Granola is a favourite among health food enthusiast, due in large part to its simplicity and tremendous variability. It can be formulated to be palatable to anyone’s tastes, and, in theory, this even applies to birds.
But, can birds eat granola?
Yes, Birds can eat granola. In fact, granola is likely to contain many of the same ingredients you might find in a bag of bird feed. There is even such a thing as “bird seed granola” — and it’s intended for humans to eat!
At the same time, not everything in granola made for us is ideal for birds to consume. Some additives can do more than cause the birds to turn their beaks up in distaste. A few common granola ingredients can be toxic, or even fatal.
Yet, even the healthiest blend can pose a danger if it is poorly prepared or presented. Luckily, granola can be offered in a variety of ways that are safe and pleasing to our avian allies.
How Do I Prepare Granola For Birds To Eat?
If you buy granola from the supermarket, chances are it’s ready to be served to birds out of the bag. The main consideration is the size of the pieces. You want it broken up so that no pieces are larger than bite-sized.
What this means exactly depends on the bird population you are feeding. If you only have larger birds visiting your bird table, then larger pieces are okay.
Some brands have very large clusters in the bag. In such cases, the easiest thing to do is to break them down while they are still bagged.
Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can, then reseal it and pound the pieces apart until they are the size you require.
If you are making the granola yourself, substitute maple syrup or beet molasses for honey or refined sugars. They are healthier sugar options for birds.
You can also add olive oil to your recipe. That will add healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants to the mix. As for other additives, sprinkle in the variety of nuts, seeds, and fruits most healthful to the breeds of bird in your area.
When placing the granola outside, take care to put it in a place that is shielded from rain or other moisture. Wet granola will attract mould and harmful bacteria.
At the same time, make sure the birds have a nearby water source. Once baked, granola is dehydrated, making for a very dry snack. Birds will need ample fluids on hand to avoid choking and aid their digestion.
Is Granola Good For Birds?
No matter what form of granola you serve your birds, it should be treated as an occasional treat. This is because granola has a naturally high sugar content, which is not good for birds on a regular basis.
Assuming you follow that guiding rule, granola is generally fine for birds to eat.
I use the term “generally” because not all granola is created equal. For instance, most granola contains varying amounts of honey. There is a reason I suggested replacing that with other, plant-based sweeteners.
Honey can harbour bacteria and fungus that is harmful to birds. Things like E. coli, listeria, and even botulism can live in honey. This is mainly an issue with raw honey, yet for these reasons, honey is not recommended for birds.
The dried fruit in granola might also pose a problem. Raisins, prunes, and dried apricots are often treated with the toxic preservative sulfur dioxide. The impact of this chemical on avian health is still poorly understood, but it should be avoided where possible.
However, the most plentiful ingredient in a granola mix tends to be rolled oats, and these have many positive components.
By virtue of the inclusion of rolled oats, granola contains the following vitamins and minerals:
- Pantothenic Acid
Beyond these base ingredients, the nutritional profile of a given granola mix depends entirely on the individual recipe.
In this sense, you have a great deal of control over just how good granola is for birds in your own backyard.