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Feeding Christmas Leftovers to Birds

December 21, 2018

During the festive season, it’s likely that the with large amounts of food on offer, we’ll find ourselves with plenty of Christmas leftovers. Rather than it going to waste, an ideal way of putting it to good use is feeding it to our beloved garden birds. Throughout winter, natural food sources that wild birds rely on will become scarce, so any treats will be gratefully enjoyed by your feathered friends!

We have put together some helpful advice about what we can and can’t feed garden birds at Christmas. It’s very important you feed wild bird the correct leftovers as certain foods can seriously harm birds health.

We can feed
Christmas pudding, fruit cake or mince pies, which have a high fat content. Fruits and fats supply birds with vital energy during the cold weather.

Cold roast potatoes are another great source of fat. To serve, simply chop into peck size pieces and add to your ground feeder or bird table.

Cooked or uncooked pastry is an superb way of adding extra fats to a birds diet.

Mild low-salt cheese that is grated or crumbled can also give your birds crucial energy. Cheese is a favourite amongst robins, dunnocks, blackbirds and song thrushes.

Attract starlings by feeding chopped apples or pears. Soaked dried fruit is a delicious treat for bird, especially blackbirds.

We can’t feed
Avoid feeding salted nuts as birds are unable to process salt in high quantities and it can harm their nervous system.

Also avoid cured meats, crisps, cakes, bread and pigs in blankets, as these generally tend to contain processed fatty foods which are harmful to birds. Cooked meats can also attract vermin, so best averted. Bread will bloat your bird’s stomach and doesn’t contain any important nutrients.

Christmas stuffing mixes will usually contains many artificial ingredients which may dehydrate your garden birds.

A good rule to follow; foods that are generally unhealthy for humans are likely to be unhealthy for wild birds too.

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  1. Thanks for the information. I feed the birds, and I’m getting to know by what isn’t eaten, what they like best. I sometimes give them cold cooked rice and this seems to be acceptable. I have to say I give them meat dripping on thin sliced bread, and this disappears very quickly. I know you don’t advise bread, but I thought a little, spread with dripping and the crusts removed would be okay.

  2. Thanks for this information, we love feeding the birds we fill our feeders nearly every day. If you look back on our purchases you’ll find we have had quite a number of feeders.

  3. Thank you for your notes on the foods which can and cannot be put out for the birds
    I eat whole meal bread and would be grateful to know if I can use that either dry or moist.