Can Cockatiels Eat Honey? Avoid the Sweet Trap!

If you want to make your bird’s treat extra sweet, you might consider adding honey to it. But can cockatiels eat honey safely, or is it dangerous for them? I will explain below.

We all know someone who likes a little more of the sweet flavor in their diet.

But if you have a pet cockatiel at home, you should know that they don’t mind the sweet flavor as well.

Yes, most cockatiels love foods with high sugar content, and honey is one of them. The main question is whether it is safe for them to have it.

In today’s article, I will share with you why cockatiels should not have honey in their food.

Can Cockatiels Eat Honey?

Honey Nutritional Info: Is It Good For Cockatiels?

For humans, if there is a preferred natural sweetener, it is honey. Nutritious and effective at the same time, honey has always been considered a healthy alternative to processed sugar.

Just like you, your feathered friends would also be a fan of the sweet taste of this food.

But you, as a bird owner, have the responsibility to know how much of this you can give them.

One tablespoon of honey (21 grams) roughly has the following nutrient profile:

  • Calories: 64 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sugars: 17 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g
  • Potassium: 10.9 g

If you look at the nutrient profile of honey, you will notice there are few nutrients from a bird’s dietary point of view.

Instead, there is a high level of sugar (17g per tbsp!), which will directly affect the blood glucose levels of your bird.

Hence, honey is not a nutritious food for cockatiels.

Why Is Giving Honey to Cockatiels Dangerous?

Honey is not toxic to your pet birds, but this does not mean it is healthy for your winged friend.

If you are planning to give raw honey to your cockatiel, I would suggest you stop.

Here are some reasons why you should be very careful about feeding honey to your birds.

High sugar content

Honey is often used as a replacement for sugar, which is the first indication of the high glucose content.

Most birds love the sweet flavor. If you feed it to them regularly, they can get addicted to it very fast.

Honey is too sweet for cockatiels – it is not a good idea to give it to them directly

The high sugar content of honey can mess up the blood glucose levels of your bird, leading to a number of health issues.

They can also develop malnutrition, diabetes, heart issues, fatty liver, and vitamin deficiencies.

Bacteria in the honey

Raw honey has several bacteria naturally occurring in them. This is not very harmful to humans, but for small animals like cockatiels, it can be extremely dangerous in their diet.

One particular bacteria in honey, clostridium botulinum produces the botulinum toxin. This toxin can cause botulism in birds (yes, the same one that can affect humans).

Botulism is a fairly rare disease, but it can occur in your bird if they ingest a lot of honey over time.

If you are using pasteurized honey, it will not have the danger of bacteria. However, the high sugar content can still be dangerous.

Lack of nutrients

The nutrients in honey are not as useful for birds as it is for humans. It does not have the vitamins and proteins the bird needs.

For them, honey can be considered empty calories that can do more harm than good if fed daily.

How Can Honey Be Given To Cockatiels?

Cockatiels should not have more than a few drops of honey, that too occasionally.

Honey should instead be limited to a seasoning of the occasional treat you are offering to your birds. This can be done in a few different ways.

Add it to fruits

Cockatiels love all kinds of fresh fruits, which are important to a balanced diet in birds.

We often use honey on fresh fruits to have an additional sweet taste.

It can work the same way for your birds. Use a teaspoon of honey and sprinkle it all over the fruits before you feed it to your cockatiel.

Adding honey to nuts might be a good idea.

Offer it with nuts

Most cockatiels have a love for a variety of nuts and seeds. Sprinkle a few drops of honey on the nuts you are giving them, so there will be a slightly sweet taste.

Your birds will likely enjoy the taste, and it can become a healthy treat of sugar and carbohydrates.

Seeds and honey

One very popular treat among birds is seeds and honey, something you can find in stores, such as honey sticks.

If you are planning to prepare the snack at home, you will have to use a mixed variety of seeds and use a little honey to make the shape of sticks.

However, the easier thing to do is buy the snack online or from your local store.

How Much (And How Often) Should You Give Your Bird?

Honey should be limited to just a few drops, if possible. You can use it for garnishing some of the snacks you offer your bird, as mentioned earlier.

Make sure you add lots of fresh veggies and bird seeds to your cockatiel’s diet so that the sugars in honey are overpowered by other nutrition and fiber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is honey safe for birds?

Honey is not toxic for birds, but it is not the healthiest thing to feed them either.
Since honey is mainly empty calories, it could raise their blood glucose levels more than required.
It also lacks the important nutrients that a bird needs to stay healthy.

What foods are toxic to cockatiels?

You should never feed your cockatiels avocados, chocolate, caffeine, salts, and fruit pits.
All of these are toxic. They can prove fatal to your cockatiel.
Apart from this, anything with excess salt and sugar is also a bad product to offer to your bird.

Is honey water good for cockatiels?

Honey and warm water is considered to be a very healthy combination for humans.
If your birds are dehydrated due to lack of water or glucose, a honey water drink can help raise the electrolytes in their body.
Make sure that you do not add more than a few drops of honey to the water.

Can cockatiels eat budgie honey sticks?

In most cases, cockatiels can safely eat budgie honey seed sticks because they have a similar composition of bird pellets and grains with honey.
However, if your bird is showing signs of an allergic reaction, you should switch back to its usual diet.

Wrap Up

All you need to remember is that a tablespoon of honey sprinkled over fruits and nuts is the best choice for your cockatiel’s diet.

Don’t let them have so much that it will make them sick. But adding it to their treats once in a while will make it a fun meal for them.

If your bird is dehydrated, adding a bit of honey to clean water and giving it to them is also beneficial sometimes.

Thank you for reading!

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.
Team Beauty of Birds is separate from the “Parrot Parent University” parrot training course and its instructors.

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