As the popularity of keeping domesticated birds as pets as well as feeding their local wild birds in their area keeps increasing, the number of questions that we see from the community about what they can feed birds is also increasing. We see many different questions about a wide range of different potential foods but we have seen a number of people asking about if birds eat maggots or not.
There is a huge amount of confusion when it comes to feeding birds maggots with much of the advice that you see on social media being a number of different correct pieces of information mixed together in a way that ends up making them incorrect. Although birds can eat maggots, it does not mean that you should actively feed maggots to birds, especially a domesticated bird with mealworms usually being a superior option in every way.
Still, the number of questions that we see from the community about feeding birds maggots is only increasing as time goes on and with so much of the information online about feeding birds maggots being incorrect or misunderstood, we decided that we wanted to publish our own article on the topic. We will be going over when you can and when you can’t feed birds maggots as well as answer the related questions that we commonly see the community asking with our table of contents below making it as easy as possible to navigate the article.
Do Birds Eat Maggots?
Many species of wild birds will eat maggots as a part of their natural diet but these are natural maggots that have a natural diet so they actually offer the birds a good nutritional profile. Although domesticated birds will eat maggots, there are usually much better food sources available for them that you should try to use instead of maggots with commercially produced maggots often not being suitable for birds in their normal state.
In our opinion, the best alternative to maggots that you can feed your pet birds by far are mealworms and they are a much better option for domesticated birds. Not only are they raised on vegetables reducing the chance of illness but they often have a better nutritional profile than commercially produced maggots.
The majority of commercially produced maggots are fed offal and other low quality cuts of meat and although these can be fine, it can increase the chances of commercially produced maggots having potential problems. In addition to that, some commercially produced maggots are also dyed to change their color with these dyed also potentially causing problems in yours pet bird.
Should You Feed Maggots To Domesticated Birds?
Although domesticated birds can and will eat maggots if you give maggots to your pet birds, it does not mean that you should give your birds maggots. There are usually much better food options available for domesticated birds that are safer and offer a better nutritional profile that are often cheaper than maggots too.
This is why we would always recommend that you use mealworms instead of maggots and only use the mealworms as a supplementary treat for a high-quality bird food. Be sure to do your research for the specific species of bird that you keep though as some exotic domesticated birds should not be given maggots or mealworms.
We know that some people keep domesticated birds that are native to their local area as pets such as pigeons and although many species of wild pigeon can and will eat wild maggots, it does not mean that you should feed domesticated pigeons maggots. As we touched on above, commercially produced maggots are usually not high quality when it comes to the needs of birds as they are produced for reptile and fish consumption and domesticated birds develop their own digestive gut bacteria that optimizes for normal bird feed.
Should You Feed Maggots To Wild Birds?
You are able to feed wild birds maggots but it can be difficult to find suitable maggots that you can feed to birds. Any maggot you feed to a wild bird that has been commercially produced should be white and free from dye, not have the visible black food sack showing, and not be turning into crysalis when you initially get them.
Provided a maggot is not dyed and does not have its black food sack showing under its pale skin, you are usually good and can feed them to wild birds. You can also feed maggots going into the crysalis stage to wild birds provided they are fed to the birds within days of this phase of the maggots life starting. The issues with purchasing maggots that are already in the crysalis stage is that toxins usually start to build up after around three to four days of the crysalis stage that can cause digestive upset in the birds.
Some people who are keen on feeding the wild birds in their local area have started to set up their own maggot breeding systems to provide a constant supply of healthy maggots for their local birds. Although this is the best option to take if you are set on feeding your local birds maggots, you can often just pick up a pack of mealworms and be done with it.
That brings our article going over if birds eat maggots or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you understand when you can and when you can’t feed birds maggots and that there are a number of better alternatives to maggots available. If you are keeping a domesticated pet bird then we just wouldn’t recommend that you feed it maggots at all for the most part. If you are feeding the wild birds in your local area then maggots can work well provided the meet the required criteria above.