Cauliflower is everywhere these days!
In addition to being served as a vegetable dish or part of a salad, it can be mashed and processed in recipes for cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower mac and cheese, cauliflower soup, and even cauliflower chocolate cake!
But what about birds? Can birds eat cauliflower? Is it okay to chop up fresh, raw cauliflower and offer it to the birds in your backyard as a special treat? What if you tried a cauliflower-based recipe and had too much or didn’t like it very much – could you put that out for the birds, too?
Cauliflower is a safe, healthy food for birds to eat. There are very few precautions you need to take when giving cauliflower to wild birds.
Why Is Cauliflower So Popular Right Now?
Cauliflower’s rise in popularity can be at least partially attributed to the low-carb Keto craze.
There are always going to be people experimenting with low-carb diets, and now that they know about cauliflower as a low-carb alternative to other ingredients, cauliflower probably isn’t going away anytime soon.
Plus, people who have stopped eating low-carb may have found that they really enjoy cauliflower for its many different uses!
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a healthy snack for people and birds alike.
A cup of chopped raw cauliflower contains:
- Only 27 calories
- 2g of protein
- 0.3g of fat
- 5g of carbs (2.1g of fiber and 2g of sugar)
- 24mg of calcium (77% of a person’s daily recommended amount of calcium)
- 16mg of magnesium
- 47mg of phosphorus
- 320mg of potassium
- 51.6mg of Vitamin C
- 16.6mcg of Vitamin K (20% of a person’s daily recommended amount of Vitamin K)
- 0.197mcg of Vitamin B6
- 61mcg of folate
With this many vitamins and minerals, it’s no wonder that cauliflower is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables around!
Cauliflower may help with digestion, memory, reduction of cancer risk, circulation, and bone strength.
Do Birds Need Vitamins and Minerals?
Vitamins and minerals are an important part of a bird’s diet, just like they are important for humans.
Birds need a healthy blend of vitamins and minerals to keep their organs, skin, feathers, and beaks healthy.
Even hummingbirds, which are known for consuming large amounts of sugar in the form of nectar, still need to eat lots of insects to get enough protein in their diets.
Cauliflower is a great way to provide wild birds with extra nutrients!
How To Prepare Cauliflower for Birds
There are a number of ways you can prep cauliflower for your backyard birds.
Perhaps the easiest way is to just throw a head of cauliflower into the yard. Smaller birds may be able to nibble off small pieces, and larger birds like corvids can break it apart with their beaks.
This can end up being pretty wasteful, though! The cauliflower may not get eaten, which leaves behind a pretty appetizing feast for messy wildlife like raccoons and opossums. They may be cute, but if they find that your yard is great for midnight snacks, you’ll have trouble getting rid of them!
A better solution is to chop the cauliflower into small pieces.
Not only will this be easier for small songbirds to access and enjoy, but it will also prevent you from putting out too much at once!
You can scatter cauliflower on the ground or put it on a birdfeeder tray. Offer just a little bit at a time to give the birds a chance to discover what you’ve given them, and to make sure that the birds in your neighborhood are actually interested in cauliflower.
Can Birds Eat Cooked Cauliflower?
Cooked cauliflower is totally safe for birds, but that information comes with an important caveat!
Cauliflower may be safe, but not every recipe with cauliflower is safe.
The Spruce lists 10 categories of foods that are bad for wild birds:
- Spoiled seed
- Old nectar
- Pesticides (which can be found on rinds and peels)
- Potato chips
- Raw meat
- Salt (a small amount is fine, but large amounts of salt are dangerous)
If your cauliflower is cooked with any of these ingredients, it’s best not to give these leftovers to birds, but instead put them in the trash.
FAQs About Providing Cauliflower to Backyard Birds
Let’s take a look at the common questions people have about how to feed cauliflower to backyard birds!
What Parts of the Cauliflower Can Birds Eat?
A head of cauliflower is made of florets that are on top of a stem. A large central stem supports all of the smaller stems. Each head grows in the center of cauliflower leaves, which are curly, green, and edible.
Every single part of the cauliflower is safe for birds! They can eat the florets, stems, leaves, and all!
How Much and How Often Should Birds Eat Cauliflower?
Wild birds can eat cauliflower whenever you give it to them. They will not eat too much of it on their own because birds are quite good at foraging for a variety of foods that give them all the nutrition they need.
Parrots and other pet birds should only receive cauliflower as a supplement to their main diet. 60% of a pet bird’s diet should come from specially formulated pet bird food, and the remaining 40% can come from fresh foods like cauliflower.
Can Birds Eat Grilled Cauliflower?
Grilled cauliflower contains just as many health benefits as fresh cauliflower.
Birds may or may not enjoy grilled cauliflower, but there is no harm in offering it to them, as long as you’re offering fresh food that hasn’t spoiled or molded. If you added a lot of salt to the cauliflower before grilling it, ditch it instead of giving it to the birds.
Can Baby Birds Eat Cauliflower?
Nestlings only eat what their parents provide to them, and bird parents know exactly what to give and what not to give to their babies.
As soon as they are old enough to be out of the nest and foraging with adult birds, juvenile birds can eat whatever the adults eat. Cauliflower is perfectly safe for young birds.
The Final Word on Giving Cauliflower to Wild Birds
It is really hard to hurt your backyard birds by giving them cauliflower! Unless you’re giving it to them with tons of added salt, or after it has gone moldy, it’s a safe addition to their diet.
Birders who offer a variety of foods to their backyard birds, instead of the same thing over and over, are often rewarded with a variety of bird visitors, too!
It could be that the birds in your area are relatively disinterested in cauliflower, but there is absolutely no risk in giving it a try! Maybe you’ll end up seeing some new visitors thanks to changing things up a bit at your feeders!