Can birds eat uncooked pearl barley?

Many birds owners feed their birds human food, in fact, some birds have become accustomed to eating when are what humans eat, even going as far as having a seat at the dining table. The food that humans eat can be very nutritious and beneficial to birds. Foods like nectar, nuts and seeds aren’t the only suitable foods that birds can have. The food in your pantry can augment more traditional bird foods. If you enjoy grains you probably have some uncooked pearl barley in there. And the question on your mind may be ‘can bird eat uncooked pearl barley’ this article explores that question.

Birds can definitely eat uncooked pearl barley. Even with its fibrous hull removed, this food offers birds a variety of vitamins and minerals. The pearl barley does not need to be cooked as the bird’s gizzard breaks it down before digestion happens.

Can birds eat uncooked pearl barley?

Many of us know barley as a cereal grain that offers vitamins, minerals, whole grain and fibre. Pearl barley is processed barley.

Processing entails removing the fibrous outer hull, the grain is then polished. This polishing removes either some or all of the bran layer. This process leaves you with a smoother product that cooks faster and is easy to chew 

Pearl barley still contains nutrients even after the hulling, which removes some of the fibre.

Serving uncooked pearl barley to your birds will give them access to a variety of vitamins and minerals including protein, fat, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, copper, iron, vitamin b6, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, folate, selenium and calories 

Humans need pearl barley to be cooked but birds do not. All birds have an organ called a gizzard in their digestive system. The gizzard is what ‘chews’ up food for birds as they have no teeth.

This organ breaks food down the hardest foods and forms the food into something that can be digested. Certain birds have a smaller and thinner-walled gizzard, in this case, the bird will also eat small stones and grit to help break down food 

Because this food is a grain, birds will happily eat it. Grains make up a large part of a birds diet. Birds eat uncooked grains such as whole wheat and even corn. Feeding birds uncooked pearl barley is perfectly fine as a grain. 

The percentage of uncooked pearl barley in your bird’s diet will need to differ with age. In the begging stages of your bird’s life, its diet can consist of up to 25% uncooked pearl barley.

Once your bird has reached about 6 weeks of age pearl barley can be their sole source of grain, this being up to 50% of their diet. If your bird is having grains from their feed, then only offer them a handful of uncooked pearl barley as a treat.

In addition, you can mix in other types of grains for variety and excitement in their diet 

Can you feed birds cooked pearl barley 

Yes, you can feed birds cooked pearl barley but birds are perfectly happy eating it raw.

In addition, the barley does not need to be soaked or processed for birds to eat and enjoy it, the bird’s gizzard will take care of it in the bird’s body 

When serving pearl barley to birds always remember to feed them in small supply. This will help to prevent crop impaction.

Also, remember to always have a supply of drinking water available to the bird.

How to feed birds pearl barley 

One way of feeding birds pearl barley is simply throwing it on the ground.

Birds love foraging for their own food rather than having it handed to them.

To achieve, this throw the barley around your garden and allow birds to find and peck at it, this will make them very happy. 

What other grains can birds eat?

Birds need grains in their diet, a large part of a birds diet needs to include grains for them to be able to function properly.

Other than pearl barley, other grains that you can feed your bird include buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, wheat berry, oat, germ, wheat bran and gem


In conclusion, birds can and will happily eat uncooked pearl barley. This food offers birds a variety of vitamins and minerals and can be eaten raw or cooked. All birds have gizzards which will help them break down the raw grain.

Allowing the birds to forage for the food enables them to exercise their mind and body as they forage. Other grains that birds can eat include buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, wheat berry, oat, germ, wheat bran and gem

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 uncooked rice?, Do wild birds eat lettuce?, Can wild birds eat rice Krispies cereal?, Can birds eat uncooked oats?

Can birds eat uncooked pearl barley?
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