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Can Birds Eat Quinoa?

by Lucy

Quinoa to humans is a superfood that holds so many nutritional benefits. As it is a grain, it would seem that it might be a great option to feed to your bird as well.

Any responsible pet owner would know to check up on whether a food is safe for their pet before offering it to their less than picky pets. Wanting to give your bird the best possible diet, quinoa, if safe, would be a great option, as it is a super grain and could have so many benefits for your bird.

So, can birds eat quinoa? Birds can eat sprouted or cooked quinoa as part of their regular diet. Mixed in with some other nutritious foods, such as birdseed, corn, fruit, vegetables, and nuts, your bird will love quinoa, and they will have enough variety in their food to stay healthy.

Keep reading to find out more on how to safely feed your bird quinoa and some of the great nutritional benefits that quinoa has for them!

Is It Safe To Feed Birds Quinoa?

It is safe to feed birds quinoa. A good, balanced bird diet includes grains, seeds, nuts, berries, mealworms, vegetables, and some insects. As quinoa is a grain, it fits in perfectly with a bird’s diet.

Being a super grain too, quinoa has many health benefits and is packed with vital nutrients and vitamins. Grains should form the majority of a bird’s diet, so quinoa can become a staple for them.

However, you must remember variety is also important, and you should include other food into their diet as well. Swap out quinoa for another grain now and then, or even mix quinoa with another grain. Don’t forget to mix in some seeds, nuts, berries, vegetables, and other safe foods for your bird as well (this is a great mix for small birds).

Even though it is a superfood, quinoa cannot provide your bird with everything they need to stay healthy, so giving them other healthy foods is very important.

It is absolutely safe to feed your bird quinoa and to include it in their diet almost daily. They will love the tasty grain, and you will love knowing it is a safe and nutritious meal. Just remember to always offer a variety of food, to keep your bird interested in eating, and to ensure they get all the nutrients and vitamins they need!

How Do I Prepare Quinoa For My Bird?

Quinoa is quite versatile, and you can either choose to serve it cooked or sprouted. When offering uncooked quinoa to your bird, you should leave it to soak in some cold water for a while. It will begin to sprout after some time, and can then be served to your bird.

It will not take much time to prepare cooked quinoa for your bird either, as it cooks fairly quickly, and won’t become too much of an effort to prepare. Quinoa is cooked in boiling water much like other grains and becomes bigger and softer when fully cooked.

Before cooking quinoa, or before soaking it in water and serving it to your bird, you should wash the quinoa first to ensure there are no contaminants on the grain.

While you are able to serve quinoa cooked or uncooked to your bird, it does seem to be the better option if you offer it to them cooked. This also allows you to include other ingredients into the quinoa, such as bird seeds, nuts, vegetables, and corn.

Make sure to leave the quinoa to cool before placing it near your bird to eat. You can also make a bigger batch and pack some away in an airtight container to be the next day’s lunch!

The Health Benefits Of Quinoa For Birds

If you have heard of quinoa before, you would know that it is considered a superfood. Superfoods are foods that have high nutritional density and provide a high amount of nutrients with a very low-calorie count.

Superfoods exist for animals too, and quinoa happens to be one that is safe for birds. Here are some of the health benefits quinoa has for birds:

  • High Nutritional Content – Quinoa contains many different nutrients and vitamins, such as fiber, protein, vitamin B6, thiamine, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and folate. For such small grains, they really do pack a punch!
  • High Fiber Content – Fiber is a vital nutrient in any diet, and quinoa offers it readily. Fiber aids and improves digestion, and can even work to lower cholesterol. For birds, it has the same effect and can help to reduce their blood sugar levels too.
  • Flavonoid Content – There are two flavonoids found in quinoa, quercetin, and kaempferol. Flavonoids including these two have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, which are wonderfully beneficial to both birds and humans.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Along with a good serving of fiber, quinoa also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which is an unsaturated fatty acid that can help to promote a healthy heart, and even work to reduce heart disease.
  • Lysine Content – Quinoa has a high lysine content, more than other legumes and grains. Lysine is an amino acid that aids in the synthesis of protein, as well as with the retention of calcium. Too little lysine could result in anemia, fatigue, and even reproductive issues. The lysine content in quinoa works against these issues.

What Type Of Quinoa Is Best?

There are a few different types and colors of quinoa, and all of them have slightly different tastes and nutritional contents. Some varieties include white, green, black, red, purple, and orange.

While all of these are great options, studies have shown that the red quinoa variety holds the most nutritional content, and also has the best taste as well!

Even though the calorie, fiber, fat, protein, and carbohydrate content is the same as other quinoa varieties, it has a higher concentration of plant compounds, which gives it additional nutrients to boast of.

If you cannot get your hands on red quinoa for your bird, don’t stress, as any of the quinoa varieties will be a great inclusion into your bird’s diet!

What Other Grains Can I Feed My Bird?

Quinoa is the most nutritious grain you can offer your bird, but it really isn’t the end of the world if you have run short. There are some other natural grains that your bird will absolutely love, and which will be very nutritious for them too!

  • Millet – Millet is a popular grain eaten by birds. It is rich in all the right things, carbs, dietary fiber, protein, and other minerals and vitamins.
  • Brown Rice – Brown rice should be cooked before being offered to birds, and it is rich in protein, fiber, carbs, calories, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Maize – Maize, or corn, is a grain that birds enjoy eating in the wild and is one they will love being fed. Corn is high in fiber, folate, vitamin C, thiamin, carbs, magnesium, phosphorous, and many other vitamins and minerals essential to their diet.

Related Questions

So, to wrap up, quinoa is perfectly safe for birds to eat, and as it is a superfood, it is a very beneficial grain to include in their diet.

Although quinoa is safe, very nutritious, and is definitely something you should be feeding your bird, you should still offer them some variety from other foods, such as vegetables, grains, nuts, fruit, and seeds.

We hope we’ve answered all your burning questions, but here are a few other related questions to satisfy your curiosity.

What kinds of treats can I feed my bird?

Your bird will love being fed quinoa often, but they will also really enjoy a treat now and then too! Offering them up the occasional treat will keep them interested in their food, and healthy treats could also give them a good dose of vitamins and minerals too.

These are some of the tastiest and healthiest treats to feed your bird:

  • Fruit – Fruit is a great option, and there are many fruits your bird can have such as mangoes, bananas, apples, melons, or pomegranates. 
  • Sprouts – Sprouts are so healthy, and there are many different types of sprouts you can feed your bird.
  • Beans – Beans are affordable and healthy and offer a good dose of fiber for your bird.
  • Vegetables – Vegetables might seem boring to many, but your bird will love a portion of fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, squash, or spinach. Make sure to wash the vegetables first.
  • Pasta – Pasta can be served dried or cooked, and your bird will love it either way.
  • Nuts – Nuts are loved by birds; they are healthy and they taste great! Make sure to only serve your bird clean and unsalted nuts.

Can you put quinoa in a bird feeder?

Quinoa is fine to put into a bird feeder, and wild birds will absolutely love having quinoa offered to them. However, as it should be cooked or sprouted beforehand, it will have a high moisture content as opposed to birdseed, and you will have to switch it out more often and clean the feeder to avoid bacterial growth and mold.

How do I know if quinoa has gone bad?

Look for signs that quinoa has spoiled before eating it or serving it to your bird. If quinoa has gone bad, it will smell bad, it will have a very hard texture, or there might even be mold growing on it. It is safest to throw old quinoa away and buy a new pack.

Is quinoa more nutritious than brown rice?

Both brown rice and quinoa are packed with nutrients and vitamins, but quinoa has around three to four times more nutrients than brown rice does.

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