Sterilizing birdseed by baking or microwaving it will prevent sprouting, but some bird enthusiasts think that doing this destroys the seed’s nutrients. If you want to try this method, spread the seed out in a single layer on a cookie tray, and then bake in the oven for eight to 10 minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, put birdseed in a paper sack and microwave for five minutes.
When wild birds dine at your feeder, they inevitably drop seeds on the soil below. Birdseed, usually a mixture of sunflower, safflower, corn and millet seeds, will germinate readily if not cleaned up after the birds finish their meal. Sprouting birdseed pops up like weeds anywhere it lands, including your flowerbed or vegetable garden. If you’re sick of the mess, you don’t need to take down your bird feeder just yet. By taking a few precautions at the feeder, you can stop seeds from sprouting where you don’t want them.
Pick up dropped seeds by hand after birds finish eating, or sweep them up with a small hand-held vacuum cleaner.
Things You Will Need
Fill the feeder with as much seed as you know birds will eat within a day or two. If you overfill the feeder, birds will knock the extra seeds to the ground.
Tarp or birdseed catcher
Hand-held vacuum cleaner
Stabilize the feeder if it hangs and sways in the wind. Mount the feeder on a pole, or set it on a stable surface, such as a table. If you prefer a hanging feeder, buy a sturdy hook that won’t bend or shake on windy days.
Why is milo in bird seed? Chickens like it in chicken scratch. It is very cheap and the bird seed manufacturers already use it. Some bird seed is more than 50% milo. It ends up growing in your lawn.
Birds that like to eat from platform feeders, like sparrows and towhees, naturally kick the ground with both feet at once in a kind of hop-kick. They do this on the ground to dig up the soil and turn over leaves. They do this in the feeder, too. They can’t help themselves.
The inedible hulls of the sunflower seeds that the birds “spit out” have a natural chemical that keeps most other plant seeds from germinating. Thus, the ground under your feeder is often bare of grass.
Tip 7) Stop your bird feeders from swinging
In 2001 the USDA required imported Niger seed for birds to be sterilized for 15 minutes at 120˚ C (248˚ F). This sterilizes the seeds.
Perhaps there’s an area at the edge of your lawn that you can let go to dirt. This can be under some evergreen bushes. It could be at the edge of a “wild” area.
A low platform feeder doesn’t stop the amount of bird seeds kicked out. But it does help keep it confined to a smaller area. Then those ground-feeding birds can locate the spilled seeds easier and eat more of it up from the ground.
The Niger seed is the only bird seed you are likely to find that has been sterilized. But you can sterilize your own bird seed the very same way. Baking bird seed will stop it from sprouting.