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How to Save Money on Birdseed

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Knowing how to save money on birdseed can help backyard birders continue feeding their feathered friends even when the price of seed rises or other financial factors make it impossible to spend as much money on backyard birding supplies. As costs for feeding birds rise, many birders reluctantly stop filling their feeders, but these ten techniques can keep the birds sated and extra money in the bank.

1. Buy in Bulk

Most birdseed mixes and straight seeds are available in different size bags, and larger bags generally have a better per-pound price. This also ensures that you always have seed on hand and you don’t need to buy seed as frequently.

2. Shop Around

Comparison shopping works just as well for birdseed as for other products. Check sales flyers from pet stores, farm supply companies and landscaping nurseries to see where the best deals are on seed, and stock up when the price is right. Online retailers may offer more competitive prices, but be sure to add in shipping and handling fees if necessary to find the best deal.

3. Grow a Birdseed Garden

Birdseed is easy to grow and natural seed will attract even more birds than filled feeders. As a bonus, by growing your own birdseed you will eliminate the need to fill feeders, since the birds will happily feed directly from the plants.

4. Offer Better Seed

Higher quality seed such as nyger or hulled sunflower chips may be more expensive, but it can be a better value because less of the bag’s volume is made up of filler seeds that few birds will eat. Offering a specialty seed blend specifically for your backyard bird species will also ensure that more the seed is consumed instead of wasted.

5. Refill Feeders Less Frequently

An empty feeder does not necessarily mean hungry birds. Because birds are notorious for spilling seed, waiting a day or two between refills will encourage them to feed on the ground, not only saving money on birdseed but also saving on feeder maintenance as the birds clean up after themselves.

6. Offer Seed Alternatives

Many birds will eat more than birdseed. Consider adding nectar, chopped fruit, bread scraps and other types of food to your feeders as alternatives to more expensive seed. In addition to saving money, you may be pleasantly surprised when new bird species are attracted to these unique foods.

7. Choose Efficient Feeders

Watch your feeders for a few days to see who is really emptying them and you may be surprised to learn that you’re feeding more than just the birds. Squirrels, raccoons, deer and other wildlife frequently raid feeders, but you can purchase feeders with built in cages, smaller feeding ports and baffles to deter these non-bird munchers.

8. Make Your Own Bird Food

Many commercial seed mixes and suet cakes are expensive, but the component ingredients are much more affordable. Purchase just the types of seed you want to offer to your backyard birds and blend your own mixes to save money. Because you know precisely what birds are in your backyard, you can also save by tailoring your mix for those species with little waste.

9. Don’t Pay for Pesticides

Many common backyard birds are happy to eat spiders, flies and other insects. Avoid spraying pesticides on your lawn and flower beds and let the birds take advantage of this natural food source instead. Not only will you need less seed, but you will save money on lawn care as well.

10. Remove Feeders

As a last resort, you can save money on birdseed by removing birdfeeders entirely. While this is not an ideal solution, it also does not have to mean the end of your backyard birding. Replace a missing feeder or two with a bird bath, brush pile, nesting boxes, bird-friendly shrubs or other backyard accents that will attract birds. You may find that your backyard becomes even more popular without the seed because it is a friendly habitat instead of just a buffet line.

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