Cracked corn is a fantastic bird feed when looking for an affordable yet healthy alternative for birds. Unfortunately, this readily available nutritious bird meal is often overlooked as a poor filler. In fact, it is packed with many benefits, including being protein-rich. Moreover, birds find it easy to feed on and digest because of their convenient size.
However, not all birds would prefer this excellent snack. So, what type of birds are we talking about? The birds we are referring to are small and ground-feeding. A few examples include doves, house sparrows, ducks, and quails.
To know more about what other birds eat cracked corn, how to offer them as feeds, and more, stay tuned!
Cracked corn: What is it?
You are correct if you have imagined cracked corn as broken pieces of corn kernels. The best way to describe cracked corn is when seeds from whole corn are dried and then crushed into smaller pieces. This makes it easier for birds to eat.
Birds that eat cracked corn are smaller and the ground-feeding species, who love them for their easily chewable size.
Cracked corn is an easy and inexpensive protein-packed food that provides enough energy to the birds. However, if you expect wholesome nutrition from this feed alone, you may be slightly disappointed. To boost nutrition, you must include other seeds as well.
What Kind of Birds Eat Cracked Corn?
Here’s a quick look at the list of birds that enjoy eating cracked corn,
- Native & House Sparrows
- Turkey / Wild turkeys
- Canyon, California, eastern, and spotted towhees
- Gambel’s, Mountain, and California quail
- Northern bobwhites
- Northern cardinals
- White-winged doves & Eurasian collared doves
- Red junglefowl
- Yellow-headed blackbirds & red-winged blackbirds
- Rock pigeons
- Mexican, green, gray, Steller’s, and western scrub jays
- Dark-eyed juncos
- Mallards and other duck species
- Ring-necked pheasants
How to Prepare Cracked Corn For Birds?
It is crucial how you prepare cracked corn for your birds. Because, firstly, birds that eat cracked corn are relatively small in size. Also, it would be best if you fulfilled their nutrition requirements.
The first idea is where you pick readily available cracked corn in the market. Next, you must consider the size. Smaller birds may not be able to eat the coarser ones. Thus, find a size that is small but not powdery. Moreover, please do not buy the dyed red ones, as they are meant for planting only and are dangerous to consume.
If you want to prepare cracked corn from scratch, get dried corn cob from the market. Start with shelling the corn and then remove the kernels.
Next, using a grinder, grind the kernels. Make sure the corn is either crushed into smaller chunks or coarse chunks. In case you do not have a grinder, break them manually. Put the corn kernels in a closed plastic bag. Now, use a hammer to gently break them into smaller pieces.
When offering cracked corn to the birds, you may serve it alone or mix it with other seeds. Keep the portion of corn to a minimum.
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In addition, more than crack corn is needed to provide enough nutrition. Therefore, add other types of seeds. Finally, limit the crack corn to avoid unnecessary attraction from other wild animals.
Tip: If you buy large quantities of dried corn cob and will only use some, store them appropriately for future use. Keep the corn on the whole cobs to avoid early rotting.
How to Feed Cracked Corn to Birds?
The fact that ground-feeding bird species favor cracked corn tells us that sprinkling them on the ground is the best way to serve them. It can be on an open area, dirt, gravel, or short grasses.
Alternatively, you can serve cracked corn on a raised platform or deck. Opt for tray feeders in such cases. It will draw birds who prefer open trays or raised tables for eating.
Choose either smaller or coarse grains according to preference and the size of the bird species. Plus, avoid using tube feeders as they can hold moisture.
Some birds are secretive, such as quails or Towhees. For them, place the cracked corn under small bushes or shrubs or roofed feeders.
Furthermore, offer cracked corn in small amounts at a time. Keeping them in one place for a long time may cause their texture or taste to degrade.
In addition, there are specific types of corn you should refrain from serving to the birds. Firstly, the buttered popcorn or instant popcorn humans eat. They spoil quickly, and the flavors are not suitable for bird feed.
Secondly, avoid corn that is red-dyed. They are intended for planting and are treated with fungicides, making them highly toxic.
Some additional tips for feeding cracked corn,
- Do not let the corn get wet.
- Provide only enough corn for one day on humid or rainy days.
- Remove the uneaten corn regularly.
Cracked Corn or Whole Corn – Which is Better for Birds?
You might wonder why we should bother giving crack corn when we could provide whole corn instead. Yes, we can offer whole corn to the birds. However, it may not be suitable for all types of tiny bird species. They may be difficult to break, chew, swallow, or digest.
In contrast, whole corn is more appropriate for medium to more giant bird species. Chicken is one such bird that prefers whole grain over cracked ones.
Besides, whole corn may have a higher nutritional value than broken corn. Yet, whole corn contains hull or cob, which many birds would have difficulty digesting.
So, if you need clarification about whether to choose cracked or whole corn, decide based on your bird species and their preferences.
How Can I Attract Birds Using Cracked Corn?
Using cracked corn to attract birds requires knowing what birds eat cracked corn and serving it accordingly. It would help if you made sure the feed is easily noticeable. And once they find the spot, it should be easy for them to eat.
To draw attention to cracked corn, you may spread it on a specific area on the ground. This would easily attract the ground-feeding species.
For the ones that prefer feeding from a high place, you can arrange the cracked corn on a raised platform or tray. Moreover, place the cracked corn in a hideout under the bush to appeal to timid species.
Simply put, it depends on the type of birds that eat cracked corn and offering an appropriate setup that appeals to them.
Birds that eat cracked corn are usually the ones that are small or ground-feeding. It is easy for them to eat these bite-size snacks and digest them. However, it does not necessarily mean that large birds won’t enjoy cracked corn.
Nevertheless, since they lack the overall nutrition needed for a bird, add other seeds. This is likely to help attract even the birds that do not prefer cracked corn.
FAQs About What Birds Eat Cracked Corn
Do all birds like cracked corn?
Not all birds would prefer cracked corn. Some birds may like it as a whole, while others may not even bother to eat it. Cracked corn is picked mainly by ground-feeding and small birds. Again, some birds do not eat the coarse cracked corn but prefer smaller pieces.
Is cracked corn good for all birds?
Cracked corn could feed many birds well but might only be suitable for some. In fact, a lot of birds may not be fond of it. Also, more than crack corn is needed to provide all the nutrition a bird needs. Therefore, you may also need to add other seeds to boost the nutritional value.
Can birds eat dried corn kernels?
Yes, birds can eat dried corn kernels. As a matter of fact, cracked corn is made from dried corn. However, consider the size of the corn or the cracked ones. You should not provide whole corn but cracked corn in smaller sizes for smaller birds. It can be dried. Alternatively, for larger birds, give cracked corn that is a bit coarse or whole corn that has been dried.
I’m Shajid Rahman, founder of Birding Outside. I share my birding knowledge through my website to help others learn about birds. I use simple language so it’s easy to understand. My goal is to get more people excited about birds like I am by teaching about these special creatures. I want to spread bird love!