Can Cockatiels Eat Cheese? (Vet’s Guide)

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Cheese is very common in our kitchens. It is used in making a variety of recipes. As we have a habit of offering our food to birds we also want to give cheese to birds.

Can Cockatiels eat cheese?

As per avian vets, cockatiels can eat cheese provided the cheese is low in sodium and lactose and eaten in moderation. Cheese is good to serve only once in 1-2 weeks and it will provide nutrients like Riboflavin, Vitamin E, B6, A, Calcium, and protein.
Cheeses such as Swiss, Cheddar, and Parmesan can be excellent for your cockatiel, whether they are sliced or grated. These cheeses can serve as flavorful additions and encourage your pet to consume other nutritious foods, such as vegetables. However, I strongly advise against feeding cheese to cockatiels because there are more nutritious alternatives available for them.

In this article, I will explore the potential health benefits and risks associated with giving cheese to cockatiels. Additionally, I will guide the appropriate amount of cheese to offer to your cockatiel and suggest some alternative cheese options suitable for these birds. Let’s begin.

Can Cockatiels Eat Cheese
Health Benefits of Cheese for Cockatiels
ProteinCheese contains protein, which is beneficial for muscle development in cockatiels.
RiboflavinCheese provides riboflavin, a nutrient that contributes to the production of red blood cells in birds.
Vitamin ECheese is a source of vitamin E, which is crucial for maintaining your cockatiel’s eye health, feathers, and skin.
Vitamin B6Cheese contains vitamin B6, which plays a vital role in fortifying your bird’s immune and nervous systems. It also contributes to your cockatiel’s brain development.
Vitamin AVitamin A is essential for promoting good vision, healthy breeding, and maintaining proper kidney function in your cockatiel.
CalciumThe calcium in cheese helps in the development of your cockatiel’s bones and teeth. Additionally, it supports the formation of sturdy eggshells, which is important for egg-laying cockatiels.
PhosphorusPhosphorus aids in bone formation and maintains a balance of various vitamins and minerals within your bird’s body.

Potential Health Risks of Feeding Cheese to Cockatiels

Excessive cheese consumption can have adverse effects on your cockatiel’s digestive health:

1. Nausea: Cheese may cause nausea in your bird. The salt and lactose content in cheese can potentially upset your cockatiel’s stomach if consumed in large quantities. The delicate digestive system of your pet may be vulnerable to damage from excessive cheese intake.

2. Digestive Problems: Feeding cheese in excess can lead to digestive issues for your cockatiel. Birds, including cockatiels, lack the same level of lactose tolerance as some other animals. To prevent potential health complications, it is advisable to minimize its inclusion in their diverse diet.

3. High Sodium Levels: Cheese often contains high levels of salt, which contributes to its savory taste. However, this high sodium content can pose serious health concerns for your avian companions.

Can Cockatiels Eat Cheese

How I Feed Cheese To My Cockatiel?

For your cockatiel’s benefit, it is recommended that you slice hard cheeses like Parmesan to make them easier to consume. As an alternative, you may sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on fruits and vegetables to enhance their taste. This will encourage your bird to enjoy these healthy treats.

Alternatively, you can feed your bird cheddar or Swiss cheese, but they may be less firm and don’t shred as smoothly. Cheese makes for a suitable treat during mealtime, and it can be a way to bond with your feathered friend. You can offer it directly from your hand, which is a pleasant gesture to do occasionally.

Some bird owners like to engage their avian companions in mental challenges. I often place cheese on my cockatiels’ heads. You can often find interesting results from this experiment, making it worth a try!

How Often to Feed Cheese to Cockatiels?

It is generally good practice to offer cheese to your cockatiel only occasionally, ideally around once every 1-2 weeks. However, the frequency of cheese treats can vary depending on the type of cheese, your bird’s overall diet, and their personal preferences.

To ensure your cockatiel enjoys a diverse and nutritionally rich diet, it is crucial to introduce them to different foods daily. Introducing a variety of foods into their diet not only diversifies their meals but also keeps them from becoming picky eaters.

While cheese may not be the ideal treat for cockatiels, it can be employed strategically to entice them to explore and taste other types of food. However, it is important to note that not all cockatiels may have a taste for or be willing to eat cheese when offered. Bird owners should be attentive to their individual preferences in this regard.

What Types of Cheeses Are Safe For My Cockatiels?

The following cheeses are the best types and options for your bird. Again, this is assuming that they are not offered very often:

Swiss Cheese

This cheese is commonly recommended for lactose-intolerant individuals; with birds also fitting this category.

Make sure to offer only tiny quantities of this cheese as it still contains high amounts of sodium. Be sure you give your tiel plenty of water to access and drink.


Mild cheddar is better for your tiel than one with a sharp flavor. Only offer small bite-sized pieces.

Again, cheddar cheese is low in lactose but high in sodium, so don’t feed it to your bird too often, and make sure that your bird has plenty to drink.


Cockatiels tend to enjoy eating Parmesan grated, which is often the best way to feed it.

Parmesan can also be put in between bunches of vegetables or fruit to encourage your tiel to consume those, as this cheese is a flavor enhancer.


So it is clear that cockatiels can eat cheese low in salt and sodium. Offering cheese to your cockatiels once every week is ok. Do not try to overfeed cheese to your cockatiel as it will lead to health issues. 

However, as I said earlier, it is better to select other nutrient-rich food sources for cockatiels than cheese. Technically cockatiels can eat cheese but it is better to opt for better food options like fruits and vegetables.

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