Prevent Wet Bird Seed – 12 Tips To Keep Bird Feeders Dry

Are you looking for ways to prevent wet bird seed?

When the weather forecast is for never-ending rain, you need to think about how this will affect your bird feeders.

Wet birdseed can be a real problem for you and the birds in a few ways.

Let’s take a look

Why Wet Bird Seed Is A Problem

1. Disease

Wet birdseed creates the perfect environment for bacteria and mold to grow quickly. If birds eat the spoiled seed they can become sick.

Plus there is the risk that the bacteria and mold will pass onto neighboring feeders and passing on avian disease.

2. Smell

You’ll notice that wet seeds give off a stale stench which isn’t pleasant to be around.

Your birds won’t mind, but you’ll definitely notice. this smell will make being in your yard an unpleasant experience.

Also, these putrid smells will be sure to attract disease-carrying animals such as mice and rats.

3. Clumping

Some types of bird seed are really incompatible with the rain. You’ve probably noticed that they clump together in your feeders.

This clumping affect makes it really difficult for birds to access the food inside. And cleaning those clumps out can be a bit of a task.

4. Waste

You may notice that the birds are not keen to eat from your seed feeders after it rains. The less they eat, the more spoiled the seed becomes.

Most birds won’t eat spoiled bird seed. They’ll simply move on to a fresher food source in the area and avoid your feeders.

That means you’ll have waste feed on your hands until you can sort it out and attract them back with fresh bird food.

5. Sprouting

Water will cause the seeds in your feeders to start growing into plants.

You may even see some sprouted seeds in your feeders. The birds will not eat these seeds.

Any of these sprouted seeds which land on the soil or that grass will start to grow below your feeders.

This isn’t a good thing as it will create a patch of weeds below your feeders. And we all know how much of a pain it can be to get rid of weeds.

So you can see why you need to avoid wet bird seed at all costs.

The good news? I can show you how to do that now.

This guide will take you through 12 easy ways for you to prevent wet bird seed. This will keep your bird and your yard healthy.

Then I’ll go over some frequently asked questions about feeding birds in wet and rainy weather.

These tips will help you if you live in a state that sees lots of rainfall (I’m looking at you Louisiana!). Or even if you’ve had a few downpours spoiling your bird feeders.

Sound good? The let’s start.

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12 Ways to Prevent Wet Bird Seed

1. Clean feeders

The first step to making sure you aren’t offering wet bird seed to your birds is to get into the habit of regular cleaning.

Clean your feeders every 2 weeks, but you need to do it monthly at least.

When you clean your feeders you’ll naturally empty out any potential wet seed. Then you’ll wash away any lurking bacteria, fungus, or disease that’s in your feeders.

Make sure your feeders are thoroughly dry before adding birdseed back in. Any wet spots will trap moisture inside creating condensation spots.

2. Use a weatherproof guard

If your tube feeder is exposed to the elements then you should consider using a weather guard.

This handy device will provide a roof for your feeders and keep the seed inside protected.

These are great if you have trouble with squirrels because they act as a type of baffle too.

If you’re looking to buy a new feeder type buy one with a roof design (like this one) will do the same job. Make sure the roof is wider than the base to help keep the rain off the seed.

3. Use drains

Whenever you are buying a new feeder one of the features you should look out for is drainage.

It may not feel like a top priority but it will make a difference if you live in a rainy climate.

These drainage holes make it easy to stop water from gathering in cupped areas of the feeder. Having your seed sitting in puddles of water is sure to result in sprouting seeds.

4. Sheltered location

If buying a new device or feeder isn’t an option for you then you need to look at the location.

Consider where your birdfeeder is in your yard. Is it in a very open, exposed area? Then move it to a sheltered area of your yard.

Any type of shelter from walls, porches, trees, or bushes will help to reduce the amount of rain that gets into your feeder.

Remember that lawn sprinklers may also catch your feeders, so keep out of the spray.

5. Mesh feeder

Tray-style feeders are the worst for gathering water. Once the water is in it has nowhere to go, and your seed will sit and stagnate.

If you like to use a ground or tray feeder, opt for a mesh design. If you already use a wooden feeder you can still lift the seed up a little with a mesh tray. That way any water can drain out of the bottom and away from the seeds.

6. Smaller feeder

Tube feeders are excellent for keeping the rain and snow out of feeders. However, the water inside can get out easily. This is even worse with larger tube feeders.

Opting for a smaller tube feeder means that you’ll need to fill it regularly. Although this can be a pain, it means your offering fresh, dry seed that will won’t go to waste.

Large tube feeders that get soaked regularly are likely to result in a lot of waste bird seed if the birds stop coming around.

Smaller tube feeders also have fewer portholes which means less chance for the rain or snow to get into your feeder.

7. DIY drainage

If you have a favorite feeder but ongoing issues with waterlogging, then try this DIY tip.

Simply use a drill to add a few small holes to the area where the water is pooling.

You might also want to add a small flatted ball of mesh to the bottom of your feeder. This lifts the seed higher than any pooling water.

8. Good Seed Storage

It’s important that you store your bird seed in a dry airtight container.

This small step will help to prevent any moisture from getting into your seed in storage. Which you would then transfer into your feeders.

Good seed storage will also help to stop mice and rats from eating the seed for the birds do.

If your seed smells musty before you put it in your feeders, chuck it out and get a good storage container.

9. Bring the feeders in

If you know that the weather isn’t going to be great for days, consider taking your feeders down.

The water makes it really easy for birds to pass disease around. And it’s even worse if the temperatures are warm too.

Even if you take precautions to stop mold and bacteria in your feeders, it doesn’t mean your neighbors do. Taking you feeders down prevent birds from spreading disease they’ve picked up elsewhere.

Another bonus of taking your feeders down is that you can make them last a bit longer by protecting them from weather damage.

10. Different foods

In wetter weather, you may want to consider filling your feeders with other foods rather than seeds or peanuts.

A good alternative is mealworms or dried fruits like raisins. The rain will even help to hydrate these foods a little, making them more appealing to the birds.

Suet is another great option as it made of pure fats that are waterproof. I’d opt for suet more in the autumn, and winter months when the temperatures are a bit cooler.

11. Don’t overfill

If you can’t bring yourself to take your feeder down in the rain then try not to overfill them.

I suggest using only the amount of seed that matches your bird’s appetites. That way they leave nothing to clump together.

Anything they do leave can be thrown away. This is likely to be a lot less than if you filled the feeder full.

12. Use feeder fresh

If you’re fed up with a constant battle of moldy feeders then you need to consider using feeder fresh.

This stuff is a life changer.

You sprinkle it in the bottom of your feeders and then add the birdseed on top. The feeder fresh draws all the moisture out of the seed and prevents waterlogging.

It made from nontoxic sand granules that are totally safe for birds. And the frustration it saves you from battling with moldy feeders is so worth it.

Wet Bird Seed FAQ

How to keep bird seed dry in feeders

The best way to keep your birdseed dry in your feeder is by first choosing the right design of the feeder.

Opt for weatherproof feeders

  • With a roof
  • Drainage holes
  • Mesh
  • Smaller feeder

Once you have the right type of feeder use the tips suggested above to stop your bird seed from getting wet in your feeder.

How to dry wet birds seed

Bird seed can be expensive, so trying to stop wasting a whole lot of seed that’s not yet spoiled seems like a good solution, right?

I’m absolutely with you that wasting food is a bad idea. But the reality is that trying to salvage your wet bird seed is not a good idea.

Seeds are activated by water to tell them it time to start sprouting. Once you start that process it the seed will start to change inside.

Wild birds won’t eat sprouted seeds from your feeder.

In Humid conditions, the seed will quickly start to harbor bacteria and mold.

If you really don’t want to waste your seed, you can scatter it in areas of your yard where other wildlife will happy eat it.

Will birds eat wet bird seed?

Birds will eat freshly wet seed. However, it’s unlikely they will continue to come back to your feeders if the seed continues to fester and go moldy.

Unless the seed is eaten or dries out quickly you’ll notice the bird will stop coming around.

Cleaning out your feeder and providing fresh clean birdseed will get them coming back around in no time.

Do birds feed in the rain?

Light rain showers won’t stop birds from visiting your feeders.

During heavy rain and storms, you’ll notice that the smaller birds are nowhere to be seen. They are trying to protect themselves from the harsh conditions that can be dangerous for them.

If you see smaller birds bracing a storm it’s likely they are struggling for a food source. Having a weather guard on your feeders will help give a bit of protection as they feed.

Ground feeders will usually be foraging in light rain as there are plenty of fresh worms at the surface.

Final thoughts

Preventing wet bird seed is a problem that every backyard bird watcher has to deal with at some point.

It’s important you learn to deal with this issue to prevent birds from getting sick, attracting pests, wasting seed, and creating a weedy mess in your yard.

Start by choosing a good weatherproof bird feeder, or using a weather guard for existing feeders. You can use the other tips suggested in this guide if you continue to have waterlogging problems with your birdfeeders.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comment below. I do try to get back to each one of them.

If you found this article useful please share it with your friends and family.

6 thoughts on “Prevent Wet Bird Seed – 12 Tips To Keep Bird Feeders Dry”

    • Hi Eddy,
      Yes, Bird food containers can also carry mold. I recommend you inspect them monthly, especially in the wet seasons, and clean them out if possible. If this is a regular problem, switching to an airtight, waterproof container is best for storing bird seed.

    • Hi Leslie,
      I don’t recommend drying out wet birdseed in the oven. Water starts to cause the seed to sprout and birds don’t eat it in this state. Also, if the seed is already in the feeder you are putting your own health at risk by introducing potential bacteria and viruses into your oven. I recommend tossing the wet seed and buying a good quality good air-tight storage box for excess seed.

  1. Just bought a Finch Feeder with the wire mesh tube &; filled it with thistle seed. Then a light thunder shower came through…. do I need too empty the entire feeder now? Thanks.

    • Hi Karen,
      No, you don’t need to empty the feeder as the mesh will help the water to drain off. However, you may want to give it a shake as the thistle (nyger seed) tends to clump together once it gets wet. Also just monitor the feeders for a few days, if the finches don’t appear to be feeding form it, you may want to fill it up with a fresh batch. Hope that helps.


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