Bird sitting on a human hand eating bread

Will Birds Eat Cornbread? (And Should You Feed Them?)

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Many people enjoy feeding birds and watching them, especially in winter. If you are a bird lover, you probably have pet birds or feeders for wild birds in your backyard. You might have been giving them special bird food. But, what if you have some leftover cornbread from the previous day? Will birds eat cornbread? 

Birds enjoy eating any kind of bread, even cornbread. They like the taste of the grains and the flavor of cornbread. Many birds, particularly blue jays, chickadees, juncos, starlings, sparrows, and cardinals, like cornbread. Ducks are also seen eating cornbread. 

Now, the question is, should you feed cornbread to birds just because they like it? In this article, I will address the issue of feeding cornbread or similar bread to wild birds or pet birds. 

Should You Feed Cornbread To Birds?

You have probably given bread crumbs to pigeons and watched how they come in groups to feed on them. You might think, “Oh! They are eating the bread so fast. Maybe they like it. ” Yes, they do. But not just bread crumbs, they also like lots of other stuff.

Birds are active animals. They use a lot of their energy to fly around. They even cross hundreds of miles in search of safe habitats. Birds require a lot of food to produce energy for their daily activities. They feel hungry most of the time. Hence, they continuously look for food. They examine anything to check if it is food. 

So, if you throw cornbread at them, they will come to eat it. Once birds taste it, they will certainly like it because of its taste. Birds are not intelligent enough to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy food. 

But we understand how food affects our bodies. Therefore, consider if cornbread or any other bread is nutritious for the birds. You should also consider if feeding cornbread to the birds can harm them. 

Unfortunately, many people do not know that store-bought bread is harmful to birds. Even homemade cornbread can be dangerous as it contains milk, butter, sugar, and salt. 

Why Is Store-Bought Cornbread Bad For Birds? 


When they are hungry, cornbread will fill up the stomachs of birds but will not provide them with the nutrition they require to stay healthy. Bread is like junk food for birds. 

Store-bought cornbread or cornbread made from store-bought cornbread mix both have negative effects on birds. To understand, we need to know what ingredients cornbread usually contains. The most common ingredients used to make cornbread are cornmeal, flour, milk, baking powder, baking soda, butter, salt, and sugar. 

Some of these ingredients may have good nutritional value for humans, but most of these ingredients are dangerous for birds. Generally, one standard piece of cornbread (60 grams) contains: 

  • Calories: 198
  • Sodium: 359mg
  • Fat: 5.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.7g
  • Sugars: 9.63g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Calcium: 209mg
  • Fiber: 1.4g
  • Iron: 1.1mg

As you can see, cornbread contains an outrageous amount of carbohydrates. Cornbread has complex carbs, which come mostly from sugar, wheat, and corn. These complex carbohydrates or starches are difficult for birds to digest, especially for birds living in enclosed spaces. Because of unprocessed carbs, birds can develop digestive problems and become fat. 

Hence, birds cannot fly properly and become unable to fly swiftly. They may not be able to migrate or fly away from predators. A large amount of bread can cause diabetes and hypertension in birds. 

Milk and butter are the most harmful ingredients on the list. Birds are highly lactose intolerant. They can digest a small amount of milk, but too much can cause digestive issues. Besides, too much sodium in cornbread is also dangerous for bird health. 

Avoid feeding stale, homemade, or store-bought cornbread to the birds because it can cause fungal infection in the birds. Stale cornbread can grow mold quickly. If you throw stale bread in the water to feed ducks, it will rot if not eaten. The birds may come back later and eat the rotten bread, causing them to become ill. 

Cornbread has some nutrient value for birds. It contains protein that is essential for growing feathers. Also, the calcium in the bread can help with developing bone structure. 

However, judging by the negative effect of cornbread, it is better to avoid feeding cornbread to birds. If your pet bird is fond of eating cornbread, you can occasionally treat them with homemade cornbread. But you have to remove some ingredients and add some bird-friendly ingredients to make the bread healthy for birds.

How To Make Homemade Cornbread For Birds?

If you are a bird lover who is genuinely concerned about providing healthy food to birds, chances are you will take the extra step of preparing nutritious cornbread for them. 

When I said you can give homemade cornbread to birds, I meant homemade cornbread specially made for birds. So, it should be obvious that the ingredients will not be the same as in typical cornbread for humans. 

Here are the ingredients you can use to prepare the special cornbread for birds: 

  • Cornmeal 
  • Baking powder
  • Peanut butter (homemade without too much salt and sugar) 
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Bird seeds
  • Melted beef fat 
  • Water

The amount of ingredients depends on the number of birds you intend to feed. You can crush some of the ingredients to mix them properly. You can also add water if needed.

How to make homemade cornbread for birds: 

  1. First, mix all the ingredients except beef fat in a bowl. Keep adding water until the batter becomes moist. 
  2. Next, melt some beef fat and add it to the mix.
  3. Depending on the amount of batter, you can use a 6 to 8 inches cast-iron skillet, or baking pan. Then pour the cornbread batter into the skillet or baking pan. 
  4. If you are using the stove, heat the skillet at a low temperature for 20 to 25 minutes. Make sure to cover the skillet with a lid. But if you are using an oven, put the skillet or baking pan in the preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. 
  5. When the cornbread is baked or cooked, let it cool down. 

How And When To Feed Cornbread To Birds?

If you must feed cornbread to birds, you can do it occasionally. Do not provide them with a large amount of cornbread all at once. Also, avoid feeding cornbread to wild birds regularly. They may become dependent on it. 

You can give cornbread as a special treat to your pet bird. My parrot loves this cornbread. You can also leave some of the cornbread outside in a feeder for wild birds. Small birds tend to have small beaks. You can crush some cornbread so that small birds can easily eat it. 

You can provide the birds with the special cornmeal I mentioned above, as it has some notorious ingredients for birds.  

Cornmeal provides energy to the birds to keep them active. The other ingredient, such as peanut butter, is a high-protein food for birds. Then, there are crushed eggshells that provide sufficient calcium for them. In addition, the beef fat will help the birds keep their bodies warm during cold temperatures in winter. 

Is Cornbread Better Than White Bread?

Will birds eat cornbread? Yes, they will. Then how about white bread? For obvious reasons, birds will also eat white bread. So, which one of these is the better option for birds? 

Well, both of them are bread. Hence, there is not much of a difference. In fact, the same amount of cornbread contains slightly more carbohydrates and less protein than the same amount of white bread. 

However, this does not imply that white bread can be substituted for cornbread. Both bread types contain ingredients and nutrients that are not healthy for birds. 

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