Can birds eat butter? Benefits, Risks, and How to Serve

We all know and love butter for its rich, creamy, and delicious flavor. Many products have tried to replace it but none have come close to matching people’s love of butter.

This yellow product is the preferred fat product to use in many cooking applications, if you so desire, you can use it as a spread for bread, use it in baking and use it in sauce making too.

If you take care of birds you may be considering giving these animals this food, but is it healthy for them? Can birds eat butter? This article looks into it. 

Birds can eat butter, however, butter shouldn’t be fed to birds too often. The upside of feeding birds butter is that this food delivers energy that birds can use for everyday activities. Also, the fat in butter keeps birds warm during the wintertime.

Can birds eat butter?

Birds can eat butter but too much of it can have negative effects on birds.

Birds, just like humans, love sugary and fatty foods but large quantities of fatty foods, like butter, aren’t healthy for birds. These foods should be eaten in moderation to avoid illnesses from developing 

Benefits of birds eating butter:

Butter is high in calories and fat. Birds need calories and fat, these two serve as an energy source for birds. Birds use up a lot of energy daily through flying, looking for food, reproducing, and making nests.

The high levels of calories in butter can help fuel a bird’s high-energy lifestyle.

In addition, the fat content in butter adds extra weight in the form of fat to the bird’s body. This added fat keeps birds warm during the colder months and is an energy reserve in winter when food is harder to find 

Risks of birds eating butter

The negatives of birds eating butter is that the food can clog up their arteries just as it can with humans.

Butter contains high levels of cholesterol, birds that have high levels of cholesterol are more likely to suffer from heart attacks and die.

In addition, feeding birds fatty foods like butter can cause the food to get onto their feathers and ruin the feathers natural waterproofing 

How to prepare and serve butter to birds 

As with any food, it is important to practice moderation when feeding birds, butter cannot be a major part of a bird’s diet but the occasional piece of butter can be ok for the bird.

You can serve your bird small pieces of butter here and there, consider the size of the bird when giving them butter. Always give them less than you think is enough for them.

What to avoid when serving butter to my bird 

If you’ve decided to feed your bird butter, feed it the unsalted variety.

Small amounts of salt can be processed by birds but larger amounts of salt can be dangerous. Feeding birds salted butter once won’t kill the bird but giving it to them regularly will be detrimental to their health.

Too much salt can cause an electrolyte imbalance in birds which can cause dehydration, excessive thirst, kidney dysfunction, and even death. 

If you’re wanting to serve butter to your birds make sure that you are picking up real butter and not accidentally picking up margarine. Margarine is sometimes substituted for butter in recipes but it is unsuitable for birds.

Butter is better for birds as it contains high levels of saturated fats, margarine does not. Birds need the saturated fats found in butter, suet, or lard for daily activities. 63% percent of fats in butter are saturated fats, which is excellent for birds. 

Can I use butter to make fat balls for birds?

If you cannot get a hold of suet for your fat balls then you can substitute it for butter. Butter sets the balls well and the birds will happily eat fat balls with butter in them.

That being said, butter has a lower melting point than suet, if left out in the sun for too long it will melt, even frozen butter will eventually melt. If you do decide to use butter for your fat balls keep an eye on the ball and make sure that it does not melt out in the sun.

Other substitutes that you can use in your bird’s fat balls include frozen, grated shortening. 


In conclusion, yes, birds can eat butter but you should only serve birds this food as a treat occasionally. Butter can help birds gain weight which is needed in the wintertime but it can also cause heart attacks in birds.

When feeding butter to birds, ensure that the butter is unsalted and that you are feeding the animal butter and not margarine. You can use butter to make fat balls for your birds but be sure to keep an eye on it as the butter melts quicker than suet 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other bird related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Can birds eat asparagus?, Can birds eat chia seeds?, Can birds eat mouldy bread?, Can birds eat beans?

Can birds eat butter? Benefits, Risks, and How to Serve
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