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Sparrow perched on bread on top of wooden post

Feeding birds bread

If feeding wild birds bread its time to put an end to the white kind, well using the healthier, high in protein and fibre wholemeal/brown bread.

Feeding birds bread is not harmful but not healthy in either. Bread contains protein and fibre, but its not enough to fulfil the needs of birds. If you must feed bread to birds, use wholemeal well topping it with peanut butter, seeds and crushed peanuts for real nutritional value.

Rest assured its perfectly fine to feed birds bread with no harmful effects. Where bread falls short is the lack of valuable nutrients.

Birds require high in fat, calorie, fibre and protein food. And well bread has that for people, its not high enough to sustain a single bird.

Rather it just fills them up for a short while well they go without the much needed nutrients they crave.

There will go for an extended time without knowing what they're missing as there health will deteriorate if they don't eat normally.

If you're only feeding birds bread in your garden in large or small quantities, you're probably doing more harm than good as they require protein and fibre.

Do away with white bread and replace it with wholemeal, or the fancier sliced bread containing multi-seeds with pumpkin and sunflower seed bread especially.

Only feed one slice of bread on any given day, but it would be possible to make it more valuable to there health by making a sandwich.

Open topped sandwich has a spread of peanut butter for birds only; then a mixture of bird seeds before sprinkling on crushed up peanuts.

Not harmful, but little nutrients

Feeding birds bread is not harmful, or is there any ingredients that could have an effect on the health later on.

The problem with feeding bread to birds comes from the lack of valuable nutrients. Well bread can contain the nutrients birds crave, there's just not enough of it.

High in fibre or protein for people, but one slice shared between dozens of birds at one time spreads the nutrients really thin, and it was this way from the start.

So instead of flying off with a tummy fully of fibre and protein, there's really nothing they've taken from eating bread.

Bread is not harmful to birds, it just does not contain enough nutrients for wild birds.

Avoid white bread

Sparrow eating small bread pieces
Well this Sparrow eats small bread pieces, it should really be wholemeal or seeded bread, but this small amount won't cause any harm.

Of all the store-bought, pre-sliced bread available the white bread is the one to avoid.

Its easy to take a few slices out of the bread bin as its more widely available than other types, but it is the worst kind to feed to wild birds in the garden.

It does not contain harmful ingredients as such, but like we've mentioned its only a filler with no valuable nutrients.

Well the bird fills up on white bread and fly away with a tummy full of bread, in fact the lack of nutrients is doing nothing for the bird.

Result... hunger, illness and a painful death as the bird finds it difficult to distinguish between low-nutritional bread to the high in protein, fibre seeds and peanut bird food.

BEST bread for birds

There is a selection of commercially available bread from the supermarket that does happen to be valuable to a birds diet.

If we always consider wholemeal bread slices as the filler; bread varieties that are made with multi-seeds are exceptional good.

And then there's those breads that contain seeds usually reserved for bird feed only; including sunflower or pumpkin seed, or a bit of both.

You'll still need to feed pumpkin and sunflower seeded bread with caution, making sure its only one slice per day, with a large number of birds feeding from it.

Bread we would recommend for birds...

Sunflower & Pumpkin

Two for the price of one on this selection of bread, and well both seed mixes are good for birds, the mass produced sliced bread option lacks huge amounts of seeds.

This is still enough to raise the level of protein on this bread, well the fibre contents remains steady with all other sliced bread.

Seed loving birds love sunflower seeds so will peck them off the crust they're baked into, but they should try the pumpkin seeds as both are tasty to birds.

Well the loaf is baked with a white bread, there's little else this type of bread can benefit birds, so keep it to one slice only. Tesco Finest Sunflower & Pumpkin Loaf.

Sunflower Seed

Sunflower seeds is common seed used in wild bird mixes, or available to buy as a sunflower seed mix only.

So what better way to feed birds bread with the benefit of this high in fibre seed.

No benefits in the bread of choice, but the higher than normal fibre content comes from the sunflower seeds.

If you can, do not feed the bread to the birds but remove the seed off the hard crust to feed the birds sunflower seeds only. The Polish Bakery Sunflower Seed bread from Tesco.

Pumpkin Seed

We've only found Polish bakery pumpkin seed bread, but it is widely available from the supermarket.

Not a wheat bread but a natural sourdough based bread with use of rye flour.

Rather than the large pumpkin seeds being baked in the bread, its limited to the harder outer crust only, so make sure you leave the crust on.

Quite the middle range in terms of protein and fibre, so doesn't offer anything more than birds need. If removing the seeds to feed birds only, that would be a start. This The Polish Bakery Pumpkin Seed bread is available from Tesco.

Dark Rye & Sunflower

Baked with a blend of wheat and rye flour with sunflower seeds, its a soft bread so easy to digest.

Scattered sunflower seeds over the dark harder crust is where the seeds can be found, and were sure birds will try to peck them off during the course of the day.

Contains a higher then normal amount of protein and fibre, but still not enough to benefit birds in great numbers.

They are only to benefit if its the sunflower seeds they consume. View Tesco Finest Dark Rye & Sunflower Farmhouse bread.

High Protein Loaf

Not a lot but a little, in baking high protein loaf bread we can ensure the birds are guaranteed a slightly larger quantity of protein which they need.

This bread gets its high protein content from the seeds, including: pumpkin, sunflower, brown linseed, golden linseed, millet and poppy seed.

Its usually a wholemeal bread too so that helps again towards keeping the bread as healthy as possible, well staying clear of white bread.

Always soak in water

Soaking bread, from the white slice to the healthier option should be all soaked as to make it easier for small garden birds to digest it.

Firstly, this will prevent small garden birds or there chicks from choking on the large, dry pieces, well pre-soaking will help it settle in there bellies.

If feeding stale bread to birds then making it wet makes more sense. If you've attempted to chew and swallow stale bread yourself, you'll understand why.

Moistening the bread is one thing, but it may also be a good idea to remove the part that is tough to chew and swallow the most, and that is the crust.

Removing the crust does not make the whole thing easier to digest, its just something you can do to make it easier to feed on.

If the bread crust you're using contains the important seeds, then do not remove it.

High in carbs, not beneficial

One thing bread is high in, and partially white bread - is carbs, well this energy nutrient has little value for birds.

Well birds can eat other foods containing carbs (pasta, rice, etc.) its one thing to stay clear of as its likely to fill them up the most - just as it does people.

Wild birds only need protein, fibre with high in fat and calorie peanuts and seeds. Bread does not offer this in the quantity that is required.

Luckily, there is a number of breads that do offer less carbs with a focus on fibre and protein, so give those a try.

If you want to avoid high in carb bread, then avoid the white kind at all costs.

Instead focus more on the less common bread such as multi-seeded, or better still the pumpkin or sunflower seeded bread.

Make a sandwich

Be inventive well leaving out bread for birds by making it super healthy; high in protein and fibre with just a few additional ingredients.

Though the sandwich filler is not for use by people but rather using common bird feed to make up the sandwich.

Well use the one slice of bread rule at a time; this is an open sandwich with use of peanut butter for birds as the sticky substance for keeping the ingredients in place.

Spread out peanut butter for wild birds on one side of a single slice of bread. Then its a matter of building up the sandwich with other ingredients.

Here you can use a mix of all the bird seeds you have available; sunflower, nyger, pumpkin, linseed or poppy seeds.

Well the seeds are high in fibre, the fat and protein will come from crushed up peanuts you can sprinkle generously over the seeds.

Its an open sandwich so don't pop on the top slice. Instead carefully layout the sandwich on the bird table or a suitable flat surface in your garden.

How much bread to use

When you leave out bread in your garden for the birds to freely feed on during the course of the day, only leave out what's needed.

If you don't get regular visits from birds with only a handful dropping by, don't risk them all filling up on just bread.

Instead, only leave out half a slice during this time and see how they take to it. Then remove the slice and throw it away as to not force them to only feed on the slice.

Never leave out large amounts of sliced bread in the garden for wild birds to take whatever they can eat, this is not what we're saying.

One bird feeding on a single slice is bad, but dozens of wild birds feeding off the one slice is what we're promoting.

This will then force the birds to seek out other food sources, which we hope they can find in a hanging bird feeder to bird table in your garden.

Non-sliced bread to use

Sparrow besides a white baguette slice
Sparrow will happily feed on this white bread baguette slice, well it has no valuable nutrients, this single piece should be fine.

In an effort to pick out a variety of the healthiest bread to feed birds, you're not limited to only sliced bread we've outlined previously.

In fact you're free to feed birds all types of bread: bagel, baguette, flat bread, wraps or buns - whatever it takes to offer the most nutrient variety.

And you won't find that in most other types of bread we've mentioned.

Take the ingredients that we've talked about from the best bread to feed birds, then make sure its available in these options.

Its easy to feed white plain bagels, buns and baguettes to birds, but it takes love and care to only use wholemeal, high in protein, fibre bread.

Regardless of which type you use, always make sure its in very low quantity.

Presenting bread to birds in garden

When feeding birds bread in the garden, there are a number of ways to feed it them, but your priority is making sure the bread stays clean.

And well the bread is perfectly fine to get wet, it would be advisable to replace bread that's left out and unused for an extended period of time.

If you have a wooden bird table this would be the most suitable place to lay out a single slice of bread, or if you're someone who tears up the bread first.

Under the shelter of a covered bird table the bread is not exposed to elements.

But if left out on the ground, make sure its only for a short time as to not attract unwanted, larger birds or pests - and especially if don't already have a rat problem.

In fact, if you have a rat problem never leave feed out on the ground.

Bird feeders are not suitable for containing bread, but you can impale a bread slice on the bird feeding station pole if you have to keep it off the ground.

Other areas to lay out a flat slice of bread would be a high wall or fence, just make sure it doesn't in turn attract cats.

Typical nutritional value per slice:

Type Protein: Fibre: Fat: Calories:
White 3.5 1.0 0.7 93
Multiseeded 4.7 2.5g 3.1 131
Wholemeal 4.0 2.7 0.7 88
Granary 4.7 3.0 1.0 104
50/50 3.7 2.0 0.7 232
Multigrain 4.7 3.1 0.2 120
Oat & Barley 4.2 2.1 0.9 109
Sunflower & Pumpkin 4.7 2.0 4.4 127
Malted Danish (diet) 2.3 0.9 0.4 51
High Protein Loaf 4.5 2.8 2.0 84
Malted Grain 5.0 2.3 0.8 125
Tiger 3.8 0.8 0.9 94
Dark Rye & Sunflower 4.6 1.7 2.6 115
Sunflower Seed 2.8 2.4 2.8 105
Pumpkin Seed 2.9 2.6 2.0 100


Well not harmful, feeding birds bread is not healthy either, as it doesn't contain enough nutritional value to sustain them over the course of the day.

In fact its just a filler, with lack of nutrients its only goes towards just filling them up.

Similar to chocolate and crisps for people, bread for birds does have nutrients for people, but its spread real thin when eaten by birds.

Only leave out a slice of bread for fewer birds so they don't fill up, well 2 slices would be significant for a garden with lots of visiting birds.

You can bring value to the slice of bread by pumping up the fibre and protein content in the shape of a tasty sandwich.

This would be an open sandwich with a generous spread of peanut butter for birds with high protein content.

Then its a matter of topping it up with mix seeds before sprinkling crushed up peanuts.

Only make a wild bird sandwich with the healthiest bread options. Avoid white bread at all costs well a choice of wholemeal bread would be more suitable.

You can go one better by using specialty sliced bread that contain seeds that even birds have in there own specialist seed mixes.

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