Storing Bird Food
The cheapest way to buy bird food is in bulk and although it can last for up to a year you need to store it correctly to make sure that it doesn’t go off. Bird food that has gone bad will not only be unappetizing to birds but it could also be harmful or even fatal.
Bird food such as sunflower seeds, cracked corn and peanuts are not only attractive to the birds in your garden but are also enjoyed by insects, rodents and other pests. If you don’t store seed correctly it can also begin to rot and develop mould or mildew. Bird food that is stored well is also easier to handle making refilling your feeders a simple task.
Store your bird food in suitable containers. Smaller containers are easy to carry to many feeders while larger containers will hold more seed. You can buy special bird seed storage containers or alternatively heavy duty plastic bags, sturdy plastic boxes or metal canisters would also be suitable. Make sure that metal containers are galvanised so they don’t rust and that any containers you use are resistant to rodent damage.
Make sure the storage containers can be sealed tightly to stop insects and rodents getting to the food. They also need to be watertight to minimise the risk of mould and mildew. Store your bird food containers in a cool, dry place such as a garage or shed. If you use a number of different types of bird food label the containers and add the date of purchase.
If the birds in your garden stop eating the food you put out for them it could be a sign it has gone off. Check the bird food for visible signs of insects including dead carcasses, larvae, webs and other debris.
A strong, musty odor would suggest mould or mildew. Sift the seed and remove any large clumps that have become damp. If your seed starts to sprout that is another sign that it has got wet and will need to be thrown away.
After disposing of any seed that cannot be used thoroughly wash and disinfect the container it was stored in before refilling. Check also that that nearby food hasn’t been affected.
Never use pesticides or toxic sprays near bird food containers to eliminate pests as these can be harmful to birds. Move the bird food to a different place until you have eliminated the problem.
Rotate your bird food stocks regularly to ensure that the oldest seed is used up first and buy food in reasonable quantities that you know your birds will eat.
You can find some bird food storage containers available to buy online here.