Birds, both in the wild and those living as pets in people’s homes, need a nutrient-rich selection of food to keep them healthy and living long.
There is a lot of human foods that we feed birds that we really shouldn’t feed them. On the other hand, there are many human foods that we can feed birds that are nutritious and healthy.
There are a couple of kitchen scraps that are good for birds, so how about potatoes? Can birds eat potatoes? This article looks into it.
Birds can eat potatoes, birds love mashed potatoes, boiled, cut-up potatoes, and baked potatoes. This food, when cooked is easy to eat and digest. Potatoes offer good amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats to birds.
Can birds eat potatoes? nutrients, preparation, and how to serve
Birds can definitely eat potatoes.
Birds eat and enjoy a variety of vegetables, vegetables, potatoes included offer these animals a variety of vitamins and minerals and are great for the bird’s overall health.
Potatoes may be a scrap food that you throw away after you’ve bought too many but they don’t have to be thrown away. Feeding potatoes to birds can help get rid of food that would otherwise be thrown away.
Feeding potatoes to your bird is a great way to get rid of the food in a sustainable way and a great way to help wildlife as well.
Benefits of potatoes to birds:
Potatoes may seem like a weird food to give your bird but birds will be happy to eat them. Birds may not eat this food in the wild but potatoes contain some nutritional benefits that can benefit birds regardless of where they live.
Potatoes are nutrient-rich, they contain high amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, fats as well as a variety of other nutrients.
Carbohydrates: The carbohydrates found in potatoes are complex carbohydrates. These types of carbs have a more intricate structure, because of this, they take a longer time to digest.
This long digestion time keeps the bird’s blood sugar down and delivers energy slowly and consistently
Fiber: Potatoes are also a good source of fiber, fiber is a type of carbohydrate as well. It is an indigestible carbohydrate which means that the bird’s body cannot break it down, this makes it very helpful for digestion.
Fats: Potatoes will be especially beneficial in the winter when birds need as much energy as they can get, fat is a source of energy. Fat is also important in a bird’s diet during winter because it helps the bird put on weight and thus keep warm in the winter
Other nutrients: Not only do potatoes offer birds fiber, carbohydrates, and fats, they also offer fiber, niacin, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, folate, and phosphorus.
Can birds eat sweet potatoes?
Yes, birds can eat sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are packed with a variety of nutrients that can boost the health of your bird. Nutrients found in sweet potatoes include: Vitamin A, antioxidants, Vitamin C, potassium, manganese, copper, fat, and carbohydrates to name a few.
As long as this food is given in moderation, alongside your bird’s staple foods, then it will be very beneficial to the bird.
How to serve potatoes to birds:
Baked potatoes: If you have any leftover baked potatoes then you can leave these out for your birds to eat. Baked potatoes can also be mixed with some sunflower seeds to make a delicious meal for the birds. Remember not to use any salt in your baked potatoes, this will dehydrate the birds
Mashed potatoes: Mashed potatoes are also a good way to get your birds to eat some healthy and soft potatoes. Just as with the baked potatoes you can mix in some sunflower seeds or other seeds into the potatoes for added taste.
Boiled and chopped up: Boiled and chopped up potatoes can also be eaten by birds. Make sure to boil until soft and chop the potatoes up well enough for the bird to eat. If the pieces of potatoes are too big and too hard, then the bird can choke on the potato pieces.
Tip: You can also add potatoes to your feeder mixes, this gives the birds some variety.
What potatoes not to feed birds: You should not feed your birds potatoes in the form of junk food. This includes the likes of chips, pretzels, and cheese puffs.
All these foods may be delicious to birds but junk food is not healthy for these animals. These foods do not offer the birds good amounts of nutrients. In addition, these foods contain high amounts of chemicals that the bird’s body has not been designed to process
Tip: These types of potatoes can also be given to baby birds starting to feed themselves, potatoes are easy to digest. Read more about when baby birds can feed themselves here.
How not to serve potatoes to birds:
As french fries: This may be a delicious snack for both people and birds but this is not a good food for birds to eat. French fries contain high amounts of salts and high amounts of unhealthy fats.
The salts in french fries will cause birds to quickly become dehydrated. The effects of dehydration can be as severe as the bird losing its ability to perch and losing its ability to fly.
The fat-rich French fry may be an easy way for birds to get energy but they are too fatty and unhealthy for birds.
Birds that each too many French fries can suffer from obesity, kidney failure, digestive issues, and even death.
Can wild birds eat raw potatoes?
You should not give birds raw potatoes, raw potatoes contain the enzyme protease.
This enzyme prevents and blocks other enzymes from breaking down the foods that birds eat. This makes food harder to digest and thus fewer nutrients are delivered to the bird.
Raw potatoes also contain a lot of starches. If you don’t cook the potatoes and the starches remain in the potatoes the bird will ingest the starches.
The starches will settle and stay in the crop of the bird or in the small intestines. Over time the starch will ferment in the crop and this can be fatal to the bird.
A good way to get the starch out of potatoes is to soak them in water for 3-4 hours before cooking. This gets a lot of the starch out of the potatoes.
Is bread bad for birds?
Birds shouldn’t really be eating bread, especially in high amounts. The bread that we usually give birds is filling but lacks nutrients. This food fills the birds up and doesn’t leave room in the bird’s stomach for more healthy and nutritious foods.
Healthier foods to give birds include fruits, vegetables, and bird feeds, like this one.
In addition, large pieces of bread can cause choking in birds and this can be fatal. You can feed birds bread but don’t give them bread in large quantities. Give birds small pieces of bread. If the bread is stale soak it in water to prevent choking.
Find out more about feeding bread to birds here.
Can birds eat cooked rice?
Birds can eat cooked rice. Just like potatoes, cooked rice is a good source of carbohydrates. As long as the rice is cooked then there should be no problem. Rice is naturally small so there is no chance that it will choke the bird.
You can add bird feed to rice to give the bird some variety. Do not give birds rice mixed with sauces, sauces are not good for birds.
There is an old wives tale that warns that birds will explode if they eat uncooked rice. This is simply not true.
The myth states that if a bird eats the rice it will expand in the bird and cause ripping of the digestive tract ripping the bird open and killing them. This is far from the truth.
There is no evidence to suggest that rice does this to birds or harms them at all.
If you have some leftover potatoes and you want to give them to your birds then you should go ahead. Birds will benefit from the high carbohydrate content of the potatoes as well as benefit from the fat and fiber content in the potatoes too.
Not only do potatoes offer birds fiber, carbohydrates, and fats, they also offer fiber, niacin, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, folate, and phosphorus.
Boiled and cut up, mashed and baked potatoes are great foods to give to your birds. You should avoid giving your birds potatoes that have been processed like crisps, French fries, corn chips, and cheese puffs.
These have low nutritional values and can give your bird obesity, dehydration, kidney issues, and can even be fatal.
You should also avoid giving your bird raw potatoes, raw potatoes contain high amounts of starch, which settles in the bird’s crop, ferments, and causes death.
In addition, they contain an enzyme that hampers digestion in the bird, this hampers nutrient delivery in the birds body.