Can Birds Eat Eggplant? Interesting Facts About This Plant

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If you have pet birds to feed, or want to leave leftovers out for the birds in your garden, you may wonder a lot about which foods you can safely feed your feathered friends.

Can you feed eggplant to birds, and, if so, how should you feed it? Cooked eggplant typically does not pose much of a risk to most birds.

However, there are potential issues with raw eggplant and other parts of the plant are definitely toxic and should never be fed. Even cooked eggplant is not the best for most birds and is not a particularly useful source of nutrition.

So other food options are likely to be better choices for pet or garden birds. They serve a source of vitamins including vitamin B6 which includes a well-rounded diet for your bird. 

Do Birds Eat Eggplant?

In the garden, it is unlikely that birds will take a fancy to eggplant and eat them. However, as with many garden plants, birds may occasionally take the young seedlings and rip them up out of the ground, even when they do not eat them.

This delicious vegetable is a common food for birds because of it high water content and nutritive value. The eggplant skin has beneficial vitamins such as vitamin B5 which is a health booster. 

Though eggplant is not a natural part of a bird’s diet, that does not mean that birds will not eat this food if it is provided to them. Some birds, like chickens or pet birds may well eat aubergine when it is offered.

However, there is a lot of debate about whether this is actually a food that should be offered to birds, either those you keep on your property, or wild birds who visit and share your space.

Is Eggplant Safe for Birds?

Eggplant, or aubergines, are the fruits of Solanum melongena. This plant, as you can see from the Latin name, is a Solanum – just like tomatoes, and potatoes.

These, and peppers, tomatillo, groundcherries and more are all members of the Solanaceae, or nightshade family.

These kinds of vegetables contain a variety of vitamins that has numerous health benefits including digestive health. 

Members of this family contain a toxic glycoalkaloid called Solanine, within different parts of the plants, and even in edible portions of these plants to differing degrees.

Solanine has pesticidal properties, and it is one of the plant’s natural defences. For instance, the nightshade plants has pesiticical properties that protect them from most insects. 

Due to the presence of this alkaloid we humans, and other creatures too – including birds – can be harmed if they eat too much of plant tissues that include too much of this substance.

Calculations have shown that 2 to 5 mg/kg of body weight is the likely toxic dose of glycoalkaloids like solanine in humans, with 3 to 6 mg/kg constituting the fatal dose.

A much smaller quantity of solanine, therefore, might be sufficient to cause harm to much smaller and lighter birds. It may also result to poisoning of birds. 

A healthy diet is crucial in avoiding sick birds. Distress in birds may be traumatic to bird owners. To avoid such incidences, ensure you have a steady diet that comprises of high-fat diets, healthy vegetables, and pear seeds. 

You can also incorporate apple seeds, fresh tomatoes, and dark chocolate in your bird’s diet. 

Can Birds Eat Eggplant Leaves/ Stems?

As is the case for humans, birds can be poisoned by eating the leaves and stems of the aubergine or eggplant. These parts of the plant contain more solanine than the fruits and therefore have toxicity for both people and birds.

So these parts of the plants absolutely should never be eaten, nor should they be offered to birds in our care, or visiting our gardens.

Can Birds Eat Raw Eggplant?

Eggplant

Raw eggplant has a bitter taste and so birds are unlikely to want to consume it. There are different schools of thought on whether or not it is safe to give raw eggplant to birds (like backyard chickens for example).

But most prefer not to take the risk of feeding raw eggplant to birds because of the solanine that these fruits can potentially contain.

Can Birds Eat Cooked Eggplant?

Cooked eggplant, on the other hand, is generally considered to be safe for birds when fed in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Due to its oxalic acid content, it is typically best not to feed it excessively as this can interfere with calcium uptake.

Remember, it is best to feed foods that are not a natural part of a bird’s diet only as occasional additions and not as a main source of nutrition.

Wild birds should be able to access natural food sources in your garden, and you can help them by planting the things that birds in your area might like to eat, as well as planting to create beneficial habitats for birds and other wildlife.

However, there is no harm in leaving leftovers of cooked eggplant out for garden birds to enjoy every once in a while, as long as they are not overly salty.

But make sure they do not have other ingredients in a recipe that are not good for birds (like onions, for example).

If you have pet birds, generally speaking, it will be absolutely fine to feed some eggplant to your feathered friends.

But if you are in doubt about what your particular bird can and cannot eat, it is always best to get advice from a vet or nutritional expert.

One note of caution is that eggplant is high in histamines that can cause allergic reactions, and at least one of these allergens is known to survive the cooking process.

I am not sure whether or not birds would be affected, but if in doubt, it might not be worth the risk.

Is Cooked Eggplant Good for Birds?

Raw eggplant is 92% water, 6% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and has negligible fat. It provides low amounts of essential nutrients, with only manganese having a moderate percentage.

So though it does contain some nutrients that are as beneficial for birds as they are for us, this is not the best food source for a healthy bird diet.

Plenty of other fruits and vegetables offer far more without the potential downsides or dangers or feeding this food.

How Do You Prepare Eggplant for a Bird?

As when preparing eggplant for human consumption, the numerous seeds inside an eggplant or aubergine are small, soft, and edible, along with the rest of the fruit, and do not have to be removed.

Its thin skin is also edible, and so it does not have to be peeled. However, the green part at the top, the calyx, does have to be removed when preparing an eggplant for cooking.

Steamed, stewed or roasted eggplant can be given to birds. Just avoid leaving leftovers out for garden birds that are too oily, as the oil may get onto the bird’s feathers and cause them some problems.

So deep fried type eggplant dishes are best avoided when leaving out leftovers for the birds in your garden.

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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.