Do Birds Eat Apple & Is It Safe For Birds To Eat?

Shaun Bird | Updated: June 1, 2021

Do you have too many apples in your fruit bowl or maybe they’re beginning to look overripe then you may be thinking, can birds eat apples?

You’ll be glad to know that, yes, birds can eat apples and that includes wild garden – backyard birds and they’re also ok for pets such as parrots, budgies, cockatiels and more…

Apple

 

Are Apples Healthy for Birds?

Apart from being delicious and juicy, apples are very healthy for pet and wild garden birds and should be included as part of a balanced, healthy diet along with other fruits and veggies.

Due to their high content of naturally occurring sugars and large water content you should limit how much and how often you feed them to wild and pet birds.

If you’re buying apples specifically to feed birds then you should be buying organic apples because they do not contain pesticides and are much more nutritious.

Nutritional Content of Apples

Typical Values Per 10g
Total Fat 0.02g
of which saturated 0.00g
Carbohydrate 1.4g
of which sugars 1.0g
Fibre 0.24g
Protein 0.03g
Salt 0.1mg
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Magnesium
Potassium

Fat

The fat content is extremely low in apples and although fat is important in a bird’s diet (wild birds more than pets) this food can be fed in small quantities as a treat.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a contentious point in a captive bird’s diet because overfeeding them can cause weight gain due to inactivity.  There are 3 types of carbs, simple, complex, and indigestible.

Apples provide simple sugars which are the least beneficial of the 3 above but still provide a valuable energy source for birds.  As above, apples are overall recommended but as a treat.

Fibre

There is a decent amount of fibre in apples, especially if you leave the skin on.  The skin is perfectly fine for your birds and garden birds, as long as they’re washed beforehand.

Fibre helps the digestive system of birds just like it does for humans too.

Protein

Proteins are needed in a birds diet for muscle and connective tissue repair but the vast majority of birds will get their required amount just by feeding them a balanced diet.

Salt

Salt is important in a birds diet but it should not be fed on its own to birds via manmade snacks.  Salt is important to prevent fluid retention, weight loss, fatigue and impaired growth.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A can be gained from eating small amounts of apple and bird’s can benefit from Vitamin A which can help with a bird’s eyesight and prevent issues with skin and feathers.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can help bird’s deal with stress, whether it’s during the spring when they’re rearing their young and helps birds maintain normal metabolic activities and physiological needs.

Magnesium

Magnesium helps birds maintain their bones, beaks, feathers, nerves, muscle coordination, brain functions, and heart health.  Magnesium is an important part of a bird’s health.

Potassium

Potassium helps combat fluid imbalances and helps with healthy nerve function.  Potassium can also reduce blood pressure and ensure your bird or wild birds are active.

How to Feed Apples to Birds

First of all, wash your own hands before rinsing an apple under the tap.  There’s no benefit to birds if you wash fruit under a tap and then handle it with dirty hands.

Whether you’re feeding apples to wild birds or your pet parrot, cockatiel, budgie, or other bird, I highly recommend slicing into manageable pieces and leaving the skin on.

sliced apple

Once you’ve sliced the apple up, you must remove the seeds from the apple as they contain small amounts of cyanide and are harmful to all types of birds.

Apples and Pet Birds

To feed your pet bird apple you can place it between the bars of the cage, place it into a feeding bowl, or a place your bird is happy eating it as long as it’s clean and hygienic.

Parakeet

Ensure that you remove the apple after no more than a few hours as it can quickly go dry and start to deteriorate in quality, taste, and nutritional value.

Personally, I would only feed a pet bird a couple of pieces of apple a week as a treat.

Apples and Wild Birds

I don’t know which types of birds visit your property but throwing a few larger pieces onto your lawn and the finely chopped pieces onto a bird table should do the trick…

Alternatively, you can cut the apple in half, remove the pips, and stake it onto a branch or spike for birds to land close by and peck away at the juicy flesh.

Wild Bird Apple

With wild birds it’s a matter of trial and error, you may find yourself throwing the apple away as your local birds may have better options nearby depending on the time of the year.