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What to Do with Old Bird Seed?

what to do with old bird seed

If you are a bird watching enthusiast, then you know that it is quite rare for birds to finish all the birdseed that you put out in your feeder. What to do with old birdseed? There are many things that you can do with the old leftover birdseed so you will not waste anything.

Leftover birdseed may not seem appealing to the birds that frequent your yard but you can still use it for other things. You just need a bit of imagination and elbow grease. In this article, you will be learning about the practical and creative ways to reuse old birdseed.

Things You Can Do with Old Bird Seed

You will need to have a bit of creativity when you are repurposing old birdseed. However, if you are struggling with ideas, here are a couple of things that you might find interesting.

Feed it to other animals

feed it to other animals

The birds might not want to eat old birdseed but it can still provide sustenance for other creatures. You can still feed the leftover seeds and grains to squirrels, chipmunks, and other foraging animals and ground-feeding birds.

However, you should not just scatter the leftover birdseed in your own yard. Go to any nearby woodland area and spread the seeds on the ground for other animals to forage for them.

In addition, you should make sure that the birdseed has not gone bad yet, which will be discussed later. If the birdseed has gone bad, know how to dispose of old birdseed and then do it.

Use it for making compost

use it for making compost

Most bird seed brands contain a mix of different kinds of seeds and grains and they are typically not treated with chemical preservatives. This means you can add the leftover seeds and husks to your compost heap.

Sweep all the leftover seeds into a dustpan and then dump all of them into your compost pit. Mix the seeds and husks into the other organic matter and wait. The seeds and husks will decompose and turn into nutrient-rich compost that you can use for your plants in the future.

Use it as material for arts and crafts

use it as material for arts and crafts

If you have young kids, or if you like doing arts and crafts yourself, you can use the leftover birdseed as your art material. Birdseed comes in many different shades, colors, and patterns. You can use leftover birdseed to create mosaics, sculptures, and other art pieces that you want.

However, before you use leftover birdseed, make sure that you sterilize them beforehand so they will not sprout. You can do this by baking the seeds on medium-high heat to completely kill the seed and prevent it from germinating.

Allow the birdseed to sprout and grow

allow the birdseed to sprout and grow

Birds love eating birdseed, so it goes without saying that if you let the birdseed sprout and grow, you will have bird-friendly plants in your garden in a couple of weeks. In addition, some of the plants that grow from birdseed are quite beautiful. Obviously, the sunflowers will be quite pretty but the millet grass flowers will also look great.

Grab the leftover seeds and then put them inside a moist paper towel. Wait for the seeds to germinate and sprout roots before planting them somewhere in your yard. In a couple of months, you will have a couple of beautiful wild plants growing in your garden. The added biodiversity will also attract other birds and insects into your yard.

Mix the seeds into your pet’s food

mix the seeds into your pets food

If you have chickens or ducks, you can mix the leftover birdseed into their regular feed. The additional seeds will increase the nutritional value of your pet’s food without having to spend a dime. Again, only do this if you confirm that the old bird seed has not gone rancid and spoiled.

donate to wildlife rehabilitation centers

Gather all the old birdseed that you can and place them in sacks or plastic containers. You can likely donate the seeds to your local wildlife rescue program. They are always looking for food donations to help the animals that they are helping.

However, you should indicate the date when you bought the bird seed. If the food is way past its expiration date, it might do more harm than good. If the birdseed is just a week or a month past the expiration date, it should still be good for birds.

Before you head on over to your local animal rescue, you should call beforehand to make sure that they accept food donations. This way, you can be sure that you will not waste your time driving over only to find out that they do not accept old birdseed as donations.

How to Tell if Birdseed is Already Bad?

how to tell if birdseed is already bad

If the birdseed has gone bad, then you should avoid feeding it to other animals. Here are some of the things that you need to check to determine if it has already gone bad and can no longer be reused:

The smell – Most birdseed has high oil content and when it goes bad, you can tell immediately because it will smell rancid. If the birdseed smells bad, you can be sure that it is already unusable.

Sprouts – If the bird seeds have started to swell, split, or have sprouted, they are already spoiled. Check each of the seeds for signs of sprouting. If even one seed has sprouted, the others have gone bad as well.

Signs of rodent infestation – Check the bags of your bird seed. If there are signs of mice or rats gnawing at the bag or rodent feces and/or footprints nearby, then there is a good chance of rodent infestation on the bird seed. Even if the rest of the contents seem fine, there is no telling if rodent urine or feces have gotten inside the bag.


It is only normal for you to not waste any birdseed if possible. Now you know what to do with old birdseed, so you do not need to worry about any wasted birdseed at all. While there are still spoiled ones that you can no longer do anything about, you will surely be significantly reducing the amount of waste.

The methods mentioned above are some of the most practical ways you can reuse and repurpose old birdseed and all of them are so easy that you do not have any reason not to give any of them a try.

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