Harmful Bird Food

As well as knowing which foods you can feed birds safely you should also be aware that there are a number of foods that you shouldn’t offer them. Bad food can lead to malnutrition and disease in birds as well as making them more vulnerable to predators and cold weather.


Contrary to popular belief it is not a good idea to feed a lot of bread to birds. Although a small amount may be acceptable bread has little nutritional value. Use bread to hold other foods such as lard or peanut butter. If you want to feed ducks at your local pond found out about some alternative foods for waterfowl.

We all know that food high in salt is bad for humans and the same is true for birds. Birds are only able to process tiny amounts of salt so avoid any foods that are high in salt such as cooked meats, crisps and salted nuts.

Rotten bird seed
Bird seed can go off if it is not stored properly and can harbour bacteria and parasites that are harmful to birds. Check that bird seed is fresh and does not smell off. If it has started to sprout that is always a sign that you should not feed it to your garden birds. Find out how to store bird seed correctly.

Crisps and cakes
Despite being high in fat crisps, cakes and biscuits offer little other nutritional value to birds and the chemicals used in processing them can be harmful to birds. Unsalted popcorn and homemade muffins and fruit cake can be used as a safe alternative.

Pesticides on fruit and vegetables
When giving your bird left over fruit and vegetables ensure that it has not been treated with pesticide or any other toxic chemicals. Small amounts can be harmful or even fatal to birds. Although washing fruit and vegetables can remove most of these chemicals the best fruit and veg you can feed to birds will have come from your own garden or be organically grown from a trusted source.

Raw Meat
Although many birds are carnivorous do not put out raw meat for them. Raw meat will go off very quickly and be full of dangerous bacteria. Raw meat will also attract pests such as rats. Try offering suet instead.

Birds are lactose intolerant and cannot process milk. Although they can process small quantities of dairy products and a little grated hard cheese is fine do not put out soft cheeses, milk puddings or any other food with a lot of milk in them.

Avoiding feeding the birds in your gardens these foods will ensure they are happier and healthier. Here are some ideas for foods you can safely feed to birds.

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