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The Holistic Parrot by Leslie Moran

Parrots magazine 148 - May 2010

Dairy Products and Parrots

Why are we so compelled towards sharing our favorite foods with our birds? It’s fun. It’s a bonding ritual. It’s also so cute the way they hold those precious tasty morsels in their feet! Sharing food with our birds is enjoyable and it feels good.

When discussing favorite foods, I’ll jump right to the point. Which type of cheese is your favorite? Whether it’s freshly grated parmesan, spicy pepper jack, or that richly decadent brie. I think we enjoy sharing cheese with our birds because we love it so much.

Being people, we’re mammals. We suckled at our Mother’s breast. And for so many of us cheese is a comfort food. But birds never suckled. They can’t, they don’t have lips. And more importantly, their physiology was never designed to consume any type of milk product. Do you know why? One word - lactase!

Birds completely lack the digestive enzyme, lactase, that is required to hydrolyze (break down) lactose, the disaccharide contained in milk, into its components of glucose and galactose - both simple sugars, monosaccharides. Because of this, milk is a very poor energy source and poor food choice for birds.

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