Beware: Seven Common Foods That Are Harmful to Birds

Beware: Seven Common Foods That Are Harmful to Birds

Throughout the cold winter months, we all know to feed our garden birds high-quality bird food such as Sunflower hearts, Premuim Peanuts, and Suets.

However, we have listed below seven common household foods that are bad for birds.

Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to birds just as it is to cats and dogs, so we strongly recommend not putting out your leftover chocolate.

Rice is not healthy for birds. Whilst it will not expand and explode in their stomach, the birds will, however, fill up on it but it does not contain the energy they need to stay healthy.

For years people have fed their scraps of bread to garden birds. This is one of the biggest no-no’s when it comes to bird feeding. When birds are hungry, they will happily eat bread in quantity but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for them. They will overfill on bread and this will make them weak because it has very little nutritional value or calories to provide energy. Bread can cause malnutrition and obesity in garden birds. When the bread is taken to feed the ducklings and goslings in the local park the recipients can fail to get the proper nutrients for healthy growth and it can in time lead to deformed wings known as ‘Angel Wing’.

Some molds are harmless but some can cause respiratory infections in garden birds. Avian experts recommend not feeding stale or moldy foods, which makes good sense and hygienic animal husbandry; however, it is just as important to remove the stale or moldy seed from a bird feeder as these can be breeding ground for salmonella bacteria, which is an altogether more dangerous foe. For this reason, we also advise regularly washing your feeders with disinfectant, such as the , wearing gloves, and practising good personal hygiene before and after handling bird feeding equipment.

Although seabirds are able to eat marine animals and drink seawater with no problems, many of our songbirds cannot cope with too much salt intake so it’s essential not to offer them salty food. Choose instead unsalted peanuts from a reputable supplier who tests for traces of aflatoxin.

Avoid offering raw processed meat in any form, including ground meat. Meat can go off quickly and will grow harmful bacteria that could kill birds; meat will also attract vermin. Instead, feed fatty protein such as suet feasts and fat balls.

Surplus biscuits and cakes are full of processed ingredients and are not healthy for birds. Bakery products will spoil, grow mold and will also attract rodents if left on the ground. A little left-over Christmas cake shouldn't create a health issue for birds, but we could kill them with kindness if we continue to feed a diet that's nutritionally inept.

After feeding your garden birds the correct way it may be worth putting out a small amount of Mineralised tonic grit or Fine Oystershell grit to aid the avian digestion process. Just place a tiny amount under or on your bird table or, mix a handful with your favourite bird food blend.

Written by Angela and Chris

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