Can Birds Eat Cheetos? Everything You Need To Know

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If you have beloved pet birds or want to do all you can for the birds in your garden, you may be tempted to give them different human foods. If you enjoy a snack, you might wonder if can birds eat Cheetos too.

Really, while birds will often snap these and other unhealthy snacks up if offered, you should not feed junk food like this to birds. The odd one here and there likely won’t do too much harm, but definitely don’t make it a regular thing.

What Are Cheetos?

Cheetos are a brand of crunchy corn puff snack made by Frito-Lay. They were invented in 1948. These are one of the top-selling brands of cheese puff-like snacks in the US.

From the original type, the range has now expanded to include 21 different options for the consumer.

Cheetos are manufactured by blending corn and water. The germ of the corn is removed to prevent spoiling; the germless corn is then ground into cornmeal.

Because cornmeal lacks the nutrients the germs provide, it is enriched by adding nutrients to increase its nutritional value.

The mixture is heated under pressure and then extruded through a die. The texture of the snack is formed as a result of contact with hot air, causing steam in the mixture to expand and create its characteristic texture.

After oven-drying or frying, the product is tumbled with the desired flavor components (the original Crunchy Cheetos are fried).

Really, when you think about what these really are and the ingredients they contain, they are clearly not a healthy choice for people. And they are certainly not a healthy snack for birds.

Why Is Cheetos Bad for Birds?

Cheetos have little nutritional value for people or birds. But over and above the things that make this an unhealthy snack for people, there are also other ingredients in this junk food that also pose a threat to birds in particular.

High Salt Content

One of the reasons it is a very bad idea to feed Cheetos to birds is that they contain a high salt level. High salt content is not great for us either, of course. But salt is particularly problematic for birds since they cannot metabolize it properly.

Dairy Content

The real cheese in Cheetos is also potentially a problem. Dairy products are not ideal for birds because a bird’s digestive system is not designed to deal with dairy, so these creatures cannot cope with this properly.

Artificial Colors and Flavors

When feeding birds, it is also important to look for artificial colors and flavors. Cheetos can contain a range of these, which may pose a threat to our feathered friends.

Like us, birds don’t always make the best choices regarding what they eat. If you offer some Cheetos or another unhealthy snack, they will likely often gobble them down eagerly.

But when birds are given unhealthy junk food, they can get sick, just like we can, from the poor diet.

And filling up on junk food, birds might not necessarily eat the other healthy foods they need to eat to remain in optimal health.

There are also ethical considerations to think about when you are thinking about what you buy – to feed the birds as well as to feed yourself.

Think about the true costs of everything you buy and consider how plastic-packaged, highly processed junk foods might not be the best choices from green and sustainable standpoint.

If you want to do the right thing for birds in your area and around the world, as well as safeguard people and other wildlife and ecosystems, you should think very carefully about what you buy.

Instead of supermarket shopping, consider growing your own whenever possible and supporting local producers.

There are plenty of healthy natural snacks for yourself and the birds that you can buy locally, make at home, and even grow in your garden.

So always consider these things before buying and feeding unhealthy junk food to your family and the birds. The most common foods are Nutritious food that you can feed your birds.

Apple seeds, fruit pits, apple slices, and corn chips are examples of healthy foods that most bird owners use.

Remember, even planting a few plants in your garden could provide much more for birds than buying things from a large supermarket store.

You can save money and our planet, and growing your own, even in a small way, is much easier than you might think.

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Elizabeth Waddington

Elizabeth Waddington is a conservation, rewilding, organic gardening and sustainability specialist who loves everything nature-related. She loves helping others around the world connect with the wildlife and wonders around them. When not creating wildlife-wise, eco-friendly designs, or writing about the topics that inspire her, she loves spending time watching the birds on and around her own rural property, or heading out on camping or hiking adventures to spot birds and other wildlife in a range of habitats.