can birds eat chocolate cereal

As you stock up on chocolate eyeballs and candy fangs for eager trick or treaters, have a think about some Halloween goodies for garden birds too, says the RSPB. As you are aware, Feed the Birds Day is this weekend (Yay!) To mark the time when the clocks go back, daylight hours decrease and birds turn to us for help finding enough food to survive the chilly nights. At the same time as the ghosts, ghouls, witches and wizards come knocking at your door for treats on Halloween. Garden birds turn to our help for supplementary food too. Natural food will become much harder to find in the coming weeks, especially so if we get prolonged ice and snow cover and plants become covered with snow, berry crops come to an end and lakes, rivers and ponds become frozen over. Garden birds will rely on the extras that we provide, and many inexpensive, everyday food that we buy for ourselves is an ideal treat for birds too. Here’s a Halloween menu for garden birds: · Fat including suet, is popular with tits, woodpeckers, thrushes and wrens. (Not from roasting tins) · Cheese is a favourite with robins, dunnocks, blackbirds and song thrushes. Mild grated cheese is best. · Potatoes, baked, cooled and opened up, roasted and even mashed will be enjoyed by wildfowl. · Dried fruits like raisins, sultanas and currants are enjoyed by blackbirds, song thrushes and robins. · Fruit like apples and pears, including bruised and part rotten ones, are popular with all thrushes, tits and starlings. Also suitable are cooked or uncooked pastry, cooked rice, dry porridge oats and other breakfast cereals. The RSPB’s Richard Bashford says: “I’m sure many of us won’t be able to help ourselves by slipping an extra bag of sweets or packet of chocolate bars in our trolleys ready for the eager faces on our doorsteps this Halloween so why not do the same for garden birds? “It’s even cheaper as many of the treats they enjoy will already be going in your trolleys like fruit, cereals and cheese.” For more information on the RSPB’s Feed the Birds Day and what to put out in your garden for birds this winter, visit or join in our Live Q&A at 11 am –12am on Friday the 29th October!

Unsafe Foods List For Birds

Creating a list of foods considered toxic or dangerous to birds is not as easy as it seems for these few reasons. I am frequently asked what can I feed my bird to supplement her diet in order to help cut down on their bird food bill, as well as what is safe or okay to eat.

  • First, the term “bird” is fairly vague. Similar to humans, each of us has unique food allergies, aversions, or discomforts. For instance, my Asian culture avoids dairy products and, generally speaking, is lactose intolerant. I realize this is a common occurrence in our culture, but I can’t speak for all Asians, right? Similar to “birds,” various species of the large, diverse Class Aves group of birds will exhibit varying susceptibilities to toxins from food due to the numerous differences in their anatomy and physiology. Size matters of course!.
  • Secondly, despite reports of toxicity in birds, many of the descriptions are based on anecdotal evidence that hasn’t been independently confirmed. Put another way, it is impossible to verify and publish as official the unofficial accounts of who ate what when.
  • Third, ‘the dose determines the poison’. This means that while some foods are safe to eat in moderation or small amounts, feeding large amounts of them to birds can make them sick or even kill them.
  • Lastly, I’ve been informed that some toxicology data utilized by avian veterinarians is taken from the fields of dog and cat medicine. It’s true that they are more numerous and have a wealth of data compared to birds.

Better safe than sorry

Any veterinarian will agree with me when I say that we should always err on the side of caution. Thus, in the interest of simplicity, let us categorize these foods into three groups:

  • Items that the majority of veterinarians concur shouldn’t ever be given to your bird,
  • foods that are not advised but are occasionally consumed without any problems, and
  • Food items that can be fed with caution.

List #1: Do NOT Feed Your Bird…

  • Chocolate: When consumed in a toxic amount, theobromine and caffeine, which are both methylxanthines, can lead to hyperactivity, an elevated heart rate, tremors, possibly seizures, and even death. Generally speaking, chocolate that is darker and more bitter has a higher potential for toxicity.
  • Avocado: The toxic compound persin is present in all parts of the avocado plant and has been shown to poison birds’ hearts. Small birds, like budgies and canaries, are thought to be more vulnerable and may pass away in an hour or two. However, did you know that clinical symptoms, such as respiratory distress, have been seen in other species, including ostriches, and that these birds can pass away in one to two days? Just a fun fact—none of the exotic birds are as large as an ostrich—but the point is that dosage and size do matter.
  • Garlic and onions: It is well known that garlic and onions can be toxic to cats and dogs. Raw vegetables lack some of their potency; concentrated forms, such as onion soup mix or garlic powder, have more. It was noted that in one case, a conure given a lot of garlic and a geese given a lot of green onions experienced fatal toxicity.
  • Some canary breeders enjoy the benefits of comfrey, a green leafy herb, but studies in human medicine have indicated that it can harm the liver.
  • Apple seeds and stone fruit pits: Cyanide is present in the seeds and fruit pits of cherries, plums, apricots, and peaches.
  • Foods heavy in fat, sodium, and sugar: Although not strictly toxic, unhealthy table foods can seriously harm birds’ health as well as that of humans. Strive for the comment, “you eat like a bird”!.
  • Sugar-free candies: In dogs, xylitol, the sugar substitute, has been linked to dangerously low blood sugar and liver damage.


What cereals can birds eat?

Vets have approved the use of whole-grain cereals such as Cheerios for birds, because they are low in sugar, made of whole grains and contain no artificial colours or sweeteners.

Is it OK to feed birds Cheerios?

Naturally low sugar cereals, sure. Plain Cheerios are fine in small amounts, but they also have sugar so don’t make it a regular offering. Birds can’t eat chocolate, make sure there is no cocoa and not chocolate in any cereal you’re giving.

Can birds eat cocoa pops?

Avoid offering breakfast cereals that are sugary, like Frosties, or contain chocolate, like Coco Pops. Too much sugar isn’t good for the birds, and chocolate can be toxic for them.

Can birds eat chocolate biscuits?

Always avoid feeding birds chocolate. You’d be surprised at how many people have tried feeding chocolate to birds before – and just like humans, they find it hard to resist! However, chocolate is actually toxic to birds as it contains theobromine and caffeine.