Birds are colorful and cheerful feathered friends that have captured the hearts of millions of animal lovers all over the globe. Recent studies show that more than five million households in the United States have decided to keep pet birds as their preferred animal companions.
When it comes to their diet, pet birds can consume a variety of seeds, fruits, and nuts. If you are wondering whether pet birds can eat popcorn, then this is the right place for you!
Is It Safe To Feed Pet Birds Popcorn?
Pet birds can eat and digest popcorn as long as it is plain air-popped popcorn without any added butter, salt, or any other artificial seasoning.
Pet birds can also consume unpopped kernels. However, this should only be fed as an occasional snack since popcorn offers little nutritional value to birds.
The Avian and Animal Hospital reports that about 80 – 90% of bird diseases are caused by inadequate diet. This is especially true for wild birds, who are often forced to scavenge for scarce seeds or vegetation, which unfortunately doesn’t contain all the nutrients needed for healthy development.
Luckily, pet birds are fed on a wider variety of bird-specific feed and pellets, which promotes their growth and health. As a responsible bird owner, you should be aware of the important nutrients that your bird needs for healthy growth and survival.
Is Popcorn Healthy for Pet Birds?
There are six main nutritional needs for pet birds :
Popcorn offers a high amount of carbohydrates; hence it can be a great energy source for pet birds. However, it is important to make sure that your pet does not consume too much popcorn since this can lead to obesity.
The fiber present in popcorn also improves digestive health in pet birds. Aside from carbohydrates and fiber, popcorn does not offer sufficient amounts of other essential vitamins and nutrients. Therefore, popcorn should only be fed as an occasional snack. The majority of a pet bird’s diet should comprise seeds, fruits, vegetables, water, and commercial pellets.
How to Feed Pet Birds Popcorn
Pet birds should only consume plain, air-popped popcorn that does not contain any flavorings, salt, or butter. Popcorn balls are a healthy and tasty snack that you can make for pet birds that incorporate additional ingredients to improve the health of your feathered friend. Here is the recipe:
- One cup of wild bird seed.
- A third cup of organic honey.
- A quarter cup of dried cranberries.
- Three cups of plain air-popped popcorn.
- Two tablespoons of organic peanut butter.
- Mix the peanut butter and popcorn in a large bowl.
- Add the honey, wild bird seeds, and cranberries to the bowl and mix well.
- Mold the mixture into six to eight balls and place them on parchment paper to dry and harden.
Pet birds love popcorn balls! While plain air-popped popcorn is safe for birds, other forms of popcorn should be avoided at all costs.
Can Pet Birds Eat Salted Popcorn?
Salted popcorn is a big no-no for pet birds. Excessive salt intake in birds has been shown to lead to many health complications. When a bird consumes too much salt, this upsets its body’s fluid-electrolyte balance, leading to dehydration, excessive thirst, and kidney damage.
Can Pet Birds Eat Buttered Popcorn?
Buttered popcorn is a delicacy among humans, but in birds, it can lead to serious health problems. Butter contains a high amount of salt and fat, which can subsequently damage your pet bird’s nervous system and cause digestive problems too.
If you must cook popcorn in some oil, experts recommend that you use coconut oil since it contains fatty acids that are healthy for birds. Coconut oil also adds some flavor to the popcorn, and this can make the taste more appealing to your bird.
Can Pet Birds Eat Unpopped Popcorn (Kernels)?
Birds can eat popcorn kernels, but you should make sure that there are no traces of salt, butter, or any other seasonings. If you want to feed your pet bird with some kernels that were left over from a batch of seasoned or salted popped popcorn, then you should first wipe down the kernels with a paper towel to remove traces of the oil and seasonings.
In addition, experts advise that you should boil or soak the kernels in water for a few minutes before feeding them to your pet so that the hard hull can be softer and more digestible.
Can Pet Birds Eat Microwave Popcorn?
Pet birds should not be fed with microwave popcorn since the oil contains volatile hydrocarbons that can lead to fatal illnesses in birds. The seasonings, preservatives, and additives in microwave popcorn are also very dangerous to bird health.
What Are Some Healthy Alternative Treats That I Can Feed My Pet Bird?
Popcorn is a tasty snack for humans and birds alike. However, it lacks the essential nutrients that a pet bird needs for proper growth and development. PetMD offers a list of healthy alternative treats that you can feed your pet bird instead:
- Cooked foods: Some great foods that you can cook for your pet bird include sprouts, barley, oats and legumes.
- Vegetables: These include squash, cucumber, sugar snaps, parsley and lettuce.
- Fruits: Some fruits that pet birds would enjoy include mango, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi and papaya.
What Should You Not Feed Pet Birds?
Some common foods that are toxic to pet birds include chocolate, avocado, caffeine, onions, garlic, apple seeds, fat, and salt.
Variety Is Key
Pet birds should be fed a variety of food options that are freshly sourced and provide the six classes of nutrients needed for a balanced diet. While popcorn might not contain all the nutrients that pet birds need, it is still an excellent snack that your feathered friend will happily gobble up within minutes.
For this reason, you should feed your pet bird small amounts of popcorn as an occasional treat while ensuring that the rest of their diet contains a rich variety of nutrient-dense foods.
Next, check out our other articles on birds and popcorn: