Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

Never ask someone else’s advice on how often to refill a bird feeder; that decision should be made alone by you, taking into account how often the birds in your yard consume the food.

In normal conditions, a bird feeder should be refilled around every two weeks. In the spring and summer, that frequency will increase to once a week. As well as affecting the lifespan or germination rate of the bird food, rotting food in a feeder can cause damage to the feeder itself.

How Often Should I Change My Birds Food

Make sure there is no chance of bacteria growing on the bird food in your feeder by only using brand new, freshly prepared bird food.

When it comes to the longevity of what you place in a bird feeder, seed mixtures can outlast peanuts, which rot quickly because they lack a protective shell like seeds do in their husk.

Outdoors, dried mealworms will endure, but so will high-quality suet cakes or fat balls.

It goes without saying that you would replenish a bird feeder as soon as it was empty or nearly empty. But for many people, this isn’t the case because wild bird food is often seen to spoil before it’s completely eaten by common backyard birds.

The material of your feeder can affect how often you need to replace the bird food.

Protecting bird food and, by extension, wild birds, isn’t always a simple matter; rotten food, for example, can destroy a wooden bird feeder, whereas it won’t harm a plastic or metal one.

If you replenish a bird feeder once every two weeks with bird food, you can prevent spoilage in almost all cases.

To prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, you may need to refill a bird feeder once or twice a week throughout the summer.

Once every two weeks

There is no hard and fast rule for how often you should refill a bird feeder, as the food’s freshness depends on a number of factors.

The typical interval between changing out the various types of bird food is roughly every two weeks. In moderate to mild weather, it will be every two weeks at most, but in the hottest part of summer, it may need to be refilled every week.

Bird food can survive in the outdoors for a while in mild weather, but it will quickly germinate if exposed to the sun’s heat.

Even if the bird food in the feeder doesn’t look bad, it should be replaced every two weeks.

Because bacteria grows rapidly in bird food, it’s not a good idea to wait until the food is visibly spoiled before replacing it.

To be on the safe side, imagine that bird food only lasts two weeks rather than the one or two you would be able to tell by looking at it.

Feeders can be filled every two weeks if desired, but during the cooler months of fall and winter, you may only need to replace them once a month.

Only once a month if the cold weather keeps the birds from eating the food as quickly.

Hotter days is once a week

How Often Should I Change My Birds Food-2

The frequency with which you should replenish your bird feeder’s supply of seed, peanuts, or suet can vary depending on the season and the type of feeder you use.

The bird feeder needs to be refilled once or twice a week during the hot and humid months because the food is suspended inside a device that might cause interior humid conditions.

Humidity encourages the growth of bacteria, thus all bird food will eventually become contaminated with terrible germs, whether or not you see it.

It may be an annoyance to have to continuously replenish your bird feeders, but keep in mind that the birds will return as long as the food is fresh.

If you want to know how often you should refill your bird feeders throughout the summer, you should do it after you’ve cleaned the interior of the feeder with soapy hot water to kill any bacteria.

One way to cut down on the frequency with which you have to clean bird feeders during the warmer months is to move them to a shadier location.

Because mold and mildew thrive in moist environments, keeping bird feeders in the shade is a good idea.

Many of you may not have anywhere to put your bird feeders out of the elements, but don’t fret; this simply means that you’ll need to replenish them more frequently during the warmer (and colder) months.

Bird food type varies

Dependent on the type of food being used, the bird feeder’s food should be changed out at various intervals.

The quality of the bird food and the length of time it has remaining before it expires are both factors that can be relied upon once the package has been opened.

The shelf life of the foods most commonly used in bird feeders can range from:

  • Because of their protective husks, wild bird seeds have a far longer shelf life than any other kind of bird food.
  • Exposure of the nut’s flesh to the outdoors shortens the shelf life of peanuts, and soggy circumstances offer health risks.
  • Suet pellets left on the ground only last a few days in dry conditions and a day if it’s wet, however suet in fat balls, pellets, or suet in a suet cake bird feeder can endure a long time if hanging in a feeder.
  • Mealworms are a favorite amongst wild birds and can be provided to them for several days after drying if you offer them in the air.
  • A hummingbird feeder’s nectar reservoir should be replenished once or twice a week, as sugar water will inevitably go bad.

When taking care of bird feeders, you should never let the food supply get too low or completely depleted before replenishing it.

It may seem wasteful to throw away so much bird food, but doing so is necessary since storing it for too long poses a threat to both you and your feathered friends’ well-being.

Similarly, certain bird foods might create a mess depending on the sort of bird feeder being used, although bird seeds, in particular, keep significantly more neat.

Minimize bird food waste

How Often Should I Change My Birds Food-3

The only time you should ever fill a bird feeder is when the food inside is ready to expire; you should never do it just because the feeder is low on food.

It may be months before the bird food is consumed, if ever. Thus, you may let bird food rot away in the belief that the birds will still consume it.

In truth, birds won’t always eat bird food unless and until you have fledglings that leave the nest and begin visiting your bird feeders everyday for months.

If you don’t want to waste what were probably very pricey, high-quality bird food mixes back then, you need be careful not to waste any of it right off the bat. That just means you’ll need to fill up your bird feeder much less frequently.

It’s not necessary to constantly refill large bird feeders, and tiny feeders that are rarely used can be left with some food in them.

Use only as much bird food as you think will be eaten within a week or two to cut down on wastage.

Only after you’ve been feeding birds in your yard for a while have you developed a sense of what works and what doesn’t.

Similarly, there’s no need in constantly re-filling a 30-ounce hummingbird feeder if you don’t have to. The size of the hummingbird feeder you choose will determine whether or not you can keep up with the influx of birds during peak feeding periods.


Let me just mention that the frequency with which you should refill a bird feeder depends heavily on your individual circumstances.

Therefore, it is important to consider the bird food’s quality, the feeder’s position, the weather, the season, the feeder’s material, and the rate at which the birds consume the food.

Because birds rarely consume all of the food in a bird feeder before it expires, it is not recommended that you fill the feeder just when it is nearly empty.

But I can tell you that you’ll need to refill a bird feeder by removing stale bird seed before it spoils. Bird seed has a shelf life and must be used before it spoils, therefore it can’t be kept in feeders indefinitely.

You should only need to refill a bird feeder once every two weeks in warmer weather, assuming the food lasts that long. Never wait for signs of rot or low quality bird food.

A bird feeder may need to be refilled once or twice a week during the warmer summer months. Bacteria grow quickly in bird feeders when the weather is hot and humid, so you’ll have to clean them more frequently.

Peanuts, on the other hand, can be shown to germinate significantly sooner than everything else on the menu, despite the fact that bird seeds, dried mealworms, and suet can all last quite a while.

Reduce waste by just filling an extra big or even a small bird feeder a third or half way up in the event that the food will not be devoured in time.

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