Peanuts are a favourite food amongst wild birds, they are a rich source of protein, oil and other nutrition for most of the wild birds in the UK. As a rule, peanuts should only be put out if they're fresh and of high quality, ideally sold by a reputable feed supplier. This is particularly important as peanuts can be high in a natural toxin called aflatoxin, which can kill birds. Aflatoxin is a poison, produced by a fungus, which commonly affects peanut crops and is particularly harmful to small wild birds.
Peanuts are healthy food for birds to eat, they contain a huge range of all the nutritional requirements that animals need to survive including;
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- 45% Fat
- 24% Protein
Ideally, offer peanuts in a nut feeder with steel mesh so that the nuts cannot be taken wholly in one go. By using good quality mesh feeders it will prevent chicks being fed whole nuts - which might cause them to choke. Alternatively, crush them and leave the fragments on a bird table.
Peanut Grains are also full of essential nutrients for keeping wild birds healthy. Sometimes people call them granules but they are the same thing! These grains are suitable for feeding to all garden birds and are safe to feed during the breeding season. A little-known fact - We use peanut grains in a fair few of our mixes to bring a larger variety of birds to your feeders.
It is also worth noting that peanuts can go mouldy in hot, damp weather so they need to be checked often. Signs of black mould or darkening colour indicate the peanuts are no longer edible. The best idea is to offer only as many peanuts that can be eaten in a few days. Supplement peanuts with seeds that the local birds prefer to offer a well-rounded diet. You should never feed salted nuts of any kind to wild birds as long-term ingestion of salt will kill them.
People have fed birds for many years simply for their own pleasure, but there is more to it than that. The massive loss of habitat in the countryside has meant that birds have retreated back to where there is still food - surviving hedgerows, nature reserves and privately owned wildlife friendly areas – of which gardens form the major part.
The best wildlife gardens are those that provide a wide range of natural foods, shelter and water. But even these struggle to support the numbers of birds attracted to gardens in winter. By supplementing their diets with extra food, you are helping to maintain a high proportion of wild birds in your garden, especially through the cold winter month.
Don't forget that throughout January 2019 you can try feeding peanuts for much less! Spend £20 on your order and trigger the offer below in your basket.
This article was written by Hilary Wiles. If you have any questions or queries about the article you can email contact Hilary by email on firstname.lastname@example.org