Can birds eat salted peanuts? What danger if any does it pose?

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Can birds eat salted peanuts

Most bird lovers know that some bird species enjoy eating peanuts, which offer loads of nutritional benefits for the birds. However, many people are unsure what types of peanuts are suitable for birds to eat and which are not. Peanuts are often salted to make them tastier for people, but can birds eat salted peanuts too?

Can birds eat salted peanuts?

No, birds should not eat salted peanuts. The high salt content can overload the birds’ kidneys, leading to renal failure and death. Birds should never eat salted, flavored, dry-roasted, or sugar-coated peanuts. Raw and unsalted peanuts are the best and only options to feed birds.

Peanuts can be beneficial for birds and are a good source of vitamins and minerals that contribute to birds’ overall health, but it is essential to know what form of peanuts offer these benefits and which versions will do more harm than good.

From our research on the topic, we have found some helpful information about why salted peanuts are bad for birds and ways of feeding them peanuts that avoid health complications and provide them with a nutritious snack.

Why Are Salted Peanuts bad For Birds?

As bird lovers, we must be careful about what food we offer to wild and pet birds to ensure we give them the best nutrition possible.

Salted peanuts are bad for birds and are a prime example of killing birds with kindness since the salt on the peanuts can reach toxic levels for birds.

All living creatures need some salt to maintain healthy cellular function and other body processes, but too much salt can be harmful.

Most birds receive sufficient salt levels in their natural diet and do not need additional salt to supplement their needs. Processed salt added to food can push the salt levels in their tiny bodies to dangerously toxic levels.

Bird kidneys operate differently than people, making high salt levels potentially deadly to birds.

Birds require more fluid to get rid of excess salts, which means birds can dehydrate rapidly, resulting in death.

If the salt levels are too high, their kidneys can also become overwhelmed and stop working, which causes the birds to die.

Are Roasted Peanuts Good For Birds?

Peanuts are generally roasted for the benefit of people to enhance the flavor, but roasting peanuts is not beneficial when feeding birds.

It is not the roasting of the peanuts that make them toxic for birds, but the method of roasting that presents the danger. 

Roasted peanuts can have salt or oil added to enhance the flavor, which is also unhealthy for birds.

The only roasted peanuts safe for birds are the ones roasted with no oil or salt.

These are hard to find, so it is best to avoid taking the risk and keeping roasted peanuts of any sort out of your bird feeder.

What Type Of Peanuts Are Good For Birds?

You may think that birds instinctively know which peanuts are good for them to eat and that too much salt can harm their health, but that is not the case.

Birds love peanuts and will go for salty, sweet, and oily peanuts if given a chance because they have the most flavor, making them more desirable.

This behavior will occur time and time again if humans don’t offer the right kind of peanuts for birds to eat.

The best peanuts to feed to your birds are:

  • Raw peanuts
  • Unroasted peanuts
  • Unsalted peanuts
  • Unflavored peanuts (Not candy coated or sugar-coated)

Most packaging will indicate if the peanuts have been prepared with salt or other flavorings. Peanuts bought from pet stores will not be flavored or roasted since these peanuts are specialty wild bird peanuts packaged for birds rather than human consumption.

You will often find whole peanuts at pet stores which are great for feeding larger birds.

What Is The Best Way To Feed Peanuts To Birds?

Birds of all sizes will enjoy eating peanuts, but how they are offered will determine which birds will eat them.

Birds like parrots have the skill to hold whole, unshelled peanuts and can crack the shells open with their powerful beaks.

Parrots seem to love shelled peanuts not only for the tasty nuts inside but appear to derive pleasure from opening them themselves.

Other birds do not have the same skill as parrots and may struggle to open the peanuts in the shell, which is usually the case when feeding peanuts to wild backyard birds.

Large backyard birds such as Blue Jays and Woodpeckers can eat whole peanuts, but smaller birds may struggle to eat whole peanuts. In this case, you may need to offer peanut hearts or pieces for smaller birds to eat.

Birds eat peanuts in any way they can, but it is best to use bird feeders to avoid other animals from getting to them.

Larger birds prefer platform feeders, and smaller birds can use small or large hoppers and special peanuts feeders, but be sure to keep an eye out for squirrels as they love peanuts too!


We love to buy shelled peanuts in bulk from the pet store and prepare the peanuts ourselves. We keep some whole peanuts for our larger backyard birds and make crushed peanuts for smaller birds to enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can birds eat salted peanuts in the shell?

No, birds can not eat salted peanuts in the shell because it has to remove the shell to reach the edible part of the peanut. Birds will remove the salty shell with their beaks and inadvertently ingest salt.

Can birds eat washed salted peanuts?

No, washing salted peanuts does not entirely remove the salt, and can still make its way into a bird’s internal organs.

Can birds eat roasted salted peanuts?

No, birds should not eat salted peanuts in any form. Salt is toxic to birds; too high salt levels can cause their kidneys to fail, leading to death.

What kind of peanuts are safe for birds?

The only peanuts safe for birds to eat are raw, unsalted, unflavored peanuts. It is best to avoid roasted or salted peanuts as these contain too much salt and can be toxic to birds. It would be best to avoid sugar-coated or candy-coated peanuts as these are neither healthy for birds.

So, can birds eat salted peanuts?

Salted peanuts are bad for birds and can lead to life-threatening health conditions in pet and wild birds.

Any salted, roasted, or sugar-coated peanuts should never be given to birds, even in small amounts. Birds have small bodies and internal organs that can quickly succumb to increased salt intake.

The only peanuts that birds should eat are unsalted, unflavored, raw peanuts.

If you have any experience feeding peanuts to pet birds or wild birds, get in touch with us! We would love to hear from you about your experiences that we can share with our readers. Learning is a shared experience after all.

Remember to 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.

Photo of author
When I was going through a really tough time in my life, I began watching birds as a way to find peace during the most stressful parts of my day. Now I am an enthusiastic birdwatcher and love feeding the wild birds in my backyard. It's so peaceful to be surrounded by nature and watch these beautiful creatures flit around.

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