What You Can Do With Old Bird Seed

You can use old bird seed in your garden as compost, or you can share it with wild birds and squirrels. Before setting out the seed, it is important to check the seed for mold or insects. If the bird seed has mold, composting will be the best solution.

Everything fades away. That includes your birds’ food. If you act quickly, you can take advantage of some of these great uses of old bird seed. And there’s no need to worry if it’s already too late for most seeds. We have some solutions for even the moldiest of bird seeds.

Start With the Bird Seed

Look at your bird seed. Check for an expiration date and determine the condition of the bird seed by taking a couple different scoops and analyzing them for inconsistencies in texture, color, and smell. You can put it to use if it is not expired and has no discolorations or strange odors.

How Old Is Too Old?

What if the bird seed is just a bit over the expiration date? Again, carefully empty the bird food into a container and spend some time looking through it.

Mold can be very hazardous for birds. Like most animals, mold should not be consumed and digested outside of controlled environments.

Birds are more attracted to the feeder if the food looks new and fresh. Keep that in mind when deciding what you will do with your old bird seed.

Picking Through Seed

After making sure that the bird food is not in an undesirable state, take the seed that you intend to reuse (for edible purposes) and pick through it.

This might be a little tedious, but it is a good way to ensure that you know exactly what is being fed to the birds. You never know when something might be hiding in the bird food. If it isn’t worth it to you, there are other things that can be done.

Uses for Old Bird Seed

It’s a good habit to not be wasteful. Some old bird seed might be hidden in the corner of the garage, never to be found again, or it might be thrown away before it is used.

Thankfully, you can use the bird food for composting, as a treat, or preserving it to lengthen the lifespan of the seed. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that the longer you wait, the less likely it is to be edible.

Bird Feed

The first thing we want to use old bird seeds for is feeding birds! This is only after we have inspected the bird seed, of course. If no mold or infestations are found in the bird food, it is ready to go.

Take whatever precautions necessary to ensure the food is completely safe. To illustrate this, you could wash the seed, dry it, and immediately leave it out for the birds to eat. There is a chance the birds will not take an interest if the taste has already deteriorated.


Whether being proactive or reactive, deciding to store and preserve old or new seed is an investment of its own.

If the seed is suitable for use despite its age, you might be interested in prolonging the seed’s life for future projects or even additions to your bird family.

Here is another use for the freezer in our handling of old bird seed. Wash, dry, and place in a stable-temperature freezer. Check the seed after it has completely frozen and ensure there is no freezer burn.

Continue to inspect the seeds before use. You might not get to freeze the seeds a second time if mold is able to move in faster than you can use it.


Got mold? Bugs? This means your bird seed is too old and should be returned to the ground. In this case, composting might be your best option.

Bird seed can be composted in your garden to provide many vitamins and minerals to the soil. This could make the soil very nutrient-rich and make your garden full of life! It’s as simple as digging a hole and dumping the seeds in it.


But what if you don’t have a garden? If you cannot use your bird seed for composting, then disposing of it is not a bad idea either (especially if it contains mold and insects). This could keep birds from eating bad food and getting sick.

Be Mindful When Feeding Birds Old Seed

Did the birds stop coming around? If you notice the birds are not fond of the old bird food, consider changing it and putting out fresh food. Some bird species prefer fresh food and won’t consume older food.

Once you replace it, they should start coming back for seeds. Then you can resume your bird watching, photo taking, or mediation with bird chirps in the background.

If you can reuse your bird seed, why not do it? Being wasteless and putting old bird seeds to use could make your wallet happy, birds happy, and provide you with a luscious gardening season.

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