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does bird seed go bad?

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does bird seed go bad?

Postby cute hat » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:03 pm

I'm in the process of spring cleaning and came across a partially used 40# sack of birdseed in my basement that has been there a couple years. Any chance it could harm the birdies if it were to be used? I'd like to give it to someone who has bird-feeers (I don't; the seed was in a bunch of stuff I cleared out from my parents house after my father died), but I'd hate to be responsible for the Great Songbird Die-Off of 2011. Otherwise, I could put it in my compost bin, I suppose. I just don't want it to go into a landfill.
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Re: does bird seed go bad?

Postby barney » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:19 pm

Does it smell moldy? Notice any off color or texture? (Could indicate fungus)

If it's spoiled, they won't eat it. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Re: does bird seed go bad?

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:26 pm

As barney says, it can go moldy. How dry does the basement stay throughout the years? Is the partial bag sealed up tight?
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Re: does bird seed go bad?

Postby snoqueen » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:34 pm

Moldy stuff does harm birds. Apparently if they're hungry they'll eat it regardless, and die-offs have been attributed to moldy feed. You're also supposed to clean out your bird feeder regularly (if you have one) and apply bleach to get rid of mold and fungus.
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Re: does bird seed go bad?

Postby cute hat » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:42 pm

Thanks, Sno. I think you have to bleach the feeders to sanitize from birdy-borne disease rather than spoiled seed, but maybe the safest thing to do is throw it in the compost bin. Mold can't harm that, can it? I don't have to treat it like toxic waste, do I?
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Re: does bird seed go bad?

Postby roadkill bill » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:06 pm

The compost bin is the best place for old seed. Mold is the friend of compost and vice versa. You'll probably see some of the seeds sprout, but that's OK. They will disappear into the compost quickly.
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Re: does bird seed go bad?

Postby barney » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:07 pm

Sorry, I should have been more specific - yes, mold and fungus are harmful as sno said.

By "spoiled", I meant rancid. I don't think there's any problem with composting it, but others probably know more.
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Re: does bird seed go bad?

Postby theozman » Sun May 01, 2011 11:03 pm

As a bird lover, (I have a cockatiel---resides on cage but not locked in a cage, can get in and out), I am happy to see that you have taken the trouble to ask about old bird seed. While I don't know the answer, I would think mold might be bad for some songbirds. I keep my seed fresh and enjoy all the attention the birds give my feeder. The fact that you care about wildlife in this way makes me believe you are a good person. I would err on the side of caution and get rid of it. Also, it was good advice to clean the bird feeder occasionally.
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Re: does bird seed go bad?

Postby Carol » Fri May 13, 2011 2:08 pm

If it's moldy, give it to the squirrels. :wink:
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