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Can Budgies Eat Popcorn? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Your budgie is your buddy. This little bird counts on you for safety, food, and care. Wild budgies take care of themselves and have a well-developed sense of what’s dangerous for them to eat. Your domestic bird, however, relies on you to make that decision. While they have their favorites, most birds aren’t that picky when it comes to food. If you have a tame and friendly budgie, you’ve probably experienced their curiosity when you’re eating something. They seem to always want to know what you have and if they can have some too. Many human snacks aren’t safe for budgies or any other birds to eat, though. But what about popcorn? It seems harmless enough, and since birds can eat corn, is it safe to give popcorn to your budgie?

Yes! Budgies can eat popcorn. There are a few things to remember, though. Popcorn isn’t always healthy for them. Let’s find out the reasons and what you can do to make sure this snack is safe for your budgie.

divider-birdsDo Budgies Like Popcorn?

Budgies enjoy various foods, and popcorn is one of them. Sampling different foods is interesting to these birds, and they like to try just about anything. Most budgies like to play with popcorn because of its fun texture. They’ll chew on it a little but seem more interested in the shape of it. Other birds can’t get enough of it and eat it right away. No matter how your budgie prefers it, popcorn is a safe treat.

Is Popcorn Safe for Budgies?

Yes, but moderation is best when it comes to snacks for budgies. These small birds require the right nutrition to keep them healthy, and most of their illnesses come from an improper diet. When you eat popcorn, it might be movie theater quality, full of butter and salt. But this can be dangerous for your budgie. Butter and salt can make them sick. Microwave popcorn is also loaded with artificial ingredients and sodium. Any bagged popcorn that you buy will usually include ingredients that are safe for people but not birds.

The safest way to feed popcorn to your budgie is to pop it yourself in an air popper. By popping the kernels without oil or butter, you’re keeping it free from anything harmful. Your budgie can then safely munch away.

Health Issues

Remember that for a little budgie, they can’t process food the same way that a human can. The amount of salt and butter in one popped kernel of popcorn is excessive for a budgie. You might think that giving them a little bit can’t hurt them, but a little bit to us is a large amount for their systems. It’s dangerous for birds to have too much salt. Excessive salt in birds can throw their electrolytes and fluids out of balance and lead to dehydration. Dehydration can lead to kidney failure and eventually, death. This can all happen quickly because the bird’s body is so small. It doesn’t take long for this to be an emergency for your budgie.

Yellow Budgie
Image: Needpix

Popped or Not

Unpopped kernels are non-toxic to birds, but they’re not easy to chew. There’s also a danger of small birds choking on them if they try to swallow a piece that’s too big. To avoid any potential risks, only offer popped popcorn to your bird. Popcorn from an air popper, free from butter and salt and anything else added, is best. If you do decide to feed unpopped kernels to your bird, soak them in water first for 10 minutes to soften them and make them easier for your bird to chew and swallow.

Fancy Popcorn

Just as butter and salt aren’t good for your budgie, neither is anything else that coats this crunchy treat. Gourmet popcorn is popular, with many different flavor options. These ingredients are artificial and usually contain food coloring. Budgies shouldn’t have anything like this, so gourmet popcorn is also not something to offer them. Even if it’s not coated in salt and butter, it’s still covered in something that can potentially make them sick.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Keep Your Budgie Healthy

When you’re hanging out with your budgie, it’s tempting to offer them whatever you think that they might like. Budgies, being curious and happy to try new things, will usually happily accept. Pet budgies don’t fly as much as wild budgies, so they don’t burn off as many calories during the day. Even leaving the cage to play doesn’t give them the same amount of exercise that they’d get in their natural environment, so their dietary needs differ. A pet budgie requires fewer calories. It’s easy to give your bird all the food and treats that they want, but this can make them gain weight without you noticing. Nutritious, healthy food is the best way to guarantee that they get all the vitamins and minerals that they need without packing on extra weight. Keep the treats to a minimum and make sure your budgie has sufficient exercise each day.

divider-birdsFinal Thoughts

Tiny budgies are social, fun birds that love interactions with people and won’t mind eating their food either. Being mindful of what’s safe for your budgie will keep your bird healthy. Popcorn is a snack that both people and budgies can enjoy, but budgies require it popped and free from any additives. Popped, plain kernels without any butter, salt, flavorings, or coatings are the safest to feed your budgie. As with all treats, including popcorn, be sure to offer them to your bird sparingly. Budgies who remain at a healthy weight can avoid certain health problems in the future.

Featured Image Credit: Alexander Glenn, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.