We can thank bees every day for providing us with honey.
It’s delicious and enormously useful in countless areas of cooking and medicine.
If you’re a fan, then the likelihood is you’re a big fan.
We often wonder whether it’s safe to share such things with our conures—so can they eat honey?
Conures should not eat honey. The presence of a bacteria called botulinum can lead to a respiratory condition, called botulism. This bacterial infection can be fatal even from ingestion of a small amount of honey. Do not ever let your conures eat honey in any amount.
So, no, honey is very dangerous and so you should never let your conures eat it.
Even small amounts can be fatal.
Whatever reason you had for wanting to feed them honey, there is certainly a better way to achieve your goal.
Honey is very dangerous for all parrot species.
Let’s find out more.
Is honey toxic to conures?
Yes, honey is indeed toxic to conures.
The reason for this, as I mentioned, is a certain bacteria it contains which is extremely deadly to conures and parrots in general.
This bacteria is called Clostridium botulinum, and is a common bacteria found in soil, in the sediments of rivers and seas, and in dust.
The bacteria, in themselves, are not really all that harmful.
However, when they are deprived of oxygen, they produce extremely deadly toxins.
This is where the problems arise.
They are sometimes enclosed in discarded cans or bottles, or soil that has become stagnant.
Sometimes, even within your body or the body of an animal.
This infection is a problem for us, too, then. botulism, the condition arising from the ingestion of this bacteria, is a common problem and can be quite serious in severe cases.
It is a respiratory illness affecting the ability to breathe properly.
In its raw form, honey contains a very large amount of this bacteria.
The honey that we eat is generally processed and pasteurized to remove this bacteria so that it is safe for us to eat.
However, this doesn’t make it safe for parrots.
Conures still aren’t safe to eat pasteurized honey, however safer than raw honey it may be.
There is no special reason to feed them honey in the first place.
It offers no special benefit, nutritionally speaking, that they couldn’t get elsewhere in a more palatable package.
So, what will happen if your conure eats honey?
What happens if a conure eats honey?
In all likelihood, they will develop botulism.
Botulism, as I said, is ultimately a respiratory condition, but it will have many other deeply unpleasant symptoms for your conure.
Botulism is a problem for pretty much all birds, as even wild birds can contract it from soil.
For your conure, eating honey, in the worst-case scenario, will start with ascending paralysis.
What this means is that your conure’s legs will first become paralyzed, and it won’t be able to move them.
This will then move up the rest of the body, making them unable to fly, and eventually mostly unable to move at all.
This will ultimately end in death in most cases.
As I said, birds can contract botulism from many sources, but the concentration of the bacteria in honey is more than enough to be fatal if they eat even a small amount.
There’s no understating the severity of this problem, then.
If your conure eats honey, it can be extremely bad.
What can you do if they do, then?
What to do if your conure eats honey
Firstly, try not to panic.
I know that’s easier said than done but keeping a level head will be enormously useful for the situation.
That said, there isn’t a great deal you can actually do other than taking it to the vet.
That should be your number one priority and is your best chance of getting the bird back up on its feet.
Don’t take any chances, either.
If your conure has eaten honey, don’t wait to see if it shows signs of botulism.
While you might want to avoid an unnecessary vet bill, you are always better safe than sorry.
So, as you can see, if you aren’t able to get the conure to a vet in time, ingesting honey could easily be fatal for your conure.
The best treatment starts with prevention, then.
If you have an inquisitive conure around the house who has free reign, then you need to make sure that there is never any honey anywhere it can get at it.
Keep honey stored away in closed containers and in cupboards.
Taking responsibility for this kind of stuff is really important as a parrot owner and is my best advice for preventing this from happening.
What about honey water?
Can conures have honey water?
No, conures should not have honey water.
Honey water is used for a variety of purposes for pet feeding, but it still runs the risk of giving your birds a nasty bacterial infection.
Again, even beyond that, there’s no real benefit to honey water for your conure that they couldn’t get elsewhere in their diet.
Conures do need a certain amount of sugar in their diet, but the vast majority of this should be coming from fruit.
Not something that also has the chance to cause botulism.
The risks with any amount, even a minuscule amount, of honey are too great.
Can conures eat honey nut Cheerios?
No, your conures cannot eat honey nut Cheerios.
Again, even if there were no honey in the product, there’s really no reason to give them processed food like this anyway.
The honey in cereal like this is very unlikely to be concentrated enough to contain enough bacteria to cause botulism.
But, again, there’s no benefit to giving them Cheerios anyway.
Can conures eat raw honey?
No, your conure certainly cannot eat raw honey.
This is the most dangerous kind of honey and is virtually guaranteed to cause botulism.
The bacterium in raw honey is most concentrated, and as I’ve stressed, extremely deadly to your conure.
Raw honey isn’t even particularly easy to get if you don’t have bees of your own, in any case.
Most honey you find in stores is pasteurized—which means it’s treated with heat in order to rid it of toxins and bacteria.
But this process is designed to make it safe for our own consumption, not any other species.
So, what about the other kinds of honey you might find in stores?
Can conures eat clover honey?
Clover honey is one of the most popular and widely produced types of honey in the world.
It is made by honeybees, and particularly honeybees which collect nectar from clover flowers.
There are 300 different species of clover plant, so there are many different ways to make this honey.
Unsurprisingly, this honey is not safe for your conure either.
It still contains botulism-causing bacteria, so your conure will suffer serious health issues if it eats clover honey.
Another more artisanal variety is wildflower honey. Is this any better?
Can conures eat wildflower honey?
No, your conures cannot eat wildflower honey, either.
It poses all the same risks as any other kind of honey, and though it is processed when you find it in grocery stores, it’s still incredibly dangerous for your conure.
Remember, if you’re looking for ways to get more sugar into your conure’s diet, then you should be looking to do that with fruit.
Honey is not good for your conure in any circumstances.
Let’s look at one last honey variety.
Can conures eat acacia honey?
As you’ve probably guessed, acacia honey is a special variety of honey typically derived from the nectar of the plant commonly known as black locust.
This is another type of specialized honey, which you’ll mostly find at whole food stores and artisan markets.
Again, acacia honey does not sidestep any of the potential problems you’ll get from other kinds of honey.
If a conure eats acacia honey, it will most likely end up with botulism, paralysis, and even death.
Honey, as delicious as it may be to us, is deadly to your conures.
There’s no place for any kind of honey anywhere in their diet, so you should never give them honey.
If you do, you can expect a high chance that they will die as a result.
Conures are quite sensitive animals, and honey in excess, which isn’t a big amount, could easily be fatal.