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Home > Birds > Can Birds Eat Popcorn? Vet Approved Facts & Safety Tips

Can Birds Eat Popcorn? Vet Approved Facts & Safety Tips

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Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

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If you are just getting adjusted to having a bird as a pet, you might wonder about all of the little goodies you can feed them aside from their standard everyday diet. Popcorn is a pretty popular food item that might be bird-friendly. After all, it’s simply kernels of corn that have been heated to fluffy perfection.

Several popcorn selections are completely butter and salt-free. Therefore, you can halve a bowl with your little bird. However, even though popcorn can be a safe choice, they should only have it in moderation and might not be interested in eating it at all. Find out why.


Popcorn Safety for Birds: Why It Matters

When you try to decide to feed your bird anything out of their normal menu, it’s essential to make sure that it is entirely safe for digestion.

Luckily, for most birds, corn is an entirely safe item for them to eat, permitting it is simply corn with no additives–even in kernel form.

cockatiel bird eats popcorn
Image Credit: Tara Lynn and Co, Shutterstock

It Depends on the Bird

Not only does every bird have different preferences, but certain types of birds might also be more apt to eat popcorn than others. If you have a very spoiled house bird, it is likely that popcorn won’t be flavorful enough to keep its interest. If there’s something else available to them, they will likely choose it instead.

Popcorn Nutrition Facts (Plain)

Per 1 ounce

Calories: 120
Carbohydrates: 21 g
Fat: 1.2 g
Sodium: 2 mg
Fiber: 3.6 g
Protein: 3.1 g
Magnesium: 8%

While popcorn isn’t exceptionally high in nutrients, it is a convenient snack that contains fiber, vitamin, and mineral content.  But as with any addition to your bird’s diet, don’t make it a habit. You should really only feed popcorn in moderation. If you try to give your bird only popcorn, it will lead to severe nutrient deprivation—which can be very serious.

However, when fed in appropriate amounts on a schedule, popcorn is a perfectly suitable snack. If your bird is relatively small or young, you might help them by tearing it into smaller pieces.


Types of Popcorn: The Good & Bad

If you try to buy popcorn at the store, you will definitely not find a shortage of options. There is everything from butter-drenched popcorn to cheddar and jalapeño flavors.

But of course, our processed goodies aren’t very good for our birds. So, you need to consider what type of popcorn you plan to offer before you do.

Plain Popcorn

plain pop corn
Image Credit: Alex Munsell, Unsplash

You should only ever feed your birds plain popcorn. Birds cannot digest many things that we eat as humans, so it is very important not to let them eat items like salt and butter.

Seasoned Popcorn

butter flavored popcorn
Image By: 41330, Pixabay

Seasoned popcorn is not the best choice for your bird at all. It can contain many very unhealthy and dangerous substances that your bird should never eat. Butter is not in their natural diet spectrum.

Un-popped Popcorn

corn kernels
Image By: Kadisha, Pixabay

As you know, popcorn kernels are just pieces of dried corn and something readily available in nature. They are perfectly safe for your birds if they have not been processed or seasoned. You can feed birds unpopped popcorn, and they can eat it just as is.


Plain Popcorn Health Benefits

Corn, in general, isn’t known for its abundance of health benefits. In fact, corn is a carbohydrate source that does not contain much nutritional value. So, they should never be a staple in anybody’s diet. It does not contain the nutrients necessary to sustain any bird life, regardless of species.

Bird Snacks: What’s Better Than Popcorn?

There are a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains that serve as a much better treat for your birds. A lot of dietary decisions need to be made based on the species of bird that you have.

For instance, if you have an exotic bird such as a parrot or a cockatoo, you might want to feed them tropical fruits instead of corn. If you’re feeding backyard birds, you might want to get classic birdseed to give them a variety to pluck at.

Parakeet Eating Brocoli
Image By: Christine Bird, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

So now you know that your pet bird can safely eat unpopped and popped plain popcorn with no additives. Your bird might not be very interested as corn is tasteless and exciting for them sometimes.

But some birds might really take a liking to it. Remember that these foods do not have very much nutritional value and should never be substituted for the everyday bird diet.

Featured Image Credit: Georgia Vagim, Unsplash

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