It is well known that birds enjoy most seed mixes, and the implication coexists that birds can consume nuts daily.
If you’ve been keeping up with our articles, we’ve covered whether birds can eat pistachios. Don’t forget to check it out to learn more about adding tree nuts to your bird’s diet.
Today’s topic, however, requires a drumroll because it is none other than – Peanut Butter!
Can the worldwide-loved peanut butter be good for our birds as well? Keep reading to discover the risks and safety associated with peanut butter!
Is Peanut Butter Safe for Birds to Consume?
To understand whether any food is consumable by birds, the first thing I do is assess their safety. After all, safety takes precedence over everything, even if it’s taste or nutritional benefits.
Here are the first things to look into about peanut butter that can associate with health risks:
1. High-Fat Content
Store-bought peanut butter contains four kinds of fat: polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat. Now the question is – are all of these fats harmful?
Not at all! While it has been rumored that peanut butter manufacturers use oils that introduce trans-fats (prone to increase cholesterol levels) into the mix, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) soon dismissed the rumors.
However, the saturated fat content in peanut butter makes up for the absence of trans-fats.
Although the nutrients (which we will discuss briefly) compensate for the saturated fats (3.3g of fat each tablespoon), making it healthy for humans, it is still high for birds to fully metabolize.
Saturated fat spikes cholesterol levels leading to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and liver diseases.
2. Sugar Frenzy
Birds attain a balance of nutrients and tastiness from their natural diet of fresh produce and seed mixes; this includes a balance of sweetness.
Most people are oblivious that table sugar, in other words, sucrose, is a form of ‘drug’ to birds. It’s the same way babies get a sugar rush and end up craving more sugar.
These instances can result in severe mood disorders, loss of appetite, and increased blood sugar levels in your bird.
The added granulated sugar in store-bought peanut butter will allow these symptoms of sugar frenzy to make an appearance once peanut butter becomes a part of your bird’s diet.
3. Salty Appearances
I might have bored you to death with all the mentions of salt toxicosis in my previous articles, but, the sentiments still stand.
While peanuts are all natural and so is its butter, mass-produced peanut butter is made to please human palates.
And if you’ve dabbled into a little bit of baking or even guessed it from the title of this section, you’ll know that it is achieved by none other than salt.
Salt is known to enhance the sweetness in desserts and provide that balance every meal needs. It does the same for peanut butter.
However, just like sugar, birds also receive a well-balanced salt intake from their natural diet and the added salt in peanut butter can lead to — can you guess it?
Ding! Ding! Salt toxicosis, you’ve guessed it right.
Some signs of salt toxicosis include bloating, diarrhea, paralysis, heart attack, and organ failure.
4. Nut Allergy
Peanut allergies are perhaps the most common allergies humans ail from. But, did you know birds can have nut allergies too?
Yes, you heard me right.
While it is rare for birds to have nut allergies, exceptions are always there. What’s even more amusing is that the symptoms may even be similar to humans.
Some of these symptoms may include enlargement of the tongue, hives, rashes, fever, and choking.
Nut allergies are the reason why you should get your bird a check-up with their vet for allergy tests before setting up their meal plan.
Beware of allowing them to consume peanuts before going through with this essential step!
Now that we’ve had a thorough look into what risks your birds can be exposed to if they consume peanut butter, it’s clear why it isn’t the number one thing most bird parents would opt for.
Check out the next section to learn if there are ways to make peanut butter consumption safe for your bird.
Can I Make Peanut Butter Safe for My Bird?
I’m sure many of you are disappointed to know the facts listed above, but why worry when the answer to this question will turn your frown upside down?
The answer is yes — you can make peanut butter a lot safer for your bird and eliminate the health risks (except the nut allergy part).
Nut allergies occur due to your bird not being able to recognize the protein in these nuts for what they are and identifying them as antigens instead. Such overactive immune systems can produce a chain reaction that results in the symptoms of nut allergies.
Nut allergies cannot go away once they have already developed; hence or otherwise, if your bird is allergic to peanuts, they cannot consume peanuts in any form, including peanut butter.
Let’s move on to the changes we can bring to ensure the safety of your birds if they were to be introduced to peanut butter.
a. Homemade Peanut Butter
It is mentioned throughout the previous section that almost all health risks associated with peanut butter only exist in mass-produced peanut butter.
Addiction to sugar and salt toxicosis are two prominent issues. These come with store-bought peanut butter. Both of these can easily be averted if you were to simply make it on your own at home.
Opting out the sugar and salt completely from your homemade peanut butter makes it non-toxic for birds without allergies.
b. An Occasional Treat
It is possible to make peanut butter at home to eliminate two major risks; it is, however, impossible to decrease the saturated fat content.
Hence, making it a treat reserved for special occasions is optimal.
Why Should You Add Peanut Butter to Your Bird’s Treat List?
It’s been quite a peanut butter bashing session going on, and we don’t want to get on the bad side of such delicious food, do we?
Thus, here are a few benefits that will tempt you to look past the tedious measures taken to make peanut butter safe for your bird and add it to your treat list:
- Good Source Of Healthy Fats – Peanut butter provides 80% unsaturated fat (Omega 6 fatty acids), which is essential for young birds and maintaining good cholesterol.
- Reduces Occurrence of Heart Attacks By 38% – Oleic acid is vital in peanut butter for maintaining good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
- Rich In Antioxidants With Anti-Cancer Properties – Peanuts are a great source of antioxidants like manganese, vitamin E, and B vitamins. Roasting peanuts before churning them into butter has shown an increase of 22% in the activity of an antioxidant called coumaric acid. Resveratrol has been shown to have anti-cancer effects and lowers the risk of obesity, heart disease, and cognitive decline.
Why shun peanut butter away when it offers so many health benefits? No wonder why nutritionists swear by them.
What Are the Alternative Treats to Peanut Butter?
I understand the urge to jump on Google and search for the easiest peanut butter recipe out there but have patience because what I have to say may ease the urge for the better.
Making peanut butter at home is a labor of love but a tedious one. It requires hours of roasting and peeling off the skins just to get the peanuts.
Without a food processor, making peanut butter can be redeemed impossible. Quite a bummer, isn’t it?
Here’s a list of foods that will provide the perfect balance of tasty and nutrients that will spare you the hassles of making peanut butter at home:
- Almond Butter
- Papaya and Seeds
Give them a chance and rest assured they won’t disappoint!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here, I will answer some common questions regarding peanut butter and birds.
Can Pet Birds Eat Peanut Butter?
Pet birds can occasionally eat homemade peanut butter as a treat. It can’t be a part of their regular diet as the unhealthy fat content may cause obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
Can Wild Birds Eat Peanut Butter?
Birds eat peanuts in the wild before harvesting, hence it’s safe for them to consume peanut butter as well. They may eat it more often than pet birds as they are more active as they scavenge for food all day.
Can Baby Birds Eat Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter can pose choking risks for baby birds as the sticky texture can get stuck in their food pipe.
Can Birds Eat Crunchy Peanut Butter?
The crunchiness helps fix the texture problem in peanut butter up a notch and reduces the choking risk. Crunchy textures also allow sensory stimulation in birds which is a pleasant experience for them.
Can Birds Eat Jif Peanut Butter?
Jif Peanut Butter is the same as any store-bought peanut butter with added salt and sugar, which are severely detrimental to your bird’s health.
The preservatives in them are not healthy as well. Hence, it’s best to steer clear of them.
Can Birds Eat Peanut Butter Cookies?
Peanut Butter is iffy as it is and feeding them as cookies is extremely unhealthy as they provide no health benefits.
All in all, peanut butter can be a great treat addition for your bird if made at home. Some things are too good to be true, but not peanut butter, as its nutritious properties and tastiness make it oh-so-good.