Updated at: 28-07-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Trying to feed native U.S. birds coconut is an unusual but not impossible idea, however you should exercise extreme caution.

Many backyard bird species, from robins to chickadees, have been observed trying out coconut. Both the desiccated coconut and milk pose health risks because birds’ digestive systems are not designed to process dairy products. You should drain the coconut of its milk but hang it up while it is still in its shell.

It’s that time of year when you want to give your backyard birds to something fresh, and you happen to have some coconut lying around.

The safest thing to give the birds in your garden is a fresh coconut, but you’ll need to rinse it off first because birds shouldn’t consume the milk inside.

Furthermore, desiccated coconut will cause abdominal swelling if fed to these people.

The majority of people don’t follow basic protocols when handling coconut, thus wild birds shouldn’t eat it unless it has been sterilized.

To prevent mold growth, just rinse the coconut of its milk before hanging it in the yard to attract birds.

To keep the hanging coconut from swaying, you can secure it by drilling one or two holes and tying a knot through them with a length of rope or lace [as shown above].

While it’s true that most backyard birds won’t touch a coconut, you might be pleasantly pleased to find a few well-known species ready to test new foods given enough time.

Freshly opened coconut only

Can Birds Eat Coconut

If you want to feed the birds in your backyard in the United States some coconut, make sure it’s a fresh one and either still in the shell or freshly cracked.

Inasmuch as there are potential dangers associated with preparing coconut in any other way, serving it fresh is the only way to ensure that it is safe enough for the more frequent backyard birds.

Prepare the coconut the same way you always have and dish it up.

That is, after you’ve carefully scraped out every last bit of milk without leaving behind any shell fragments.

An even better way to reduce waste is to crack open the coconuts into several pieces and serve only a small amount at a time.

Because birds have trouble digesting coconut, eating one can make them sick, but is more likely to kill them if the natural residues (essentially the milk) are not removed.

Clear of coconut milk

The coconut milk must be extracted immediately after a fresh coconut has been opened in the kitchen or outdoors using the standard procedure for opening a hard shell.

The shell can be washed under cold running water to remove any remaining residue.

Use as much cold water as you can to ensure that all of the coconut milk has been flushed out of the shell and the meat of the coconut.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has issued a warning that birds should not drink coconut milk because their digestive systems are not equipped to handle milk of any kind.

It’s not just the British garden birds; that holds true for most kinds of backyard birds around the world.

A basin of hot water placed over a piece of coconut that has been rinsed thoroughly will help you determine if any milk remains in the coconut shell.

However, you should only need water to wash the coconut within its shell.

It’s fine to indulge in a glass of milk yourself, but you shouldn’t give it to the birds in your backyard or any pets in the house.

No desiccated coconut

Can Birds Eat Coconut-2

The first step is to remove the coconut’s natural milk by cutting it open and scraping the inside.

You may be wondering if you can give the birds some of the desiccated coconut you use in your cuisine, given that you’ve asked if they can eat coconut.

But just like they can’t stomach milk, birds can’t consume dessicated coconut either.

Although the meat of the coconut can be eaten without worry, desiccated coconut is essentially rehydrated, therefore it could cause stomach bloating if consumed often. Eventually, not maybe, desiccated coconut would cause their bellies to enlarge, leading to death.

Even though it’s possible, I strongly advise against ever feeding the wild birds in your yard desiccated coconut.

The coconut must be rehydrated by soaking it in hot water, at which point it can be presented to the birds in the yard.

Hang coconut to prevent mold

Backyard birds can be fed coconut by simply offering the nut to them in its natural state, still inside its shell.

Naturally, you’ll need to crack the coconut open to make a good half shell, much like you can do with the coconut halves sold for wild birds. The only difference is that this one is made from a fresh coconut instead of a dried one filled with suet.

The coconut should be hung so that little birds like robins, chickadees, and finches may access it at all times.

Therefore, I suggest making two holes on opposing sides of the hard shell and using a knot to hang it from a limb or a bracket at the bird feeding station.

Even if you manage to secure the coconut with a single knot in one of the holes, the coconut will continue to swing, making it difficult to perch on, much less use as a source of food.

Bacteria may grow on coconuts left in the shell or broken into pieces supplied on a flat surface or on a platform feeder that is mounted, posted, or hung.

Limited lifespan in backyard

Can Birds Eat Coconut-3

Because coconuts are available year-round in grocery stores, there is a risk of feeding them to backyard birds, which might quickly lead to a bacterial overgrowth in warmer climates.

Placing a coconut on a wooden feeding platform, like a table mounted on a post, can cause the surface to discolor or deteriorate if any of the coconut’s residual liquid or pulp drips onto it.

To avoid this, you should only hang coconuts by their shells.

Since mildew develops on surfaces more easily than rot does, it’s preferable to suspend the coconut from a branch or bracket above the grass or patio.

Even if you tempt the birds with coconut when it’s cooler outside, they’ll only stick around for a little while.

Therefore, you should only provide coconuts in their shells on the day they are requested.

Reduce waste by serving individual portions of coconut meat from within the shell rather than the whole coconut.

To protect the wood, it would be best to set the coconut on a plate.


Coconut is a popular food source for the birds that visit our yards, but the demand is high. Even if they did, most typical backyard birds wouldn’t bother eating that much coconut.

The safest course of action is to only give your backyard birds a coconut that has been newly opened.

But first, make sure that all traces of the natural coconut milk have been removed, as this is not something that wild birds can eat, not because they don’t want to, but because their digestive systems simply can’t handle it.

That won’t do anything but make them sick, and in all honesty, it would probably kill them.

Likewise, no dry coconut, as this would cause fatal stomach distention. If you want to provide dried coconut, you should soak it in hot water first to rehydrate it.

The coconut, still in its shell, can be hung up so that birds can easily get it, and this method is preferable than laying it out on a flat surface, where it would be susceptible to mold growth.

If you leave a coconut in the yard, it will die in a day or less. Instead of throwing away an entire coconut, you might offer a few bits at a time.

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