Some of us may find ourselves buying bird seed in bulk, or even
thinking about doing so. If you know how to store your bird's
seed properly, that will then ensure that your supplies will be
fresh and nutritious for the birds.
that may arise with seed not stored properly includes mold
and mildew that can be dangerous and sometimes fatal.
Seed can begin to rot also, so storing it in a safe and secure
way will eliminate these problems.
Here are some things to do:
Containers: Choose appropriate sized containers for your
birdseed storage needs. Smaller containers are easier to
move if you need to carry them to many feeders, while larger
containers will hold a greater quantity of seed. Heavy duty
plastic zip bags, sturdy plastic bins and galvanized metal cans
are popular birdseed storage containers.
Durability: Choose containers made from sturdy materials
that will not chip, crack or break over time. If using meta
l containers, be sure they are galvanized and will not rust.
Sturdier containers are also resistant to rodent damage.
Lids: All storage containers should be able to seal tightly
to prevent insects and rodents from accessing the seed.
Watertight lids are also desirable to minimize the risk of mold.
Location: Store birdseed containers in a convenient location
for refilling feeders to make it an easy and efficient task. Dependin
on where your feeders are located, a garage, shed, patio storage
box or other location may be suitable. Seed stored in a dry, shaded
area will typically last longer.
Labels: If you use several different types of birdseed for different
types of feeders, label which seeds go with which feeders or choose
clear or see-thru containers. This will help you refill specific feeders quickly
and easily, and can be useful if other individuals also refill the feeders.
Checking for Bad Seed
The biggest clue that your birdseed supply may be unsuitable
is if the birds no longer eat it. If you notice one particular type
of birdseed that is going uneaten for long periods, the seed may be bad.
Visually inspect the seed for signs of insects, including
live or dead insects, larvae, webbing or other debris. Sift through
the seed to discover if an infestation is present throughout the
stored seed. Spoiled seed gets weevils.
Sniff the seed for hints of mold and mildew. These will be strong,
musty odors that indicate unwelcome growth in the seed.
Sift the seed for signs of clumping or dampness. Seed that is caked
has been wet and is now unsuitable for bird consumption.
Sprouting seed is another sign of unwelcome moisture.
Check the sides and bottoms of storage containers for signs of
rodent infestations, including bite or chewing marks, spilled seed,
tracks or fec-es.
If birdseed has been infested by insects or mildew, it must be
disposed of. Throw out the seed in a bag or container out of
reach of birds and other pests, and thoroughly wash, disinfect
and dry the storage container before refilling it with fresh seed.
If the container itself has been damaged, repair or replace it before
To keep the birds safe, never use pesticides or other toxic sprays or
chemicals near birdseed storage containers in an effort to eradicate
pests. Instead, move the birdseed to a different storage location until
the pest problem has been eliminated.
How Long Can Birdseed Last?
Properly stored, birdseed can last well over a year without
becoming unsuitable for the birds. Rotate your seed stocks regularly
to ensure you are always using the oldest seeds first, and buy seeds
in reasonable quantities for the appetites of your backyard birds to
always keep the feeders safely filled with fresh and delicious treats.
The fridge is a great option. If I have anything that I can't use in a month or less, I refrigerate or freeze it.
Just wanted to add that for organic seeds or seeds without any preservatives, it typically will last much shorter-- about 6 months in the freezer and only 2-3 in the fridge. Harrison's pellets have a shelf life of only 4-6 weeks even when refrigerated.
Rest in Peace, Theodore. -- Charles, Sabrina, and Lola