Parrot eating ice cream cone

Can Parrots Eat Ice Cream?

Ice cream may seem like the perfect treat on a hot summer day for most of us. But is it for our parrot as well? 

The main ingredient in ice cream is milk which is known to cause stomach issues in parrots. Parrots lack the enzymes necessary to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk. This means they cannot consume ice cream without making a colorful mess around the house. 

Parrots should not be given ice cream as they do not handle lactose well. Since ice cream is made using milk, it can cause digestive issues in parrots such as diarrhea vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. Ice cream is also loaded with sugars and saturated fats which can increase the risk of obesity in parrots.  

Why Is Ice Cream Bad For Parrots? 

There’s really more than one reason why ice cream is bad for parrots. While lactose content is one of the main concerns, there are additional other ingredients as well that make it more unhealthy. To understand this better, let’s break down the reasons why ice cream is bad for your parrot’s health:

Contains Lactose 

Ice cream is a type of dessert made from milk and contains lactose. Parrots do not have the enzyme lactase required for the digestion of lactose found in ice cream and other dairy products. Consuming ice cream in excess can cause a variety of digestive issues for parrots, most commonly diarrhea.

Promotes Obesity 

Lactose is not the main culprit that makes ice cream unsafe for parrots. Ice cream is also high in sugar and bad fats. In fact, the basic ingredients in ice cream include heavy cream, sugar, and flavorings. It is not as nutritionally dense as it is calorically high. This can lead to unhealthy weight gain in parrots and can even cause digestive problems for them. 

Empty Calories

One of the reasons ice cream is not recommended as a treat for parrots is that it does not have any nutritional benefits. Even though it is made from milk which has a rich nutrient profile, ice cream is mostly empty calories. 

Besides being high in lactose, ice cream is a high-calorie food with little to no nutritional value. It can provide a quick energy boost because of the sugar content but it does not do much to fulfill the nutritional requirements for the day.  

Toxic Ingredients 

While other flavors of ice cream are unhealthy for parrots, chocolate ice cream, in particular, can be toxic to them. Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine that parrots and other birds can’t metabolize properly. Theobromine can accumulate in a parrot’s system and cause serious health problems. 

What Happens If A Parrot Eats Ice Cream?

If your parrot sneakily licked some of your ice cream, it won’t do any harm. Parrots are not 100% lactose intolerant and some larger species may even have a slightly better tolerance for lactose. However, if you accidentally give your parrot a big scoop of ice cream, you can expect to see some ugly droppings all around the place.    

Besides, lactose is not the only reason why ice cream is not recommended for parrots. The high sugar and fat content is also not well tolerated by parrots. If you continue to let your parrot snack on your cone of ice cream, it will start to gain weight which can put it at risk of many health problems. 

Do Parrots Like Ice Cream?

Parrots will most likely want to get a taste of anything new that you serve them. They are not very different from us when it comes to craving sugar. The sugary and creamy taste of ice cream is sure to delight their taste buds.

I have personally seen many parrots enjoying ice cream wholeheartedly. However, that does not mean you should give it to them. Parrots do not know they are lactose intolerant and will most definitely want to have a piece of your ice cream. It is for you to take this decision for them and avoid giving them any kind of dairy item including ice cream. 

plate with ice cream

Can Parrots Eat Dairy?

Parrots are lactose intolerant, which means their digestive systems are not equipped to properly process lactose, a type of sugar found in most dairy products such as milk, yogurt, ice cream, etc. If a parrot consumes dairy, it can cause digestive issues such as more frequent and loose droppings. Therefore, it is best to avoid feeding dairy products to parrots.

Can Parrots Eat Chocolate Ice Cream? 

Chocolate can be harmful to parrots. Chocolate contains theobromine which is extremely toxic to parrots and other birds. It causes severe issues for them if accidentally ingested. So, you should never give your parrot chocolate ice cream even if it is a slight lick.  

You should always keep all food items containing chocolate out of your parrot’s reach. If your parrot is in the habit of taking a bite from your food, you should be extra careful with it, since chocolate can have serious health consequences even in small amounts. 

Can Parrots Eat Vanilla Ice Cream?

Vanilla and all other flavors of ice cream contain lactose which is not suitable for parrots to eat. Although a lick or two does not harm parrots, it is certainly not a good choice for feeding them. 

Can Parrots Eat Dairy-Free Ice Cream?

Parrots can eat dairy-free ice cream as long as the ingredients used in the ice cream are safe for them. Many types of lactose-free ice creams use ingredients such as soy and artificial sweeteners that are harmful to parrots. You should always read through the packaging and do thorough research before giving it to your parrot.

Can Parrots Eat Ice Cream Cone?

Ice cream cones are typically made of flour, sugar, and oil. Parros can safely eat ice cream cones as they do not contain any lactose. However, it is again not a very nutritious food to feed your parrots. It is high in calories with most of it being devoid of any nutritional content. 


Ice cream is not a good snack for parrots even though it may not have any immediate effects on them. But if you let your bird indulge in it a little too much, the high sugar, fat, and lactose content can create numerous problems for their digestive system. If you want to give your parrot a treat, why not make it a nutritious one? It’s better to provide them with safe foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and other parrot treats. 

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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