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What Can You Feed Birds from Your Kitchen?

what can you feed birds from your kitchen

If you want to reduce the amount of kitchen waste that your household produces, you may want to ask yourself what can you feed birds from your kitchen. You should not be looking for a complete replacement for birdseed.

However, if you do not want anything to go to waste as much as possible, then you can find plenty of stuff in your kitchen that you can feed to your feathered friends. So, what can birds eat besides bird food?

This article will enumerate the things in your kitchen that you can safely feed to birds. It also informs you about the things that may cause them harm. Finish reading this article first before you start feeding the birds.

Kitchen Staples You Can Feed to Your Birds

You might not be actively looking in your cupboard for things that you can feed to the birds. However, you are wondering if food scraps and stale food would be okay. If this is the case, here are some of the foods that you can safely feed to your feathered visitors.

Stale Breakfast Cereals and Oats

stale breakfast cereals and oats

What can birds eat besides bird food? A good answer would be any stale breakfast cereal and oat in your kitchen. If you have old cereals and oats in your cupboard, do not throw them away just yet. Garden birds just love these kinds of grains and they will come flocking to your yard when you put them out in your garden.

However, make sure the cereals do not contain a lot of sugar and artificial colors. These ingredients are already unhealthy for humans, so they will be even more dangerous for small birds.

For instance, excessive amounts of sugar can cause their already fast-beating hearts to beat dangerously fast. You can inadvertently cause small garden birds to die of cardiac arrests.

Stale Bread

stale bread

If you forgot that you still had that half loaf of bread at the back of the fridge, do not throw it away just yet. If the bread is not moldy but it is dry and stale, it is still safe for birds to eat.

However, do not feed the birds the entire loaf at once. The yeast in the bread might cause them to get bloated and sick, so you should just place a bit of the bread out at a time.

Leftover Rice

leftover rice

If you cooked a bit too much rice for dinner last night, they tend to get dry and hard the following day. However, even though you might find it unappealing, you can still feed the stale leftover rice to the birds.

However, before you feed the rice to the birds, you should hydrate them a bit. Just put the rice in a bowl and add a bit of hot water – a tablespoon or two would be enough. Cover the bowl and let the rice steam for a bit so the grains can soften a bit and fluff up.

Cooked Pasta

cooked pasta

Just like rice, leftover pasta, especially one that has any sauce on it, can get quite hard after a day or two in the fridge. You can also feed them to the birds if you want. However, before feeding the pasta to garden birds, make sure to rinse them under the tap to get rid of the sauce and cheese.

Stale Cheese

stale cheese

If you have pre-grated cheddar or other hard cheeses that have gone past their best-by date, you can feed them to the birds. However, take note that you can only feed garden birds hard cheeses. Do not ever feed them soft cheeses as the active bacteria in them might not be good for the birds.

Bacon Fat and Other Fats

bacon fat and other fats

If you cut off the excess fat from your pork, chicken, or beef, you can cut them up and put them into your feeder. The fat can help give the birds a much-needed boost of energy. However, make sure that if you are giving birds bacon fat, it should not be too salty.

In addition, you should be aware that fats can also attract unwanted attention from stray cats, rats, raccoons, and other animals. If you do not want to deal with those unwanted visitors, then you should not use fats at all.

What Should You Not Feed Birds?

Now that we have discussed the acceptable kitchen scraps that you can feed to garden birds, let us talk about what foods you should not feed to them. Here are some of them:

Salty items – A few examples are salted peanuts, potato chips, and others. In humans, too much salt can be bad, but even a small amount can be toxic for small birds. Even just one salty potato chip can upset the delicate electrolyte balance in the systems of garden birds, causing dehydration that may lead to kidney failure and eventually, death.

what should you not feed birds

Desiccated coconut – The reason why this pantry staple is bad for garden birds is that the dried, shredded coconut swells up when it gets hydrated, which, in this case, happens inside the gullet of the birds.

Milk – You must never give milk to any kind of bird. The guts of birds are not suitable for digesting milk. If they ingest even just a bit of milk, it can cause violent diarrhea, severe dehydration, and eventually, death.


So, what can you feed birds from your kitchen? As you learned, there are lots of pantry staples that you can feed to garden birds. However, there are also some things you should not feed them as they can be quite dangerous to the dainty little birds.

Take note of the things that are safe for your little feathered friends and make sure that you avoid harmful ones at all costs. Also, do not feed garden birds with kitchen scraps too often. You should still give them proper birdseed to provide them with the proper nutrients that can help maintain their health.

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