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in Wildlife gardening
I really enjoy feeding the birds in my garden but does anyone know a way of stopping spilt seeds from germinating everywhere? I wish seeds I sow would do as well!
I feed our birds sunflower hearts - the've been hulled so they don't make a mess and the birds dont discard it while searching for tastier morsels, which is what appears to happen with mixed seed.
Not sure you can stop most bird seed from germinating Sue, a possibility would be a physical barrier on top of the soil but not sure that's possible for you. I have read somewhere that you can sterilise it by using a microwave or cooking it in a standard oven. You can buy birdseed that has been treated to not germinate but not sure how much it costs.
Often if you buy poor quality mixed seed - I found an Aldi variety was a false economy - the birds waste a lot because they won't eat some of the grain.
So, feed good quality seeds, geared to the kinds of birds you have and feed less of it.
Be very careful with seed which overflows the table. Excess seed can encourage rats and other vermin. It happened to me and it was difficult to remedy. The only solution I managed to come up with was to only place small amounts on tables, which could be added to as it was eaten. Or use a purpose made seed dispenser, which the birds quickly became vey adept at using.
This sort doesn't germinate http://www.ukgardenproducts.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=288
I use sunflower hearts and they're still messy, the Goldfinch and Tits who eat it seem to drop as much as they eat and it's very expensive to buy. It's worth it 'tho to see them so many times during the day.
My problem is that the seeds they drop seem to go mouldy quite quickly on the ground. I've tried putting down something so I can just lift the lot and bin them but because of the position it's too difficult. Any suggestions?
Buy yourself a seed feeder with a tray fixed to the underneath. When I used one of these I went from refilling the feeder every 2 days to only needing to fill it every 4 days, as any spilt seed remained in the tray.
But then comes the next problem. The trays usually have drainage holes, which can become blocked with seed or bird droppings. Spilt seen in the tray then goes mouldy. Catch 22 really.
I dont tend to use the trays now, instead I feed sunflower hearts which I find are less messy. Dunnocks and wood pigeons clear up any spilt seed before it hits the ground!
Like this one..
Have you tried some of the feeders with cages around them - they don't keep the very small squirrels away, but the more the small ones eat the bigger they'll grow!
If you microwave bird seed it stops it germinating. I have a 750ml pot that I use to dole out bird seed each day and if I microwave it for 90seconds, that seems to stop seed germination without reducing food value for the birds.
Dovefromabove, I've tried putting a tray underneath but it still turns into a disgusting mess.
No real answer I think, still whatever the mess it's worth it to see the Goldfinch every day.
Fat balls are no good for ground feeders but are a very good source of food for tits and sparrows and, in my garden, one family of woodpeckers. At the pet and garden store I can buy loose, cracked seeds which don't germinate and th ebirds like them.
Brumbull, I have the same problem as you but this year I've invested in a squirrel feeder and once they've sussed that out I'll be putting squirrel-guarded bird feeders out! (my plan is that if they know where their food is, they'll leave the birds food alone!)
Was watching the garden this morning and it's a hive of activity with lots of blue tits, robins and blackbirds picking at berries and bugs and dancing in the shrubs!
I do use fat balls in another feeder attached to the bird table. I find them very messy too as the Starlings peck and bits go everywhere, especiall down on the ground around the feeder. Still I keep it up, I also put suet pellets mealy worms and the odd bit of cake or cheese onto the table but they're gone first thing and very quickly.