is cereal good for birds

Sharing meals with your pet bird is one of the pleasures of the avian lifestyle. Many companion birds even enjoy a special place at the table, especially at breakfast time. And one breakfast item in particular is loved by humans and birds alike – cereal.

Because cereals intended for human consumption aren’t routinely tested on birds, and thus can’t be recommended without reservation, we consulted several experts for their opinions.

Look for Low-Sugar, Whole-Grain Cereals with No Additives

Dr. Senior research associate Donna Muscarella frequently gives her own pet birds cereal at Cornell University’s Veterinary Medical Center in Ithaca, New York.

Muscarella tells bird owners to “look for genuine, whole-grain cereals like shredded wheat,” adding, “I see nothing wrong with feeding some of the low-sugar, whole-grain cereals to birds, in moderation.” Almost everything is labeled as “whole grain,” so exercise caution and maybe look into it a bit more!

She goes on, “Most commercial cereals are fortified in some way, but some, like Total, are more enhanced than others.” While a small quantity probably won’t cause any issues, we are aware that human vitamin needs differ significantly from those of birds. Softbills are typically prone to iron-storage disease, so I would not recommend feeding Total to them due to its high iron content. ”.

Cereal has been employed by Muscarella as a transition food to help birds switch to a healthier diet.

When given Cheerios or Grape Nuts (which cockatiels seem to adore!) in place of seed, parrots are more receptive to trying new foods, such as pellets, according to Muscarella. “If additives are a concern, there are cereals available that are organic.” Many of them lack the extra vitamins found in regular cereals. ”.

Robert Monaco, a board-certified avian veterinarian from Plainview, New York’s Old Country Animal Clinic, agrees.

Natural, unsweetened cereals like Cheerios or shredded wheat, in his opinion, are OK. “A few times a week, I usually feed my birds a small amount of cereal.” The amusing thing about Cheerios is that they can be consumed by children, dogs, birds, and even koi fish!

The zinc content of cereal worries a lot of bird owners. Monaco says, “Zinc is an essential element in everyone’s diet. The body will adjust if it receives a bit too much. Too little, and there are major problems. Feeding human cereal to a bird won’t cause zinc toxicity. ”.

Muscarella also feeds cooked cereal to her birds.

“Typically, I cook oats in water with a small amount of soy milk added,” she states. “One benefit is that when I have to medicate a bird, it seems to work best to mix the medication with oatmeal or mashed sweet potato because the birds treat it like a treat and eat the mush off of a spoon as if it were hand-fed.” ”.

For birds, Muscarella prefers the cereal brands Shredded Wheat, Grape Nuts, Cheerios, and oatmeal.

“Apart from the fact that my parrots smush it around on surfaces with their beaks and it dries into the hardest cement known to mankind,” she claims, “I see no problem with farina or Cream of Wheat.”

Barbara Landsperg, a lifelong bird enthusiast, was hand-rearing small birds long before commercially available hand-feeding formulas.

“I used high-protein baby cereal, ground sunflower seeds, baby apple sauce, a drop of liquid avian vitamins, and a tiny bit of Karo syrup to raise my budgerigar babies,” the mother explains. “That was in 1979. ”.

Her lorikeet’s diet consisted of fruits and vegetables, oatmeal baby cereal, unsweetened apple sauce, and a small amount of condensed milk.

Landsperg sometimes gives her birds cooked oatmeal. “They love it,” she said. “As treats, I occasionally give them tiny portions of different dry cereals like Cheerios, Rice Krispies, and Raisin Bran. ”.

It is crucial to remember that wild birds shouldn’t rely solely on Rice Krispies for sustenance. They ought to be provided sparingly and in conjunction with other wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Uneaten Rice Krispies should be taken out of the feeding area, just like any other food, to avoid spoiling or dangerous mold growth.

Compared to other breakfast cereals, Rice Krispies have less sugar, which is one of their benefits. Similar to people, birds can gain from eating a diet low in sugar. Giving them Rice Krispies will give them a treat that isn’t too sweet, which will benefit their general health. Furthermore, Rice Krispies are a safer option than Rice Krispies Treats, which may be detrimental to birds, because they don’t contain marshmallows.

The popular breakfast cereal Lucky Charms has a high sugar content and little nutritional value, so it is not advised for wild birds. Even though it could be tempting to give the birds your morning cereal, you should take into account their nutritional needs. A balanced diet that includes vital nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals is necessary for wild birds. Unfortunately, Lucky Charms falls short in providing these necessary components.

When served fresh and unsweetened, muesli, a wholesome combination of whole grains, dried fruits, and nuts, provides a beneficial option for wild birds. The following information will help you feed muesli to wild birds:

Corn Flakes should not, it is important to remember, take the place of a bird’s regular diet of bird seed or other suitable bird food. Although birds can enjoy cornflakes, they should only be provided as a supplement and not as their primary source of nutrition. Additionally, it’s imperative to refrain from serving cornflakes with sugar or other harmful additives.


Are Cheerios OK for birds?

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.

Can birds eat Rice Krispies cereal?

Landsperg sometimes gives her birds cooked oatmeal. “They love it,” she said. “I occasionally give them small amounts of various dry cereals like Cheerios, Rice Krispies and Raisin Bran as treats.”

What is the best food for birds?

Offer sunflower seeds, nyjer (thistle) seeds, and peanuts in separate feeders. When using blends, choose mixtures containing sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn—the three most popular types of birdseed.