How to Prevent Bird Seed From Sprouting

Written by jamie conrad
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How to Prevent Bird Seed From Sprouting
Bird feeders are fun but make a mess with scattered and sprouting bird seed. (bird feeder image by tomcat2170 from

Adding a bird feeder to your garden provides character and entertainment. You, your family, your guests and even your pets can enjoy hours watching all the wild birds nibbling at the seeds in your bird feeder. There is even a chance that your bird feeder will get so popular that you can't keep enough seeds in it to satisfy all of your hungry avian guests. While that is a problem, it can also be a problem when the spilt seeds from your bird feeder begin to sprout and introduce unwanted plants to your garden. There are simple ways to prevent this from happening, however, and with a little effort you can keep your bird feeder and maintain a neat garden at the same time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rake
  • Shop vacuum
  • Tray and screws/glue
  • Black oil sunflower seed
  • Sunflower chips

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  1. 1

    Rake the ground beneath the bird feeder once a week to clean up any seeds the birds scattered on the ground. This also rakes up and removes any newly sprouted seeds before they take hold in the ground.

  2. 2

    Vacuum the area under the bird feeder weekly (or more often if you prefer) using a shop vacuum to clear the area of any spilt seeds that may sprout on the ground.

  3. 3

    Attach a tray to your bird feeder to catch any seeds that are thrown out of the feeder by the birds. Make sure that the tray is slightly larger than the feeder itself (otherwise it won't catch the seeds) and attach it with screws or glue.

  4. 4

    Fill your bird feeder with black oil sunflower seeds, as almost all birds love it and won't leave any behind to sprout. If you fill the feeder with sunflower chips (the hulless version of black oil sunflower seeds), birds will consume it so completely that very little seed will be left behind to sprout.

Tips and warnings

  • Black oil sunflower seeds or sunflower chips can be purchased anywhere bird feeders are sold, in feed stores or online.
  • Sunflower chips can be expensive, but if you are seriously concerned with preventing bird seed from sprouting, the investment is worth it.

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