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Outdoor Birds - What Not To Feed

Birds may try and eat almost anything edible, but some items are definitely harmful and should not be put out at a garden feeding station.

Don’t feed:

  • Salty items, such as salted peanuts, crisps and bacon should be avoided, as should any dry food that may swell once ingested.
  • Desiccated coconut can be fatal to birds if not well soaked and is best avoided altogether. Similarly, anything that could choke a bird shouldn’t be provided; for example whole peanuts, lumps of hard fat and dried bread.
  • Any mouldy or spoiled foods must be avoided.
  • Never give milk to any birds. A bird's gut is not designed to digest milk and it can cause serious stomach upset or even death.
  • Sometimes peanuts and fat balls are sold in nylon mesh bags. Never put out any food in mesh bags. These may trap birds’ feet and cause broken or torn off feet and legs. Birds with a barbed tongue, e.g. woodpeckers, can become trapped by their beaks

During the breeding season, make sure the food you are offering on your bird table is suitable for the young chicks, as adults may occasionally use them to feed the youngsters. Never put out loose peanuts, dry hard foods, large chunks of bread, or fats during the spring or summer months as the chicks can choke on the food and die.