While we do not recommend that birds eat honey nut cheerios, ingesting them occasionally should not lead to irreparable harm. There are plenty of alternatives you can feed your bird, including original Cheerios!
What You'll Learn
You may have seen or heard that Cheerios are healthy for birds. While this may be true, this comes with a giant asterisk next to it.
Not all Cheerios are created equal. If you were curious to know if birds can eat honey nut cheerios, the answer is no. However, you should not be concerned if your bird occasionally consumes a few honey nut cheerios.
Even though honey nut cheerios are not the best choice for your bird, there are alternatives that will keep them just as happy.
Why Can’t Birds Ingest Honey Nut Cheerios?
It’s a valid question.
Honey nut cheerios are a seemingly harmless breakfast cereal that many people enjoy daily. Birds obviously have smaller digestive systems than that of a human, meaning some things are just not good for them to consume.
While honey may be healthy for humans and a popular natural ingredient, it can be highly toxic for birds to eat. When birds consume honey, it allows bacteria to grow in their digestive tract.
Just like with honey nut cheerios, if your bird eats a bit of honey, it should not be deadly, but it has the possibility of upsetting their stomachs, causing them to have symptoms such as diarrhea. Birds can lose vital nutrients and become dehydrated through diarrhea.
Honey can also produce mold, something that is very deadly to birds. Mold can cause respiratory infections, which lead to serious harm.
There are different diseases that your pet can develop as a result of mold exposure. Aspergillosis is a slow-growing fungus that can significantly damage the tissues in a bird’s body. This specific fungus can grow discreetly and will sometimes only become apparent when it has caused great harm to a bird’s organ.
Another issue with feeding your bird honey nut cheerios is the amount of sugar. Birds cannot consume a large amount of sugar. Diabetes is not just a health concern for humans. Birds such as parrots can also develop diabetes.
Other birds, such as robins and thrushes, have difficulty digesting sugar and are very sensitive to it. These sugary cereals contain ingredients such as high fructose syrup, which can contain mercury, something that is not good for your bird’s health.
Other cheerios, such as peanut butter and frosted cheerios, also contain a high sugar level. You should be mindful not to feed these cereals to your bird, either.
Just as humans cannot (or should not) consume large amounts of sugar, neither should birds.
It is helpful to keep in mind these sensitivities, even if you do not have a pet bird. Making cheerio bird feeders is a very popular kid’s activity and something many bird lovers enjoy doing.
Even if you do not own a pet bird, you may enjoy feeding the birds in your yard or at the park. However, you should know the ingredients in honey nut cheerios can be extremely harmful to birds. With this in mind, there are still ways to feed birds that don’t involve foods with toxic ingredients.
Alternatives to Honey Nut Cheerios
It can be a real bummer to find out that honey nut cheerios are not healthy enough to feed your bird. However, there are plenty of alternatives to honey nut cheerios that your bird can enjoy. Consult your veterinarian for all of your pet bird’s nutritional needs before giving them any cheerios or other new foods.
Original cheerios are a great alternative to feeding your bird the honey nut variety. Birds can safely ingest original cheerios without the sugar content or the bacteria-inducing risk that honey can bring.
Original cheerios do not replace a well-balanced diet for birds, so it does not matter if the ingredients are safe. Birds should not consume copious amounts of cereal on a daily basis.
How to Feed Your Bird Cheerios
If you are going to feed your pet bird cheerios, monitor them and ensure that they are not having an adverse reaction to it.
Even if it is just plain cheerios, it does not mean their stomachs will agree with it. If you want to put up a bird feeder containing cheerios, ensure you are spreading your feeders out and putting them at different levels in your yard.
Different birds eat at different levels. You may find yourself having full feeders, depending on what kind of birds you have in your area. Also, remember that you should not be feeding birds copious amounts of cereals at a time. Try to limit the amount you are giving them.
If you want to stay clear from cheerios, here are some other household food items that are great for birds:
- Different seeds from fruits or vegetables (i.e., squash seeds)
- Unsalted peanuts
Honey nut cheerios can be highly damaging to your birds and cause health complications, but it is okay if they occasionally consume them. When possible, opt for other safer foods like original cheerios or non-cereal foods like bananas or apples in moderation.
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I am Bryan Powell and I own BirdHour.com. I love bird watching; in fact, I have a parakeet of my own. I enjoy spending time outdoors and observing the natural world around me. This website is a means of sharing my passion for birds with others who may be interested in this activity.