How to stop birds from eating grass seed

Written by martha burg
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How to stop birds from eating grass seed
Grass seed needs protection from birds until it sprouts. (two birds image by Sandra Henderson from

One goal of most homeowners is cultivating a green, thick lawn. Planting grass seed is an affordable alternative to creating a lawn with farm-grown sod. Grass seed can be used to start an entire yard or to cover bare spots on an established yard. Birds love grass seed and will gather to feed on your newly planted seed, sometimes in great numbers. There are some tricks you can use to keep the birds from devouring your grass seed.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bird netting
  • 2 or 3 bales of straw
  • Coloured ribbons
  • Wooden or metal stakes, 3 to 6 feet
  • Aluminium pie pans

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  1. 1

    Cover the seed with bird netting to keep away the birds. Bird netting and the stakes needed to hold it are available at garden centres and hardware stores; the netting is sold by the yard. This netting attaches to stakes and will allow the sun and water to reach your seeds but not the birds.

  2. 2

    Order several bales of straw from a farm supply store. Spread the straw over the grass seed a few inches thick. Use as a natural cover to protect your newly seeded lawn from birds. The straw will gradually disappear as you mow and care for your new lawn.

  3. 3

    Tie long coloured cloth strips or ribbons to stakes placed in the newly seeded area. The stakes can be wooden or metal and stand 3 to 6 feet high. Wind blowing the cloths or ribbons will startle the birds and chase them away. This will only last a short while until the birds get used to it.

  4. 4

    Tie several aluminium pie pans together on a tree limb or stake near the planted area. The noise and bright movement of the pans will startle the birds and keep them away. This is not an attractive method, but it is only needed for four weeks at the most.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure to use straw and not hay to cover your seeded areas. Hay will have seeds that may sprout along with your grass seed.
  • Grass seed germinates in five to 30 days depending on the type of seed and conditions. After germination, birds will no longer be attracted to it.

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