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Home > Bird Feeding Blog > Storage of bird food and how long to keep it.

Storage of bird food and how long to keep it.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2010

All foods should be stored in a cool, dry place - the garage is often the best place. Plastic storage containers like this one are ideal.
storage tubFoods will generally be fine for at least 3-6 months if stored properly.

What's actually more important is how long you let food remain in feeders, on a table or on the ground.  This often isn't an issue because it won't be there long enough to create a problem! At certain times of year though (often late summer when natural food is more plentiful) uneaten food can build up and this can cause problems - in particular if the food gets damp or wet on a table or on the ground (food will normally stay dry in feeders, but may get damp in very wet and windy conditions). So as a basic guide:
  • If food on a table or the ground gets damp or wet, then remove it after two days or so.

  • Food in a tube or softfood feeder should be fine for up to 10 days (though in reality it's unlikely it would last that long) so remove it after this time and put fresh in.

  • If extreme wet and windy weather makes food damp in a tube feeder, then remove it and put fresh in.

  • Peanuts in mesh feeders can go mouldy in damp conditions. So keep an eye on them and replace as soon as there are any signs of mould. If it's both mild and damp, then generally one week is as long as peanuts will stay in good condition.

  • Suet blocks and fat balls will also go mouldy in damp conditions so keep an eye on these and replace as soon as there are any signs of them degrading.

If you've been feeding birds for a while, then most of the above won't be a problem because you'll know how much food to put out at different times of the year. And if there is a problem, then it's normally the complete opposite - empty feeders as you try and keep up with demand!

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  • Comments

"Fat Balls" by
17 Jan 2021

Fat balls will go mouldy if left in feeders too long. Fat balls are really good food for all birds but I chop them up (put them in my mortar pot and break them up with my potato peeler) then put them in my hanging house feeder. Most varieties of birds prefer that. Tits, robins, nuthatches, finches, woodpeckers and even blackbirds.

"Fat Balls...." by
01 May 2019

I have had the fat balls out for the birds for about a month-6 wks and the birds don't seem they go stale, and could that be why they don't seem to like be attracted?

Haith's customer services:

Hello Moria,
Thank you for your feedback. Have you only just started feeding them and do you feed other foods alongside the fat balls? If so it can take a while for birds to get used to new food and if they're fed alongside another food, they will generally go for the food they're used to and prefer. Try separating foods or just feeding one until they get used to it.
All the best,

" Comment" by
09 Apr 2019

I had unopened birdseed I bought last year and kept in my house. Would that be ok? What about unopened cakes?

Haith's customer services:

Thank you for your comment. We advise that the products should be used within 6 months to avoid any harm coming to the birds.
All the best,

" Comment" by
20 Feb 2019

I have had some fat balls and blocks for several years. Stored in a cool dry garage. Only pigeons seem to eat them and I wonder if they have "gone off". they are not mouldy and smell okay to me. Should I throw them out and if so what to do with them?

Haith's customer services:

Thank you for your comments on our blog piece. We advise that they are to be used within 6 months. Sadly if you have had them for several years we would advise that you don't feed them to the birds and throw them away as they could potentially harm the birds.
All the best,

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