Peanuts are one of the nature’s most nutritious and delicious nuts. It is often the case that when people start eating peanuts, it becomes quite difficult to stop due to their unique blend of earthy/creamy/crunchy aroma on top of the enticing and addicting smell.
Besides tasting fantastic, peanuts are also exceptionally nutritional in all categories. Per 100g of peanuts you get 26g of protein, 49g of fat (of which the bulk is healthy monounsaturated fat), and only 7.6g of harmful carbs, which makes them an excellent candidate for keto and paleo diets.
The vitamin count, per 100g, is outstanding:
|VITAMIN||AMOUNT||%DAILY VALUE (DV)|
|Vitamin E||8.3 mg||42%|
|Vitamin B6||0.3 mg||17%|
|Pantothenic Acid||1.8 mg||18%|
And the amount of minerals you can get from peanuts, per just 100g, is equally impressive:
|MINERAL||AMOUNT||%DAILY VALUE (DV)|
In short, when you compare peanuts with any other food item you will rarely see such dense nutritional packing. As such, they are a perfect food for birds because even small amounts will have huge nutritional value for them. Most birds on the North American continent will enjoy eating peanuts, some of which are: towhees, grackles, crows, jays, ravens, woodpeckers, northern cardinals, dark-eyed juncos, pyrrhuloxia, titmice, tits, chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, doves.
How to Convert Peanuts to Peanut Butter
You may have noticed that raw peanuts in their shells are much less expensive than even de-shelled and salted peanuts, let alone peanut butter. So, by buying peanuts in bulk and in their whole form you will save quite a lot of money, whether you eat it for yourself, or use it as bird feed.
Always remember – the larger the packing, the lesser the price will be per unit!
When it comes to converting peanuts to butter, nothing could be simpler and quicker. Note that there is a reason why the words ‘butter’ and ‘batter’ are only one letter apart. They both depict a mass you get from blending something, and that is exactly how you get a peanut butter.
Depending on how long you blend your de-shelled peanuts in your regular food processor or a blender, you can either get a smooth peanut butter or a crunchy one. Both are fine for birds, and it depends merely on how you want to apply the butter to their feeders.
One cautionary note though, if you opt to buy already de-shelled peanuts, make sure to get the unsalted ones, along with not roasted, not oiled, or anything else added or done to them. Humans can process salt without much issue (in moderation), but high quantities of salt you can find in salted peanuts will be dangerous for birds.
The most cost-effective way to buy peanuts is to opt for the ones explicitly labeled for birds; they also come in the largest packaging.
Why Even Bother with Peanut Butter?
For three major reasons:
- Bird seeds are generally less nutritious than peanuts.
- Whole peanuts are only suitable for larger birds.
- Peanuts themselves will attract more birds.
If you only have larger birds in your area, like ravens, jays, crows, grackles, and woodpeckers, then you should just add the whole peanuts to their regular bird feeder. But if you want to make a universal peanut butter bird feed, there are several methods you can try.
How to Apply Peanut Butter
Before you go applying the peanut butter, keep in mind that oils in peanuts accelerate their decay, and if it is humid or warm, they can go rancid and moldy pretty quick. So, be careful how much peanut butter you add.
Also, the peanut oil can stain wood and similar permeable surfaces, so make sure to avoid fences and other objects you don’t want to permanently stain.
The easiest way to apply peanut butter is to:
- Make small balls of peanut butter.
- Roll them in your regular bird seed until they are all firmly stuck.
- If needed, additionally divide the rolled birdseed/peanut butter balls into smaller ones.
Deposit the balls into their usual, platformed bird feeders, preferably out of reach of squirrels. This method is very easy, quick, convenient, and you are not left with a mess to clean up after each feeding frenzy.
Another good method to try requires slightly more effort, but is great for hanging bird treats:
- Get a used paper towel tube.
- Spread the peanut butter on the paper towel tube.
- Role the tube on a plate filed with birdseed.
Guide a rope/string through the tube and hang it where you think it’s best, and especially consider if rapacious squirrels will be able to reach it.
Addressing Some Unfounded Myths
Whenever a novelty is introduced into any tradition, you get wild imagination going out of control: are peanuts really healthy, are they too sticky, etc.
We have already addressed the health aspect, and what kind of peanuts you should and should not use for bird feed.
The stickiness part refers to the chance of birds getting choked on the peanut butter, or if it can affect their feathers to the point of reducing their ability of flight.
The former concern about choking has never once been documented or verified, but you can always further decrease that far off possibility by adding dry cornmeal or oatmeal into the mix, so the final mass is crumblier.
The latter concern about feather contact and peanut butter stickiness would only be possible if the birds literally roll in it, which has also not been observed with any practitioners of peanut butter feed. Additionally, birds regularly engage in preening, which would remove such eventuality anyway.
With those concerns out of the way, enjoy your new-found way of making your birds healthier than they have ever been!