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Will wild bird seed grow?

on June 26, 2020

It’s wonderful to watch wild birds come into your garden or outside space to feed.  What is less enjoyable is the inevitable mess the birds will leave behind on your bird table or underneath your bird feeders.

A lot of bird seed is micronized or heat treated to help prevent germination, however not all are, which when left on your lawn or flower bed will germinate readily if not cleaned up.  Sometimes nature takes care of itself, and birds unable to feed at feeders such as pigeons and doves will eat whatever is dropped.  But this doesn’t always work, and undoubtedly you’ll end up with little sprouts growing from your dropped bird seed.

By having feeders over a solid patio, or by putting sheeting underneath the feeders and bird tables is a popular way of preventing growth.  Discarded seeds can then be placed back into the feeder at the end of the day.

seedlings germinating

Other good techniques to avoid a messy feeding area include not over filling your feeders as birds can knock the extra bird seed to the ground.  Alongside this, purchasing a bird feeder with a base or seed catcher attachment make tidying up simple job.

No grow, no mess bird seed, and bird feeds without filler such as wheat are less prone to germinate.  These bird food mixes tend to be a mixture of heat treated seeds combined with non-germinating varieties of grain and nuts.  Some seed mixes, such as Extra Select No Grow No Mess wild bird food even includes suet pellets for an extra treat for your garden visitors!  Some no grow or less mess wild bird seed mixes are simply a blend of broken seeds that will not germinate.

Alternatively, you could fill your wild bird feeders with sunflower seeds or sunflower hearts, and then if any do germinate you’ll have some lovely sunflowers to enjoy!

Sunflowers growing

Can you stop bird seed germinating?  If you’ve already bought your wild bird seed, and want it to stop sprouting, then your options are limited.  It’s best to simply put a sheet down as we described at the start of this article, or to have your feeders over a hard surface.  Some have experimented with baking bird seed in the oven to prevent germination, however the results are mixed and it’s not something we can recommend.

The only way to guarantee no grow no mess bird seed is to buy a no grow no mess bird seed mix, and to place the feeder over a solid surface.  This may be overkill however, as all the no grow mixes we have used have not germinated.


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