Can birds eat sugar?

Sugar is in everything, you’d be hard-pressed to find products that are free from some type of sugar. There is sugar in everything, from pasta, salsa, dill pickles and pretty much anything else that you can imagine. At this point, finding food that doesn’t contain sugar is difficult. If you feed human food to birds then you may be asking yourself whether all this sugar is good for the animal. This article explores the question of ‘can birds eat sugar’ 

Birds can eat sugar but only very occasionally and in very small amounts. Avoid giving birds sugar on a regular basis, this can be very bad for their health. Too much sugar in birds can cause diabetes, heart damage, gout, nervous disorders, hyperactivity, cancer, obesity, nervousness, stress, anxiety, depression, irritability and cause feather picking.

Can birds eat sugar?

Technically, birds can eat sugar, birds can eat sugar if given in small amounts and very occasionally, giving birds sugar on a regular basis can be very bad for their health. The refined sugar that humans eat is not only unhealthy for us if we overindulge, but it is also detrimental to the birds emotional, mental and physical health. 

The first reason why sugar is bad for birds is that it doesn’t offer the animal any nutrients. Sugar is heavily processed, as the sugar is processed it is stripped of any of the nutrients that would have been used for metabolism. Because of this, in order for the body to metabolize sugar, the body needs to take nutrients from itself to metabolize this food

Also, a birds body will try to prevent sugar from entering the bloodstream too quickly. The body does this by causing the digestive system to overwork. Other parts of the body that also begin to overwork, as a result of the sugar, are the endocrine system and the pancreas. They overwork in an effort to create enough insulin to process this sugar 

Another reason why birds shouldn’t have sugar is that this sweet product weakens the animal’s immune system. The bird’s white blood cells, which fight off illnesses, are negatively affected by any sugar in a birds diet. 

Not only does it weaken the immune system of birds, but it can also promote infections, cause diabetes, give the bird heart damage, gout, nervous disorders, hyperactivity, cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, heart attacks, nervousness, stress, anxiety, depression, irritability and cause feather picking. 

Can birds eat artificial sweeteners?

One artificial sweeter that people use is xylitol. This may be a great alternative to sugar with humans but it has been associated with liver damage and hypoglycemia in dogs. This artificial sweetener has not been tested on birds but if the effects on dogs are anything to go by then you should keep artificial sweeteners away from birds. 

Can I treat my bird to some fruits?

Yes, you can treat your bird to some fruits, giving your bird fruits is a much better way to get some healthy sugar into the bird’s body. The natural sugars that exist in fruits are bound to essential minerals, vitamins, oils and fibre that the bird needs. Fruits also contain beneficial enzymes. Enzymes in fruit help with the metabolic process so that the body doesn’t have to take from itself to process sugar. Sugar from fruit is also superior as it arrives in the body diluted in water, this also makes this type of sugar able to assist with metabolism 

Can birds eat cereal with sugar?

No, birds cannot eat cereal with sugar. Humans may have evolved to be accustomed to the high sugar content in sugary cereals but birds have not. You should only give birds sugarless cereal, in fact, sugarless cereal is quite good for birds. Cereals that birds can eat include Weetabix, plain Corn flakes, the original Cheerios and Bran flakes. Your little feathered friend will enjoy the crunch of these cereals and enjoy the taste as well. When giving cereal to birds, remember to serve it plain with no milk. You can crush the cereal to make it easier to eat or soak it in water 


In conclusion, giving small amounts of sugar to your bird very occasionally won’t kill it but giving them sugar, or foods with high levels of sugar in it, will cause the bird to suffer from mental, emotional and physical illnesses.  Do not feed your feathered friend artificial sweeteners or sugary cereals but you can serve your bird fruit.

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 digestive biscuits?, Can birds eat fruit cake?, Can birds eat ginger?, Can birds eat green beans?

Can birds eat sugar?
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