to your budgie, but stop if it develops any troubling symptoms.
Can Budgies Drink Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk comes from the meat of the coconut. It doesn’t contain lactose, so it’s an excellent milk alternative and contains many essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, such as:
- Fatty acids
Many budgies enjoy the tropical yet subtle flavor of coconut.
Can Budgies Drink Rice Milk?
Rice milk is a less popular form of milk, but it has its benefits.
It doesn’t contain lactose, so budgies can safely drink it. It’s also less likely to cause allergies.
However, rice milk contains higher levels of inorganic arsenic – a substance linked to bladder, lung, and skin cancers – than other commercial products.
While milk isn’t something your budgie should drink, there’s no harm in feeding it plant-based milk. It also makes a tasty alternative to water when your budgie is reluctant to hydrate itself.