As a backyard birdwatcher, I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to feed the birds in my yard. Recently, I came across a container of raisins in my pantry and wondered, can birds eat raisins?
I did some research and was surprised to find out that birds can eat raisins, which can be a healthy and delicious snack for our feathered friends.
Can Birds Eat Raisins?
Yes, birds can eat raisins, and they offer a nutritious, high-energy snack for birds or an essential part of a balanced diet. Raisins are dried grapes and can be fed to birds whole, chopped, or soaked in water to rehydrate the dry fruit. Raisins, sultanas, and currents are all dried grapes that birds can eat.
Fruit-eating birds are generally able to eat the fruit in its dried form. While raisins are safe for birds to eat, there are some things to consider before you start feeding your birds raisins.
In this blog post, I’ll share what I’ve learned about feeding birds raisins and how you can incorporate them into your backyard bird-feeding routine. So, let’s explore the world of birds and raisins together!
Can You Feed Raisins To Birds?
Birds can eat grapes, and raisins are grapes with all the moisture removed, so it is perfectly acceptable to feed raisins to birds.
The grapes can be sun-dried or oven-dried to produce raisins.
There are a few different varieties of dried grapes, and all of them are suitable for birds.
- Currents. Currents are the smallest variety, are less sweet, and have a tart flavor.
- Sultanas. Sultanas are larger than currents and have a pale yellow color. They are made from white grapes and are softer and sweeter than currents.
- Raisins. Raisins are the largest variety and, like sultanas, are soft, sweet, and juicier than currents. They are also usually darker since they are made from purple grapes.
A word of warning is required when feeding raisins to birds, especially in outdoor feeders. Raisins and other dried fruits can be toxic to some dogs. Not all dogs will become ill, and it is unclear why some react badly to dried fruit and others can tolerate it.
There is an assumption that the concentration of sugars in the dried fruit is the cause of this reaction in some dogs.
Are Raisins Nutritious For Birds?
Raisins are a nutritious treat for pet birds and wild birds and can be included with other natural foods to present a balanced diet for your feathered friends.
Raisins have great nutritional value and contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial for keeping a pet and wild birds healthy.
Raisins provide the following health benefits for birds.
- Vitamin A helps to build immunity to disease and improves vision.
- Vitamin B is essential for healthy digestion, among other benefits.
- Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for cell health, restoration, and healing.
- Iron is necessary for good blood oxygenation.
- Calcium is a mineral needed for strong bones and plumage.
- Potassium is a mineral good for muscle development and function.
- Concentrated fructose sugars provide energy for the birds.
Why is processed sugar terrible for birds, but the sugar in grapes is good for them? Processed sugar is a form of sugar called sucrose, which is bad for birds and other animals.
The natural sugar found in grapes and other fruit is fructose, a healthy source of energy for birds.
When Are Raisins Bad For Birds?
Raisins can be healthy for birds, but there are occasions where the opposite is true.
Avoid Processed Sugars
Raisins coated with processed sugar, as in sucrose sugar, should not be offered to birds. This form of sugar is not a healthy source of energy.
Avoid Chocolate-covered Raisins
Chocolate-covered raisins are no good for birds either. Like dogs, birds react badly to chocolate. The caffeine and theobromine naturally found in chocolate are toxic for these animals, and even a small among can result in death.
Avoid The Christmas Cakes
Never feed raisins to birds from your fruit mince pie, Christmas cake, or fruitcake. The raisins in these confectionaries are often soaked in alcohol, which can prove toxic to birds.
Avoid The Salt
Another no-no when feeding raisins to birds is to provide them with raisins that have salt on them. Never pick raisins from a packet of peanuts and raisins to feed your birds. The peanuts are often salted, and the salt can transfer to the raisins in the package.
Even small amounts of salty raisins can be highly toxic to birds and negatively affect their health, even resulting in the bird’s death.
What Birds Eat Raisins?
Many bird species will eat raisins and view them as a favored treat when included in their food.
Many bird species have a varied diet, including fruits, seeds, and insects.
The following backyard birds enjoy raisins when offered at your bird feeder.
- Song Thrushes
- Cedar Waxwing
- Mocking birds
Most pet birds, like parrots and parakeets, will enjoy the occasional raisin treat. Still, you should offer them raisins sparingly to prevent unhealthy weight gain.
How To Prepare Raisins For Birds
If the raisins are soft, most birds can manage to eat the whole raisins. Smaller birds may struggle with larger raisins and sultanas but will manage smaller currents more easily.
Another way to make raisins accessible to smaller birds is to chop them up into smaller pieces that the birds can swallow whole. You can do this by chopping them with a sharp knife or blitzing them once or twice in a food processor until they are the correct size.
The smaller pieces can be given as is or added to your favorite birdseed mix.
Another option is to soak the raisins in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes to rehydrate them. This process softens the dried fruit and makes it easier for the bird to peck it into smaller pieces. The soaking treatment is also helpful if the raisins are particularly dried out and hard.
You can also add chopped raisins to homemade suet cake. Mix them into the melted suet before they cool and set. This process will give your bird feeder a delicious fruity treat and attract different birds.
Whichever way you offer raisins, ensure you only leave out a small quantity at a time and remove any uneaten food afterward, as it can attract pests.
So, Can Birds Eat Raisins?
Raisins are healthy for birds and provide a nutritious, tasty snack. Raisins can also be included with other food daily in your bird feeder to provide a balanced diet for wild birds.
Domesticated birds can also eat raisins, but this should be an occasional treat rather than part of their diet to avoid weight gain.
If you have any experience feeding raisins and other dried fruit to birds, let us know! We would like to hear from you about your experiences that we can share with our readers. Learning is a shared experience!
Check our other blog posts for more information about birds and nature. Also, remember to share this article with your friends, family, and fellow bird lovers!