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How should I store bird food? - Keep birdseed safe from pests

Raccoons, rats, squirrels. These words are foul language if you are a fowl feeder. Learn how to keep your bird food safe from pests!

A raccoon looks straight ahead.
A clever raccoon searches for a way into an easy meal.

You will notice this article is a bit briefer than our typical flocking articles. Why? This is a simple answer that does not require six minutes of your time.


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First, if you have a bear problem, you have a significant storage problem. You will require a Rube Goldberg-type of contraption to keep those feeder monstrosities away from your goldmine of birdseed. However, if your mammalian issues are not larger than a raccoon, a simple answer is provided in the paragraphs below.


First, though, a storage poll:

Do you store your birdseed in:

  • Plastic

  • Metal

  • Nothing


How to store birdseed

Birdseed needs to be stored in a cool, dry, and secure place. This prevents mold and bacteria growth and also can help prevent seed germination. Next, you want to store it in a manner that rodents and other hungry creatures cannot access easily. You can achieve this by using a metal storage bin with a heavy or locking lid. I do not recommend using plastic tubs. Plastic tubs can allow squirrels and rats to chew through the outer layers to the seed inside. Personally, I prefer using metal trash bins. If I am feeding in large quantities, I empty a single type of seed into a 32-gallon trash can and use a scoop. Each can will be used to hold a single type of birdseed. However, if I am using small quantities of varying seed types, I will use a small can, keeping the seed inside the bag but cutting off the top of the bag for easy scoop access.

 

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Best Birdseed Storage: Metal Trash Can

Best Birdseed Storage: 20 Gallon Metal Birdseed Storage
The Flocking Around Roost uses all types and sizes of cans, like the smaller 20 gallon for suet!
 
Best Birdseed Storage: 32 Gallon Metal Birdseed Storage
We keep our sunflower seed in this larger 32 gallon can! (Note the droppings from failed mammal attempts to unleash the seed!

Metal cans can prevent some bears IF they are weighted or clamped. However, some bears can quickly outwit you. If a bear outwits you, I recommend trying embroidery or adult coloring books. Bears are terrible at coloring inside the lines. If you choose to utilize a plastic container, then I wash my hands of your future anguish! (Because the plastic will be nothing more than a play toy for a bear.)


How to store suet

Do not store your suet with your bird seed. The suet could get too warm and melt out of its packaging, creating a real mess for you! As with bird seed, keep your suet in a cool, dry location. If you keep the suet in its plastic packaging, it will help prevent the suet from drying or spoiling. As with birdseed, I prefer to keep the suet in a metal container with a sturdy lid. Small containers like this are likely cheaper from your local hardware store, but you can check out these options.


How to store hummingbird food

Hummingbird food has the shortest shelf-life of any typical offering for birds. However, if it is homemade (as it should be), you can often store it for 7-10 days in sealed glass jars. Keep the jar(s) refrigerated until the hummingbird food is used up or shows signs of spoiling. One such sign is cloudiness. If the food has any cloudiness to it, it can no longer be used for those little high-flying metabolism monsters. Need some mason jars to store your extra hummingbird food? There are plenty of options on the market!


Keep raccoons (and other animals) out of trash cans and storage containers

Metal container not enough? Do the little four-legged bandits continue to open your cans and drain your seed or trash? Then you, my friend, might need an extra layer of birdseed protection. Bungee cords can work initially, but clever or strong mammals might quickly outwit or out-brute your security attempts. Though, the linked bungee cords take bungee-ing to a new level. In these 'less-than-rare' cases, I suggest giving the extreme twist ties a chance. Regardless of the ties that bind, us OR your trashcans, if the lids prove to keep nothing out, use some method to keep them shut.


Keep pests out of bird food

Rodents, like mice, rats, and squirrels, are all known to gnaw their way into your birdseed and gorge themselves without hesitation. To prevent this mass eradication of seed, consider trying a few of the following steps:

  1. Elevate your container

  2. Use a metal container

  3. Try a tie!

  4. Put peppermint oil on the edges

  5. Use cayenne pepper on the edges

Again, notice our flocking trend: metal. Rodents and other pests can chew and scratch their way through plastic containers. However, metal will resist even the strongest bite while also lasting for many years. Use metal containers for food that animals want. Keep it simple. Flocking simple.


Oh, and never store your birdseed near human food. You do not need to provide further temptation for rodents to invade a pantry!


 

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1 Comment


Ellis Hein
Ellis Hein
Nov 10, 2020

Can you get me a photo of a bear trying to color within the lines?

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