How many of you enjoy eating raisins? These tiny, dark dried fruits are like nothing but tiny bites of heaven. They’re sweet, nutritious, and mix well with a variety of food items like chocolates, corn flakes, cookies, cakes, and so on. But are these treats healthy for birds?
Can birds eat raisins? Yes, birds can eat resins. Many wild birds like bluebirds, grosbeaks, and waxwings are all seen enjoying raisins. These dried fruits offer various health benefits to birds. However, you must feed birds raisins in moderation. Otherwise, it will raise their blood sugar levels and make them obese. If you have nestlings that you want to feed, giving them raisins is a bad idea.
In this article, I will attempt to answer all the doubts or queries you might have about feeding raisins to both pet birds and wild birds. Additionally, I will also discuss the nutritional richness of these dried fruits.
Do birds enjoy eating raisins?
If you’re a pet parent to a bird, learning about their food preferences, likes, and dislikes is not a difficult job. It is because birds like parakeets, budgies, chickens, and ducks have lived alongside humans as their pets for a long time. And during this time, we have learned almost everything about their feeding habits and preferences.
However, when it comes to feeding the wild birds in your yard, the job gets much more difficult. Wild birds are generally elusive and prefer to dwell in regions with little human interruption. Therefore, our knowledge about their lifestyle, including the diet, is very limited.
And while purchasing bird seed mixes for them is not problematic at all, when you’re feeding them something from your own kitchen, you’re bound to wonder if they would like eating it.
So, do these birds enjoy eating raisins? The answer to your question is yes. Many birders have claimed that wild birds like mockingbirds, orioles, waxwings, bluebirds, and grosbeaks often enjoy munching on both grapes and raisins alike.
Therefore, if you’re planning to put out raisins in your bird feeders, go ahead by all means. Your experiment has great chances of success.
What is the nutritional value of raisins?
We’ve already established that if you put out raisins in your feeder, it is bound to attract all the wild frugivore birds into your yard. But how will you find out whether these dried fruits will benefit their health or not? Well, don’t worry; I’ve got that covered for you.
As you must already know, raisins are nothing but a dried version of grapes. This means that they contain all the diverse nutrients found in grapes, only in smaller quantities. And since birds are tiny creatures, these little quantities can make a major contribution to their health.
Before we discuss the benefits that your feathered friends can gain from eating raisins, let’s first look at the nutritional composition of these dried fruits:
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.106 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.125 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.766 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.095 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.017 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||5 mcg|
|Vitamin C||2.3 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin K||3.5 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||50 mg|
|Iron, Fe||1.88 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||7 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.318 gm|
|Phosphorus, P||101 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.229 mg|
|Selenium, Se||00.6 mcg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.22 mg|
|Sodium, Na||11 mg|
|Potassium, K||749 mg|
|Dietary fibers||3.7 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
The benefit of B-complex vitamins
As you can see for yourself in the table, raisins contain a bunch of B-complex vitamins, such as folates, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. All these vitamins have individual roles to play, but together, they work to promote birds’ healthy blood flow, enhance their appetite, and improve the production of red and white blood cells.
High levels of Potassium
100 grams of raisins contain about 700 milligrams of potassium, an amount that is quite high for the little birdies. This mineral can help your birds maintain their blood sugar levels and protect them from the possibility of stroke.
In moderation, natural sugar is a great idea
You might have often heard that sugar is a big no-no for all animals and birds. However, the fact that most people are unaware of is, natural sugar is also a great energy source for most birds.
Take the hummers, for instance. These little birdies are primarily nectarivore for a good reason. The sugar present in nectar provides them with the energy they need to stay aerial most of the time.
And since the sugar present in raisins is also natural, these little treats can give the birds bursts of energy.
Carbs and protein: an added bonus
As the table indicates, raisins contain macronutrients like carbs and proteins in large amounts. While carbs are an energy source for birds, protein keeps their feathers and bill healthy.
In conclusion, we can all agree that raisins are not only tasty but also healthy treats for both wild and pet birds alike. The next time you go looking for snack ideas for birds, pick these dried fruits.
Raisins are even more beneficial for wild birds during winters when they have limited food sources and can benefit from a nutrient-dense treat.
Risks involved with feeding raisins to birds
The root of all problems that the birds could face from eating raisins lies in their overconsumption. In moderate amounts, raisins will never impact their health negatively.
However, when you’re feeding the birds more raisins than you should, they will end up paying the price for it.
We learned how small amounts of natural sugar are a great energy booster for all birds in the last section. But do you know what happens when they eat sugar-rich foods like raisins in excess? First and foremost, the extra sugar will start getting deposited in their body as fats, making them gain weight.
And while weight gain might not seem so problematic for pet birds in the beginning, to the wild birds, it could risk their survival. Birds look after themselves using their agility. Without it, they will become easy and plump targets for their predators.
And even if predators are out of the picture, obesity will make their hearts weaker, shortening their lifespan and making them vulnerable to cardiac arrest. And all this because you wanted to treat these birds generously. Therefore, the next time you want to over-indulge the birds in your yard, think twice.
Does raisin pose a choking threat for birds?
Raisins are tiny dried fruits that contain no pits or seeds, which is why no birder would expect them to pose a choking threat for birds. However, after being dried, these fruits can get quite tough when stored in an airtight container for a long period.
But can the raisins potentially create a choking threat for wild birds? Well, that depends on the kind of birds that frequent your feeder. In the case of the larger birds, raisins are harmless.
However, if smaller birds like hummers and wrens feed on your feeder, they could face trouble in pushing raisins down their throat.
So, if you notice smaller birds visiting your feeders frequently, here’s something you can do. You can soak the raisins in water overnight. And if you’re in a hurry, you can also soak them in warm water for 10-15 minutes. Your raisins are now softer and, therefore, easier for the birds to peck on and swallow.
Is it okay to feed raisins to nestlings?
If a bird has laid eggs in your birdbox or a different location on your property, you might feel an urge to help raise their babies. However, you must keep in mind that the first step to right parenting lies in understanding the nestlings’ needs.
Nestlings need protein-rich foods (preferably animal protein) that support their healthy growth and development when they’re growing up. Furthermore, their fragile digestive tracts are not strong enough to digest sugar-rich foods at this point.
Lastly, raisins can also get stuck within their throats and cause them to choke. Therefore, for the nestlings, raisins are undisputedly a bad idea.
Grapes vs. raisins: which one is better for birds?
Individually, both grapes and raisins are healthy treats for the birds. However, when compared, grapes will always be a better choice than raisins, not only for birds but also for us. Wondering why? Let me explain.
First, grapes are fresh fruits and, therefore, more natural to the birds’ diet than raisins. The sugar concentration of grapes is also much lower than that of raisins, and we’ve already established how too much sugar could poison the birds.
Lastly, grapes are soft, supple, and contain water, all of which are missing in the raisins. Therefore, if you have a chance at feeding your birds grapes, always go for the fresh version and not the dried ones. This is true for all the other fruits as well.
Conclusion: Can birds eat raisins?
With this, we come to the end of this article. Let’s quickly revise everything we’ve learned today. We started by talking about how all frugivore birds, both pet and wild, are drawn to sweet foods and enjoy eating raisins.
We also discussed how raisins are nutrient-dense dried fruits and can benefit the health of your feathered friends greatly if consumed in moderation. However, if they’re eating too many raisins or too often, it can have an adverse effect on their health, too.