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Keeping Bird Seed Fresh and Healthy for the Birds

Keeping Bird Seed Fresh and Healthy for the Birds

By Wild Birds Unlimited
Photograph courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited

Fresh, top quality food is the foundation for successful backyard bird feeding. Under normal storage and use conditions, seed will stay fresh and healthy for birds until it is completely consumed. However, unusually wet or humid conditions or periods of slow bird activity can potentially cause bird food to deteriorate or spoil.

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The following recommendations will help ensure the food you provide will always be healthy and nutritious:

  • Always store your seed in a cool and dry location.
  • Store seed in rodent and insect proof containers.
  • If seed containers are kept outdoors, secure the lids so animals cannot get in and contaminate the seed.
  • Never mix old seed with new seed.
  • During periods of warm weather, store no more than a two-week supply of seed at a time. Four weeks in cool weather.
  • Keep your bird feeders filled with a one or two-day supply of seed to ensure it is eaten quickly and stays fresh.
  • Discard moldy, rancid or foul smelling seed, because it can be a health hazard to birds.

A Note About Bugs

Any seed can become infested with grain moths and weevils. While this is not a preferable situation, it does not mean the seed is unfit for use. In fact, the insects will be eagerly consumed by many of the birds at your feeders. Should your seed become infested, be sure to store the seed outdoors, not inside your house or attached garage. If you wish to eliminate the bugs in your remaining seed, place it in a freezer for five days. For ease of use, divide your seed into smaller baggies and remove one from the freezer the day before you intend to use it.

Thoroughly clean your storage containers before refilling with fresh seed.

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