Bird food

Bird food
A mixture of seeds in a bird feeder

Bird food is food (often varieties of seeds) eaten by birds. Humans generally make or buy bird food to feed to pet birds or use in birdfeeders. Birdfood can be natural or commercial. The choice of what to use as birdfood depends on the species of bird being fed.



Bushtits eating suet from a bird feeder


Black sunflower seeds are highly recommended for use in bird feeders because they attract a wide variety of birds, have a high ratio of meat to shell, and are high in fat content.[1][2] Other common birdseeds include niger, or thistle seed, a favorite of goldfinches, millet for sparrows and juncos, and safflower for cardinals, among others.[1][2].


Since there are a variety of birds that do not eat seeds, other several types of food have traditionally been used. Suet (beef or mutton fat) is recommended for insect-eating birds like nuthatches and woodpeckers.[1] Nectar (essentially sugar water) attracts hummingbirds.[1] Bread and kitchen scraps are often fed to ducks and gulls. Chickens are commonly fed corn, wheat, barley, sorghum and milling by-products.

These seeds and non-seed supplies are commonly obtained as by-products on farms, but can also be bought from independent retailers.

Commercial bird food


A wide variety of commercial bird food is available to bird owners, combining a variety of seeds in a single mix. Individual types of bird tend to pick out their favorite seeds and leave the rest uneaten, to be picked up by other birds.[2][3]


Farmed birds fed commercial bird food typically are given very specific scientifically designed preblended feed. Examples of commercial bird food for chickens include chick starter medicated crumbles, chick grower crumbles, egg layer mash, egg layer pellet, egg layer crumbles, egg producer pellet, and broiler maker med crumbles. Pellet crumbles are often prepared for tiny chicks. Mash is more finely ground.

External links


  1. ^ a b c d What to Feed Birds and Seeds and Grains for Birds. Project FeederWatch. Retrieved on August 23, 2006
  2. ^ a b c Porter, Diane. Winter Bird Feeder: Keep Them Coming Back. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.
  3. ^ Choosing Bird Food. All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.

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