When we were young, we were told that feeding ducks bread was perfectly fine. Several years later, and now it’s not only inadvisable to feed them bread, but actually quite dangerous.
While humans have no problem eating cereals and other crops types, you may think to yourself, can birds eat shredded wheat?
Well, it’s actually a bit of a mixed bag. If I were to give you a direct answer, then “yes but only in moderation” would be your best bet. However, again, things are more nuanced than that.
Firstly, the amount of this type of cereal you give them depends on the size of the bird.
All these things must be taken into account whether or not they can (or even should) eat foods such as shredded wheat.
How Do I Prepare Shredded Wheat For Birds To Eat?
Luckily, when it comes to preparing them, you’re in luck. If you do decide to feed these tasty treats to your bird, you’ll pretty much do this however you’d normally feed them seeds or grains.
This is done by pouring a couple of shredded wheat onto a bird table or tray or simply scattering them on the ground.
While you could certainly put them into a seed feeder, make sure that the shredded wheat are properly shredded and easily able to move through the chute.
You don’t want a piece to be too big that it is stopped or otherwise obstructs the other types of feed.
The good news about shredded wheat, in particular, is that, as they are normally quite large (compared to other types of bird feed) they are easily spotted by birds and can act as a singular treat in addition to other seeds.
Now, when it comes to shredded wheat in particular, it’s important to only put out a small number at any one time.
Shredded Wheat is very large compared to regular forms of grains and is very condensed. Feeding too much to your bird may lead to many potential health issues due to the amount of sugar in each square.
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Are Shredded Wheats Good For Birds?
Now, this is the million-dollar question. Well, as I stated before, the best immediate answer is, “it’s complicated” or “well, yes… but no”. Let me explain.
First, the cons.
I’ve been doing a lot of dancing around here on exactly what the issue is with shredded wheat in particular and why there is such an asterisk on this type of cereal.
The reason is (and I’m sure you already have had a sneaking suspicion) sugar content. Seriously, that is the big secret here.
Now, before you ignore everything I’m saying, take a second and really consider just how much sugar is in cereals today.
In America, 4 out of every 10 people suffers from obesity. That’s right, out of every 10 people, just under half are grossly overweight to the point that they are labelled as obese.
This does not include the percentage of Americans that are simply “overweight” (some studies have shown it to be a whopping 1 in 3!). And why exactly is that such a huge point?
Because of the incredibly how amount of sugary content that is in our foods. While this is prevalent throughout virtually all foods, the same is just as true for breakfast cereals. I hope you can see where I’m going here.
If not, let me make it clear. If breakfast cereals are high enough in sugar that they are negatively affecting humans, just how WORSE this is for birds?!
For a frame of reference, the average serving size of shredded wheat’s sugar is 12 grams. Do you know what else is typically measured in grams? Birds! That would literally be like you eating 12 POUNDS of sugar in one sitting.
So what’s the “Pros”?
So now that we’ve gotten the reality of just how much sugar these things have, and their very real drawbacks if fed freely to birds, we can now go over the positives and why you should, in moderation, feed these guys to your little guys.
Firstly, we are going to have to revamp exactly what type of shredded wheat you are feeding them. The fact of the matter is that not all cereals are created equal, and neither are shredded wheat brands.
While you are certainly free to eat whatever type you want, when it comes to your birds, it’s strongly recommended that you get Plain Sugar-Free Shredded Wheat. This has virtually no sugar in them (less than half a gram per cup serving) and, while “plain”, will have all the benefits of consuming wheat.
Now that we’ve got the right type of shredded wheat picked out, let’s go over their benefits. Shredded Wheat is a good choice for bird treats as they contain iron, potassium, and zinc.
So long as these are kept at respectable levels and never in a surplus, your bird will actually gain benefit from eating them. Not as long as you were expecting? Yeah, well that’s the reality of the situation.
While birds can definitely eat shredded wheat without too much issue in and of themselves, it is very important that you realize that these (even the plain ones) are a snack or a treat and should not be considered as an effective replacement for birdseed.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, while there is nothing wrong with (and actually quite enjoyable) your bird eating shredded wheat, it’s really important that you make sure that this is meant as an additional treat rather than a meal replacement.
Do that and the two of you can have your wheat (and eat it too!)