When we look out at the birds in our gardens, we often want to share our own food with them. But processed foods like Cheerios cereal are not necessarily the best choice if we want to do the right thing for the birds with whom we share our space.
Birds can eat Cheerios and often love to do so. But that does not mean that they are the healthiest choice for birds (or even for us!).
Their high sugar content and salt content mean that they are not the best option if you are looking for foods to share with the birds. But the occasional tasty treat of a few likely won’t do any harm.
Is It OK To Feed Cheerios to Wild Birds?
Many people love to feed Cheerios to wild birds in their gardens.
But when you actually look at what they contain, it soon becomes clear that while they do contain healthy ingredients for birds. The sugar and salt content means that as bird food, (and human food for that matter) they are far from ideal.
You also need to look out for cocoa and artificial flavorings, which can also be dangerous for birds.
Feeding a few Cheerios to wild birds in your garden now and then is unlikely to do much harm. The birds will certainly love eating them. But as for us, such sugary foods should only ever be a very occasional treat.
Can Birds Eat Original Cheerios?
Original Cheerios from General Mills contain 100% whole grain oats, which birds will love, and which are good for them in a range of different ways.
However, these Cheerios also contain 1g of added sugar per 39g serving. So for birds just as it is for humans, this is a treat food and not an entirely healthy choice.
There is also salt listed in the ingredients for this cereal, so for birds, who cannot metabolize it, feeding these is not the best idea.
Can Birds Eat Multigrain Cheerios?
This gluten-free cereal is made with whole grain oats, whole grain corn, whole grain rice, and whole grain sorghum. All of these can be healthy for birds to eat.
However, this type of Cheerios has a shocking 8g of sugar per 39g serving and again, salt is listed in the ingredients.
Can Birds Eat Maple Cheerios?
Like original Cheerios, these are also made with whole grain oats, which birds find appealing, and which are good for them.
However, the sugar content here is even worse, with 11g of sugar per 36g serving. And this cereal also contains salt.
Can Birds Eat Honey Nut Cheerios?
Again, we have healthy whole grain oats, which are just as good for birds as they are for us.
But sadly, again, this healthy element does not make up for the appalling 12g of sugar per 37g serving! And again, salt is on the ingredients list.
Can Birds Eat Frosted Cheerios?
These are similar to the above. On the good side, we have 100% oat whole grains, but on the negative side, we have salt and 12 grams of sugar per 36g serving.
Just as it is for us, too much sugar is bad for birds. It provides them with energy, but this food will not give them many of the nutrients they need for good health.
Can Birds Eat Chocolate Cheerios?
Never. In addition to high sugar content, another thing to watch out for when thinking about feeding breakfast cereals to birds is cocoa content.
Cocoa and chocolate are always no-nos when feeding the birds. The theobromine can be fatal for birds, even in small amounts.
Can Birds Eat Other Cheerios with Flavorings?
Another thing to watch out for if you are thinking about feeding cheerios to birds is artificial flavorings, many of which can be very dangerous for birds.
Check the ingredient lists carefully before you decide to feed any cereals to birds.
Can Birds Eat Cheerios With Milk?
While it is fine to feed wild birds a few Cheerios now and then, one thing to avoid is giving Cheerios in milk. Bird’s digestive systems cannot cope with milk so this should never be left out for them.
Can You Use Cheerios for a Bird Feeder?
Remember, these cereals do have healthy whole grains, which are great for many birds. But they also contain high levels of sugar, and some salt, which makes them far less than ideal as a major food source for garden birds.
There is nothing wrong with giving birds a few dry Cheerios now and then as a treat. But you should certainly not place a whole bunch in your backyard bird feeder.
Fill your feeders with seeds and grains, and add some other feeders and foods to attract as many different birds to your garden as possible. Provide healthy, natural, and unprocessed foods that are far healthier for them.
Can I Give My Pet Birds Cheerios?
As with wild birds in your garden, pet birds should also only ever be given Cheerios as a very occasional treat. Like us, they will suffer if they have too much sugar in their diets.
Remember, the best way of all to feed the birds in your garden and supplement the diet of pet birds is to plant a wide range of native plants with delicious seeds, berries, fruits, nectar, etc. These are natural foods for birds.
You should also make sure you have a healthy garden ecosystem that attracts plenty of pollinators and insects birds like to eat in your space.
If you do feed Cheerios to backyard birds or pet birds, go for the original variety – the lowest sugar option.
Feed only small quantities at a time, so birds don’t fill up on these and neglect other things they need to eat to stay healthy. And think of them as an energy-boosting treat, rather than as a healthy staple food source.
Place a few on the ground to boost winter energy reserves for winter visitors perhaps, or string a few Cheerios up off the ground so predators are not a problem.