A budgie beside a bird food container.

Does Bird Food Expire? (What You Need to Know?​​​​​)

Bird food is an important part of keeping your feathered friend healthy and happy. When it comes to feeding, many of us have questions. How long does bird food last for? Where, and how, should I store it to keep it fresh? And, how can I tell when it’s questionable?

Well, in this article we cover everything you need to know about the shelf life of bird food, so you can make sure your bird is getting the best nutrition possible.

Does bird food expire?

Yes, birdseed can expire. The expiration date on a bag of birdseed is typically one or two years after the date of manufacture, but it’s best to use it within six months to a year.

The seeds will lose their nutritional value and may contain harmful bacteria if they’re stored for too long. It’s also important to keep birdseed dry, as moisture can cause it to spoil. The length of time it lasts depends on the type of seed and how it is stored.

Sunflower seeds, for example, will last about 12 months if they are stored in a cool, dry place. However, if they are exposed to heat or humidity, they will spoil in a month or less. Some bird food can last up to two years if it is stored properly.

How to tell if bird seed has gone bad?

Bird seed can last for a while as long as it’s stored in a cool, dry place. However, if the bird seed has been exposed to moisture or is past the expiration date, then it may have gone bad.

There are several ways to tell if bird seed has gone bad, one way to test this is by smell. If the bird seed smells musty or like it has been wet, then it is likely that it has gone bad. Another way to test for spoilage is by looking at the seed itself.

If the seed is discolored or if there is any evidence of mold or signs of decay, then it is probably not safe to feed to birds. It is also a good idea to avoid feeding old bird seed to birds, as it can be harmful and should be discarded.

How long does bird seed last in the feeder?

Birds are attracted to different types of bird seed. In order to keep the birds coming, it is important to keep the bird feeder full. How long does bird seed last in a feeder? Most experts say that bird seed will stay fresh between 5 and 7 days.

If the seed is not eaten by the birds, it can become stale and moldy. It is important to clean the feeder regularly so that it remains free of debris and pests.

What to do with old bird seed?

If you have a lot of old bird seed, there are a few different things you can do with it. You can either store it for later use, give it to someone else, or discard it. If you choose to store it, make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place so that the seeds will last longer.

You can also give the seed to someone who is interested in gardening or birds. However, if you don’t want or need the seed anymore, you can discard it by putting it in the trash or composting it.

A goldfinch eating sunflower seeds from a platform feeder.
Image by Christine JAMIN from Pixabay

Does bird seed go bad in winter?

Yes, birdseed can actually go bad in winter. This is because the seeds can become wet and frosty, spoil, mold, and even attract rodents. It is important to keep an eye on the seed you have in your bird feeders, to make sure it does not go bad.

If it does, it is important to discard it and replace it with new seed.Also, if you have a lot of bird seed that you’re not going to use up before winter sets in, it’s a good idea to store it in a dry place where it won’t freeze.​​​​​​​

Will birds eat moldy bird seed?

It’s important to keep an eye on your bird seed to make sure it doesn’t get too moldy. Mold can make birds very sick, and no one wants that. But will birds actually eat bird seed that has a bit of mold on it? The answer is yes – but only if they’re really hungry.

Most birds won’t touch moldy bird seed, but there are a few that will take whatever they can get. So if you notice that your bird seed is starting to go bad, get rid of it as soon as possible. You don’t want your birds getting sick from eating moldy food.

How often should you change bird seed?

When it comes to bird feeders, there are a lot of things to consider. But one of the most important is how often you should change the bird seed. 

The general rule is that you should change the bird seed every two weeks. This will help keep the birds healthy and happy, and it will also keep the feeder clean. 

If you don’t change the bird seed often enough, the feeder can become overrun with pests like ants and mice. And if the bird seed gets too old, it can start to spoil and lose its nutritional value. 

So make sure to change your bird seed every two weeks, and enjoy watching all sorts of beautiful birds flock to your backyard!

How to store bird seed?

When storing bird seed, avoid storing the seed in direct sunlight or near any heat sources. It is important to store it in a dry, cool location. The ideal temperature for storing bird seed is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also important to keep the bird seed away from moisture, as this can cause the seed to spoil. One way to protect the bird seed from moisture is to store it in a sealed container. 

Bird seed can be stored in a variety of containers, such as plastic bins, cardboard boxes, or metal cans. Make sure to keep the container tightly sealed to prevent moisture from entering.​​​​​​​

 Another way to protect it from moisture is to store it in a location that does not have a lot of humidity, such as a basement or garage.

Bird seeds and grains spread out on a table.
Image by lina si from Pixabay

Dusty bird seed

No matter how old it may be, birdseed is not necessarily spoiled. While the seed may have lost some of its nutrients over time, it will still provide sustenance for birds. If the seed is dusty, it is likely that it has been sitting on the shelf for a while and has thus lost some of its nutritional value.

However, this does not mean that it is not safe to give to birds; in fact, they will still likely enjoy eating it. This is why it’s important to always read the expiration date on the package, and to store birdseed in a cool, dry place. Doing so will help keep it fresh and nutritious for your birds.

Can you store bird seed in the fridge?

When you store bird seed, it is important to keep it in a cool, dry place. This is because if the seed gets too hot or humid, it can go bad. In fact, storing bird seed in the fridge can actually create humidity and cause the seed to spoil.

So while it is tempting to put your bird food in the fridge to keep it cool during the summer months, it is best not to do so. Instead, try putting your bird seed in an airtight container and storing it in a cool, dry place like a basement or garage.

Does hummingbird food expire?

Hummingbird food is a popular way to attract hummingbirds to your yard. It is easy to make and can be bought pre-mixed or in a powder form. The main ingredient in hummingbird food is sugar water, which will slowly spoil if left out for an extended period of time.

In hot weather, you should change the food every 2-3 days to prevent mold, fungus, and bacteria from growing. Be sure to keep the food clean and free of mold by regularly cleaning your feeder with a weak bleach solution to avoid contamination.​​​​​​​

Can birds eat expired food?

Birds can eat expired food, but it’s not ideal. When food expires, it loses its nutritional value. This means that birds may not get the energy they need from eating expired food.

Additionally, expired food can sometimes spoil and make birds sick. For these reasons, it’s best to give your bird fresh food whenever possible.

A red-breasted nuthatch eating seeds at a large Fly-Thru Bird Feeder.

How long does bird food keep?

Bird food can last for over a year if it is stored in a cool, dry place. The food will lose its nutritional value over time, but it will not spoil. If you have a lot of bird food, it is a good idea to store it in a bin or sealed container to keep it fresh.

Does bird feed go bad?

Yes, bird feed can go bad. It’s usually because of moisture or pests, but it can also spoil if it’s not properly stored. The best way to avoid spoilage is to buy only the amount you’ll use in a short period of time, and keep the feed in a cool, dry place.

If you do notice that your bird feed has gone bad, discard it immediately and clean out the feeder so the birds don’t eat any spoiled food.

How long is bird food good for?

When it comes to bird food, there’s a misconception that it will last forever. The fact is, most bird foods have an expiration date. How long the food lasts depends on the ingredients and how it’s made.

Most bird foods are good for approximately 6 to 12 months. After that, the food may start to spoil or lose its nutritional value. It’s important to keep track of the expiration date and not let the food sit around for too long.

Does bird suet expire?

Bird suet is a high-fat, high-energy food that is a favorite among backyard birds. Suet can spoil in high temperatures and go rancid, so it’s important to use small batches at a time. It’s also a good idea to keep suet in the refrigerator or freezer if you won’t be using it right away.

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  • Vince S

    Meet Vince, the passionate founder and author of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. As a dedicated moderator and contributor to Quora's Bird Watchers' Club, he actively engages with the birding community, where his insightful answers have garnered over 440,000 views and over 2,670 upvotes. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service.

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