Depending on where you live in the world, the term biscuit can summon a very different image in your mind. But, whichever version you enjoy, they share one unfortunate fact: they get stale with time.
When they do, you might have the bright idea to feed them to the birds. But, can a bird eat biscuits?
The answer is yes, birds can eat biscuits… This is true for different varieties of biscuits, assuming no unsafe ingredients have been added to the basic recipe.
This likely comes as no surprise, as biscuits are not far removed from bread, which birds are commonly fed all over the world. Yet, while these doughy morsels are quickly gobbled up, they may not be the best choice for avian health.
How Do I Prepare Biscuits For Birds To Eat?
When you imagine a biscuit, you might see the warm, buttery, flaky quick bread that is the North American version. But, if you reside almost anywhere else in the world, it’s more likely that you think of the flat, hard, crumbly version, also called a cookie.
The quick bread version is leavened with baking soda or baking powder, meaning that it rises and is similar in texture to yeast bread. As such, when it is fresh, it is soft and light. If you break it into chunks, birds can easily eat them or fly off with them.
Things change when these biscuits get stale. They harden and become almost rock-like. When in this state, you should soak them in water to soften them before putting them on the bird table.
Break them up into pieces, just as you would if they were fresh, to make them manageable and avoid a choking hazard.
When dealing with the hard, unleavened variety of biscuits, things are a little different. The fresh versions are hard, but they tend to be crumbly.
It is not required that you soak crumbly biscuits — and is not recommended, as it will likely turn them into mush.
You should still break these biscuits into bite-sized pieces, however. In fact, that’s usually all you have to do with them, fresh or not. That’s because, when these biscuits become stale, they actually soften on their own.
In both cases, if you are making the biscuits yourself, you can add healthy seeds and fats to the mix. Just like you might add a sweet or savoury spread to them for yourself, you can also spread nut butter on them to add some much-needed nutritional benefits for the birds.
Are Biscuits Good For Birds?
Just because biscuits are tasty and safe for birds to eat, it doesn’t mean that they are the best option. Biscuits are filling, but they are not nutrient-dense. For birds, they represent what are essentially empty calories.
That’s not to say they have no nutritional value. They are both mostly made up of flour, which is high in both carbs and plant proteins. Birds need carbs for energy and protein for development.
While that sounds good so far, flour has negligible nutritional value beyond that. For leavened, quick bread style biscuits, the next ingredients are buttermilk or water, and either baking soda or baking powder.
The buttermilk provides some fat and animal protein, as well as some calcium, but all in very small amounts.
On the other hand, unleavened biscuits add in some sort of fat, usually in the form of an oil, and often sugar. Birds have plenty of use for fat, especially in the winter when food is more scarce. Sugar, on the other hand, should be moderated to avoid diabetes.
Of course, those figures are considering the base ingredients only. There are endless varieties of both types of biscuits, ranging from sweet to savoury, with any number of additives.
Added nuts, seeds, or dried fruits can add positive value to this snack, while added garlic or salt can turn them into health hazards.
Regardless of how you alter them, biscuits will never be the best choice of feed for birds. However, when paired with nutrient-rich options, and served up only occasionally, they are far from the worst thing you could put on the table.