Updated at: 18-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

You’d have to be out of your mind to assume that offering wild birds even a single slice of bread every day would have any positive effect on their health.

If given the opportunity, birds can enjoy a slice of bread without any negative effects on their health. Since bread is mainly used as a filler, feeding it only to birds might be unhealthy, as the birds will get very few of the nutrients they need. Bread of any kind can make wild birds sick because it lacks essential nutrients like vitamins and protein.

Therefore, birds won’t get very far by feasting on bread, as it doesn’t provide them with much in the way of nourishment.

Bread can be fatal to birds because it lacks the protein and lipids they require to stay healthy. Bread is a filler that might cause birds to become malnourished, therefore it is best avoided if you want to keep the birds in your yard.

Of course, birds can safely consume bread, but it only counts as one type of food they need to eat.

Wild bird seeds, peanuts, dried fruits, fatty suet, and insects should make up the bulk of the birds’ diet, much as they would in the wild.

Since only unattractive birds like sparrows, grackles, pigeons, and a few others are known to consume bread, you might not go wrong by offering it to the birds you want to attract.

Species that do well on a diet of French fries, fast food, and garbage scraps might also eat bread, however you should still avoid giving them only bread.

You can prevent the bread from expanding within their stomachs if you provide it to them after it has been soaked in water to simulate digestion.

During the nesting season, you shouldn’t give birds any bread because it can make the chicks sick and dried pieces of bread can cause suffocation.

Bread crumbs, rather than whole slices of bread, can be fed to birds as long as a variety of other foods, such as seeds, crushed peanuts, insects, or dried fruits, are also included in the mix.

Birds CAN eat bread

Do Birds Eat Bread

Offering bread to the birds in your yard will attract the less desirable species, with sparrows being the most common of these.

While large amounts of bread are not good for the health of birds, it is possible to provide it to common backyard birds in small amounts.

Bread is better than no food, but if you have access to other, healthier options in the kitchen, you should skip the bread.

Providing birds with occasional pieces of bread won’t be a problem because birds can consume it with minimal health problems if they are in tiny amounts.

Bread is not a balanced diet for wild birds, and they will suffer if they are given simply bread to eat instead of other foods like wild bird seeds, peanuts, suet, or mealworms.

Ignoring the obvious discomfort in their tummies from a week’s worth of bread consumption is unlikely to enhance their health.

Backyard birds have been eating bread for decades without any major problems, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still suffering.

Bread offers no goodness

Unfortunately, there aren’t many nutritional benefits to providing bread to the typical backyard birds that we feed every day.

Bread is considered a filler since it has no nutritional value but makes the birds appear to have eaten a lot.

Bread wouldn’t provide the birds with the necessary fiber or vitamins they require every day, so feeding it to them would be cruel.

Seeds and nuts in bird feeders, ripe berries, and ground-level insects are all good sources of nutrition for the birds that visit our yards.

No amount of bread will provide any benefits to the birds, thus there’s no point in feeding them any.

It’s true that you can provide birds with bread crumbs mixed with seeds, but the birds are more likely to consume the bread than the seeds.

Filler only, no nutritional benefits

Do Birds Eat Bread (2)

Children can often be seen at the duck pond feeding the ducks bread, despite the fact that the ducks would benefit more from a diet of wild bird seeds.

Bread is merely a filler for wild birds that can’t get enough of the high-quality food they need from bird feeders or the wild.

Bread has no nutritional problems for humans unless they have Celiac disease, but for birds, it’s a different story.

Providing birds with bread is a certain way to make sure they don’t go hungry and should provide them enough energy to last through the night. However, that’s it; birds, especially the same ones over and over again, should not be allowed to continue eating bread or wheat goods.

While the birds in our backyards or the ducks in the pond may be fed largely bread by their human caretakers, they are able to thrive because they are still consuming the same foods they would find in the wild.

It’s possible that birds are surviving solely because they are stealing food from other feeders, thus offsetting the poisonous ingredients.

So bear in mind that bread is just a filler for birds; it helps them get through the day without any genuine, beneficial nutrition but it does keep them satisfied.

Seeded bread over white

Sliced bread can be fed to wild birds, although it’s best to use wholemeal bread instead of the more usual white bread.

You undoubtedly have white bread sliced and ready as I write this; nevertheless, you should limit yourself to just one slice each day and instead go for seeded bread, which has more of the nutrients you need.

The crust of a seeded, whole-grain loaf is where most of the seeds are located, rather than the bread itself.

These seeds are safe for birds to eat since they provide essential nutrients without any harmful additives like salt.

Choose bread with a seeded crust, and if the inside of the loaf has seeds, cut the piece in half so you have a fighting chance of taking them all out.

Don’t bother feeding birds plain white bread; it has little nutritional benefit. Only seeded wholemeal bread with a thick crust can be considered healthy.

Bread slice as dinner plate

Do Birds Eat Bread (3)

The sparrow is seen picking at a row of bread crumbs on the wall, but it is quite doubtful that it will finish all of them in one sitting.

In fact, you’ll learn that most backyard birds aren’t interested in eating bread unless they’re desperately hungry.

That way, you can simply use a slice of bread as a plate for dinner. This can be either a seeded wholemeal or plain white slice of bread.

What this means is not only providing additional, more important bird food on top of the piece of bread, but also maintaining a clean surface in your yard or on top of your platform bird feeder.

For the birds, you can start with a thick layer of peanut butter and then add in the more substantial, but still inadequate, actual bird food.

Think about providing bird seeds and broken peanuts on top of the peanut butter.

Mealworms are another option that can be used effectively.

Instead of throwing out bread, use it as a plate to keep things tidy while also providing birds with their preferred meal or food that is at least nutritionally close to what they would consume in the wild.

Occasional slice of bread only

I only ask that you provide a slice of bread to the birds once a day, or every other day, even if you use a slice of bread as a dish to keep things neat.

Do not get into the routine of exclusively giving your birds bread, as doing so will lead to a protracted illness for any birds who develop this habit.

Reduce your bread consumption to once a day, whether it’s white or brown. However, if you really want to make a change, don’t eat any bread at all.

You may buy a bag of bird seeds or peanuts for very little money and have enough to last a month if you’re careful with it.

It’s preferable to provide a small amount of high-quality bird food every day rather than a large amount of stale bread or

For birds, pastry can be a nutritious alternative to table scraps since it provides the fat they require without simply acting as filler.

Limit yourself to a slice of seeded whole grain bread once in a while and absolutely no white bread.

Few birds eat bread

You’d be hard-pressed to find a wild bird that would accept your generous offer of bread, and the ones who would be willing to do so would likely be less attractive than this Crow.

Now that you’ve decided to feed birds bread, presumably just a little at a time, the outcome, if any, may not be what you had in mind.

It’s possible that you may lure in pest birds like pigeons, sparrows, and starlings instead of desirable species like bluebirds, robins, and titmic

Sparrows, Common Grackles, Pigeons, and (if you’re lucky) Crows are the most common species of birds that will eat bread.

Do you really want to attract these species to your yard by putting out bread when you might be helping more common, friendly, or non-invasive birds by providing them with actual bird feed instead?

As you might expect, very few birds actually eat bread, thus this could be a waste of time.

Additionally, if bread is left out in the open for more than a day, it will deteriorate and attract pests like rats.

To attract birds for the sole purpose of feeding them empty fillers, bread can be dropped over the ground or placed high up.


If you take precautions, such only giving your bird a slice of bread once a day or once every other day, you won’t have to worry about any health problems.

For the benefit of the feathered residents of your yard, provide them with a year-round supply of seed, peanuts, suet, and, of course, insects in the form of dried mealworms.

Bread isn’t really beneficial to the birds in our backyard because it mostly just serves as filler. Birds may think they’ve had a fantastic meal, but in reality they may be starving to death since they haven’t ingested anything of nutritional worth.

All breads can be fed to birds, but those with seeds are the best option.

Don’t expect birds to eat bread when other, more nutritious options are available and readily accepted by many backyard visitors.

However, very few birds actually consume bread, so your efforts may be fruitless.

To prevent the bread from expanding in the birds’ stomachs, it should be given to them in the form of rolled-up, firm ball pieces.

Avoid giving bread to birds in the spring and summer to prevent the young from becoming dependent on it for food.

Bread is safe for wild birds to eat, however only a single piece per day is recommended.

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