Are Peanuts A Good Feed For Wildlife?
Peanuts for birds are an excellent source of energy and essential fats for birds. It isn’t just our feathered friends that love peanuts too – other wildlife will also be tempted to your garden by peanuts.
However, there are many myths surrounding peanuts, which may lead some people to think they’re a bad food altogether. Like any other food, peanuts should be fed in moderation and with care.
This blog covers everything you need to know about feeding birds and wildlife with peanuts.
Are Peanuts Good For Birds?
Peanuts are a very nutritious but high-fat feed for birds. This means that although they enjoy them and will gobble them up, like anything, too much of a good thing isn’t good at all. Much like how we eat ourselves – you wouldn’t only eat ice cream, would you?
Because of their high-fat content, peanuts are best being fed in winter when birds can benefit from the extra energy boost and keep a necessary amount of body fat when natural food sources are scarce.
Which Birds Eat Peanuts?
Most bird species will eat peanuts if you make them available including great tits, blue tits, finches, starlings, house sparrow, wrens, and woodpeckers.
Feeding peanuts in moderation is sure to attract a wide variety of birds to your garden.
How To Feed Peanuts To Birds
Now for the important part of feeding peanuts for birds – selecting the right type of peanuts and putting them out for birds to eat.
It is essential that you only buy peanuts that are specifically for birds. Peanuts for birds are quite different from the ones we eat as humans which will have undergone many different processes and are often coated with flavourings, including sugar and salt.
Peanuts for birds can be purchased in different forms too, birds don’t have a preference. From peanuts in shells to split peanuts, birds love them all but some varieties are better at certain times of the year. Peanut granules, for example, are best to be fed in spring and summer as they reduce the choking risk for young birds.
The way you provide peanuts can also help reduce risk. By providing the nuts in specially made peanut feeders, birds will only be able to take smaller pieces and less ground waste is created.
If you aren’t providing peanuts in a feeder, you are better off using split peanuts or granules. Mix these with other types of bird feed to ensure birds are receiving a good variety of foods.
As with all other bird foods, peanuts can spoil, especially in wet or damp weather so never leave uneaten food out for too long or only provide small quantities when it is raining. This helps reduce any build-up of bacteria that may harm birds.
Buy Quality Peanuts For Birds
As mentioned, the peanuts we feed birds or other wildlife are not like the ones we eat. You should look to buy bird food that is specially graded for birds.
It is also important to choose your supplier carefully – cheaper peanuts may seem like a good deal but be of poor quality or even harmful to birds.
A reputable supplier will still usually offer economy grade peanuts for a cheaper option, premium peanuts for birds are usually blanched and have no skins, hence the slightly more expensive price tag.
Buying from a reputable supplier will ensure your peanuts are free from any contamination and are safe for birds.
This includes being free from aflatoxins.
Aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that can grow on peanuts making them very harmful to birds.
Here at Kennedy Wild Bird Food, our peanuts for birds are all certified as nil for detectable signs of aflatoxin.
Peanuts For Other Animals
There is some debate on feeding peanuts to wildlife other than birds in your garden. The fact is, most animals like peanuts and will eat them, from hedgehogs to foxes, badgers and of course, squirrels seem to go crazy for them!
Like feeding birds, you should only provide a small amount of food for other wild animals so that they consume peanuts in moderation.
Ideally, peanuts should be mixed with other foods if you want to attract badgers or squirrels. We sell readymade squirrel food if you adore your bushy-tailed friends (some find them a pest!) and also provide a mixture for badgers. Both include peanuts.
Peanuts are not toxic to hedgehogs and they enjoy eating them but again, they should only be provided in moderation as part of a specialist hedgehog mixture.
Remember to provide water for wildlife alongside any food. Birds, mammals, and insects all need water so providing a source is another way to encourage more wildlife into your garden.