Can you eat bird food?

In this brief article, we will answer the question “Can you eat bird food?” with an in-depth analysis of the types of bird food and components of bird food. We will also discuss the harmful effects of eating bird food if there are any. 

Can you eat bird food?

Yes, you can eat bird food. Bird food is not harmful and can be consumed by humans. They can be toxic only in the case when there is something harmful present in them or if the food is not that pure. If the food contains any harmful organism like bacteria or virus then it can cause diseases to humans, otherwise, it is not harmful.

Bird food is the food that is given to the birds as their feed. This food contains many important nutrients which are required by the birds for their normal functioning. It can be given to all birds including commercial and pet birds.

Components of bird food

Bird food satisfies the nutritional needs of the birds as it is composed of healthy components. It is a mixture of different grains and nuts and all those food elements which are required by the bird. 

Bird food is prepared in bird feeders where all the grains are mixed and cut into the size which is suitable for birds. Birds like oats, seeds of sunflower, millet, wheat, corn, peanuts, and fruits like raisins and cherries, so bird food consist of all these grains which are liked by birds. 

Other than sunflower seeds bird food also contains cottonseed, pumpkin seed, safflower seed, hemp or palm kernel seeds.

Sunflower seeds:

Sunflower seeds are the most preferred seeds by the birds. These seeds have four sides and are of the size 0.64 cm in length and 0.32 cm in width. The seed coat has grey stripes and is black that protects the inner part of the seed. This inner part of the seed consists of about twenty per cent protein and thirty per cent lipids with some levels of iron and fibre.

Cereal grains:

Cereal grain is another category of ingredient which is being present in bird food. In this category, the most important grain is corn which is made up of starch and oil. The starch content in corn is about 60% and the oil content is about 4%. 

Along with corn, millet is another important cereal grain ingredient that is smaller in size as compared to corn. Millet in bird food has a good nutrient content with the protein about eleven per cent, about eight per cent fibre and three per cent fat. This makes it an ideal food, especially for small birds.


Peanut is groundnut that grows on an upright plant whose flowers are fertilized above the ground which is thrown onto the ground so that a seeding pod can be developed from them. This seeding pod can have one to three seeds in it.

Peanuts are considered one of the important components of bird food as they have about twenty-five per cent of the protein content. Besides proteins, peanuts also have oil content in them, which makes up to fifty per cent of all the nutritional content of the peanut. This high percentage of oil makes peanuts more attractive and tastier for birds.

One disadvantage of having peanut in bird food is that peanut is prone to Aspergillus mould which can do serious damage to birds’ liver. So, manufacturers must be extra careful while adding peanuts to bird food.


Fruits are also added to the bird food as an important component. The sugar content of fruits is high that makes them more attractive towards birds specifically to some species of birds.

Cherries and raisins are the most common fruits which are being used in bird food. Before adding them to bird food, their water content is dried. Raisins, on the other hand, are produced by grapes. For the production of raisins, they are first dried which can be both done by the sun or by using forced air dryers.

Bird food for humans

Having known all the ingredients present in bird food, we can deduce that bird food is not harmful for human consumption. In fact, bird food is of nutritive advantage to humans. The only risk of eating bird food is that it may contain harmful pathogens that can cause diseases to humans.

So, to avoid any dangerous circumstances, it is advised to make sure that the food is safe and clean and has no contamination in it, before eating bird food.


In this short article, we have answered the question “Can you eat bird food?”. We have also discussed the components and types of bird food and how they can be harmful to humans if they are edible.