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How to Prevent Bird Seed From Germinating

Backyard bird-watching is a popular hobby and outdoor bird feeders are abundant. A well-stocked bird feeder will attract numerous species of birds to gather where families can enjoy watching them. But along with the peacefulness this pastime can provide, there can be a disadvantage: Birdseed may scatter and germinate, leaving sprouts amid your manicured landscape. Fortunately, this undesirable result can be avoided with a little planning.

Feeding Method

  • Select a bird feeder that features a tray for catching wayward seeds.
  • Use only an adequate amount of birdseed so that the birds don’t scatter it about.

Select a bird feeder that features a tray for catching wayward seeds. Alternatively, a tray attachment can be installed to existing bird feeders not already equipped for catching seeds. The objective here is to keep the seeds from falling to the ground in the first place.

Dispense the birdseed sparingly. Use only an adequate amount of birdseed so that the birds don’t scatter it about. If excess seed is provided, ground-feeding birds will not consume all the seeds and the remaining seeds may sprout.

Remove any residual seeds that have fallen to the ground. Leaving fallen seeds behind may lead to sprouting.

Seed Type

  • Nyjer seed is sterilized prior to being imported into the United States and is incapable of germinating.
  • Not only does this not prevent germination, but it may cause the nutritional value of the seeds to be diminished.

Nyjer seed is sterilized prior to being imported into the United States and is incapable of germinating. However, nyjer seed attracts a limited number of bird species, so other options might be necessary if your goal is to attract a wide variety of birds.

Steer away from inexpensive seed mixes, as birds may avoid brands that contain significant amounts of filler seed.

A common misconception is that germination can be halted in seeds by heating them to high temperatures in an oven or microwave. Not only does this not prevent germination, but it may cause the nutritional value of the seeds to be diminished.

Prevent Birdseed From Germinating

Mount a catching tray underneath your feeder. Stabilize your feeder if it swings easily in the wind and dumps birdseed onto the ground. Use twine to anchor the feeder to the pole or a nearby branch. Choose a low-waste, no-mess birdseed blend. Sweep underneath your feeder each day if you provide a less expensive birdseed mix that includes shells or filler seeds such as red millet. Spilled seed won't be able to germinate on the hard surface, and it's easy to sweep clean.

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