After enjoying a plate of spaghetti, or a filling serving of pasta salad, it’s not unusual to have some leftovers.
Instead of tossing them in the trash, you may have considered treating the local birds to some pasta, yet, before you set the bird table, you want to know can birds eat pasta?
Yes, Birds can eat pasta… These nutrient-rich noodles can be the perfect treat to add variety to a bird’s usual fare. This is true for spaghetti, macaroni and cooked pasta shells which are the more common types of pasta.
However, don’t set yourself up for disappointment imagining sparrows slurping whole strands of spaghetti in sauce. While birds can eat pasta, it needs to be prepared properly to ensure it is safe for them to consume.
How Do I Prepare Pasta For Birds To Eat?
The first and most important step is to cook the pasta. Technically, uncooked pasta is just as healthy in terms of nutrient value, and birds can and will eat it. The risk is more structural than dietary.
When hard pasta breaks, sharp edges and points can form. These can easily cut or puncture a bird’s innards, causing serious injuries or death. It’s best not to risk this at all, and always cook pasta so that it is soft.
It is equally important that you remove sauces, spices, and cheese from any leftovers you might share. Tomatoes are generally too acidic for birds, and that can carry over to sauces.
Additionally, pasta sauces and seasonings often contain garlic and onion, both of which are toxic to our beaked buddies.
As for the cheese, birds can’t digest lactose. So while they can eat dairy products, it will lead to digestion issues and discomfort. It’s best to avoid that altogether. Rinse off your sauced pasta table scraps thoroughly before serving.
Next, you should chop it into pieces that are small enough for birds to carry away. This makes it easier for the largest number of birds to get a portion when the feeder is crowded. It also allows them to easily carry morsels back to the nest to feed their young.
If you have larger birds, you can also get creative with macaroni, penne, or other tubular noodles. You can fill their insides with nut butter or some other nutritious soft filling.
This not only allows you to diversify flavours and nutrients but makes the meal more interesting to the birds.
Is Pasta Good For Birds?
Pasta has quite a few nutrients that are of particular benefit to birds. The first among them being carbohydrates. Birds are very active animals, and they require steady sources of carbs to support their high energy metabolism.
Protein is also incredibly important to birds, particularly during the breeding season. In fact, during this time, they will naturally alter their diets to seek more protein-rich food sources.
Baby and juvenile birds need this nutrient most of all, as, without it, their growth and development will be impaired.
High in protein, pasta can provide a necessary boost to growing birds. It also serves as a good source of trace minerals, such as:
Yet, pasta, like other table scraps or refined foods, should be an infrequent offering on your bird feeding menu. Such foods can fill birds up, but do not offer the complete array of vitamins, minerals, and healthy compounds they would obtain via foraging.
Besides which, alongside all the beneficial and benign contents, pasta also has a very high iron content, which can be detrimental to birds. While birds do require iron, they don’t need much of it. Feed them too much, and they could develop Iron Storage Disease.
This disease can lead to a whole host of painful, debilitating, and even fatal maladies. Symptoms generally don’t appear until the disease is too advanced to reverse, so it is important to carefully limit iron-rich foods, such as pasta, in your feed.