So you’ve bought plenty of food that will attract birds to your yard, but you obviously can’t put it all out there at once. What, then, are you going to do with the extra food that you aren’t able to put out right away? Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to do with leftover bird seed, suet cakes, mealworms and more, because you’ve come to the right place to learn how best to store that food.
Bird seed is perhaps the most popular kind of food that is offered to backyard birds. What makes it extremely essential to store correctly, however, is the fact that birds are able to tell when seeds are fresh and when they’re old and stale. Fresh seeds are far more nutritious than stale seeds because of their higher oil content – so if you’re serving subpar seeds, birds will simply stay away. Accordingly, you’ll want to take all necessary steps to keep your seed fresh.
The best place to keep bird seed is in a place that is cool, dry and out of sunlight. That way, mold won’t form and the nutritious oils won’t dry out as fast, if at all. Perhaps the best way to store seed is to keep it in the original bag and simply stick it in the freezer. Under optimal conditions, most kinds of bird seed can be kept for up to six months. Nyjer seed will stay fresh for as many as three months. If you can’t store seed in the freezer or simply choose not to, you can always buy a storage container such as the Bird Seed Vault Storage Container. These containers can store either bags of seeds or the seeds by themselves.
The procedure for storing suet cakes is very similar to that of bird seed. It’s highly important to keep them from spoiling, as corn and peanuts (one or both are common ingredients in suet cakes) have the potential to be a growth area for bacteria. So, much like bird seed, it’s essential to keep suet cakes in a cool place when they’re not being used – in the freezer, they can last for as long as a year.
Mealworms, on the other hand, are able to be stored either in the refrigerator or in most places you can find room. It all depends on whether or not they’re live or dried – live mealworms should go straight into the fridge, while the dried mealworms can be placed anywhere so long as it’s relatively cool and dry. The refrigerated mealworms can last for weeks, if not months, before moving beyond their optimal usefulness. The container should be uncovered while in the fridge, and you should take it out every couple of weeks in order to warm the mealworms up to room temperature and feed them a small amount of food.
As for most other food that birds will eat – such as fruit and jelly – standard procedure is to keep it cool and out of direct sunlight, much like what’s been said above. Happy Birding!
Written by Guest Writer Sean Peick