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What To Do With Old Nyjer Seed?


Nyjer seed, also known as thistle seed, is a popular choice for bird feeding due to its high oil content and nutritional value. Over time, nyjer seed can become stale or go bad, leaving bird enthusiasts wondering what to do with their old supply. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of nyjer seed, why it is preferred for bird feeding, how long it typically lasts, signs of old nyjer seed, and whether it can still be used. We will provide creative and practical ideas for repurposing old nyjer seed, such as using it as plant fertilizer, crafting homemade bird feeders, incorporating it into decorative crafts, donating it to wildlife rehabilitation centers or animal shelters, composting, and proper storage for future use.

Key takeaway:

  • Nyjer seed can be repurposed as garden or plant fertilizer: Instead of throwing away old Nyjer seed, you can use it to enhance the soil in your garden or potted plants, providing them with nutrients.
  • Old Nyjer seed can be used to create homemade bird feeders: By incorporating the seed into DIY bird feeders, you can attract and support a variety of bird species in your backyard.
  • Utilize old Nyjer seed as decorative elements in crafts: If you’re feeling creative, you can incorporate the leftover seed into crafts, such as ornaments or decorative features.
  • Consider donating old Nyjer seed to wildlife rehabilitation centers or animal shelters: These organizations can benefit from the nutrient-rich seed to feed birds and other small animals in their care.
  • Composting is another option for disposing of old Nyjer seed: By composting the seed, you can contribute to the nutrient cycle and enrich your compost for future use in gardening projects.
  • Proper storage ensures future use of Nyjer seed: If you choose to save the old Nyjer seed, make sure to store it in a cool, dry place in an airtight container to maintain its quality and viability for future bird-feeding purposes.

What is Nyjer Seed?

What is Nyjer Seed? - What To Do With Old Nyjer Seed?

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Nyjer seed, also known as thistle or Niger seed, is a small, oil-rich seed that is used as bird feed. This seed is derived from the African yellow daisy flower and is renowned for its nutritional value and high oil content. Birds are naturally drawn to Nyjer seed due to its high levels of calories and fat, which provide them with the necessary energy.

The cultivation of Nyjer seed began in Ethiopia and Nigeria during the 1920s. Initially, it was primarily used for its oil, which constitutes around 35-40% of its overall weight. Its popularity as bird feed quickly soared, particularly among finches and other small birds that consume seeds. The preference for Nyjer seed stems from the fact that it does not readily sprout, reducing the likelihood of unwanted plants growing in the garden.

In modern times, Nyjer seed has become a common ingredient in bird feeders and an essential item for bird enthusiasts and backyard bird watchers. Its small size and high oil content make it highly attractive to finches, sparrows, and other small songbirds. Specialized feeders have been designed specifically to accommodate these tiny seeds and minimize wastage.

Why is Nyjer Seed Popular for Bird Feeding? - What To Do With Old Nyjer Seed?

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Why is Nyjer Seed Popular for Bird Feeding?

Nyjer seed is popular for bird feeding. It is nutritious, suitable for small birds, leaves no waste, has a high oil content, and attracts a wide variety of birds.

Nutritious: Nyjer seed is packed with essential nutrients for birds’ health and well-being.

Suitable for small birds: The small size of Nyjer seed attracts finches, siskins, and sparrows.

No waste: Nyjer seed minimizes mess and waste by not leaving behind shells.

High oil content: Nyjer seed provides birds with energy throughout the day.

Attracts a wide variety of birds: Nyjer seed draws in different bird species, making the feeding station lively.

Nyjer seed’s nutritional value, small size, lack of waste, high oil content, and ability to attract a wide variety of birds explain its popularity among bird enthusiasts.

Fun fact: Nyjer seed is not actually a seed but the tiny black seeds of the Nyjer plant. Birds absolutely love it!

How Long Does Nyjer Seed Last?

How Long Does Nyjer Seed Last?

Nyjer seed, or thistle seed, is popular among bird enthusiasts for attracting finches and small birds. Consider these key points about the lifespan of nyjer seed:

1. Storage: Proper storage is crucial for nyjer seed. Store it in an airtight container to prevent moisture and pests.

2. Freshness: Nyjer seed typically lasts 3-6 months. Storage conditions and seed quality can affect freshness.

3. Quality: Purchase nyjer seed from a reputable source and check for mold or insects.

Pro-tip: To keep nyjer seed fresh, buy smaller quantities and store them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

Remember, ensuring the freshness of nyjer seed is crucial for the well-being of birds.

What Are Some Signs that Nyjer Seed is Old?

What Are Some Signs that Nyjer Seed is Old?

  • Mold or fungal growth: If you see any mold or fungus on the Nyjer seed, it is old and should not be used.
  • Discoloration: Old Nyjer seed may have a dull or faded appearance, losing its dark black color.
  • Unpleasant odor: Musty, rancid, or spoiled smells indicate old Nyjer seed that should be discarded.
  • Clumping or caking: Moisture absorption leading to clumping or caking indicates old Nyjer seed that has lost its freshness.
  • Decreased bird activity: A decline in bird activity around the Nyjer seed feeder could mean the seed has gone bad and is not attracting birds.

The Nyjer seed, also known as thistle seed, comes from the yellow flowers of the annual plant Guizotia abyssinica. It gained popularity in bird feeding due to its high oil and protein content, making it a nutritious food source for finches and other small birds. Originally from Ethiopia, Nyjer seed became a commercial crop in India before spreading to other countries. Today, it is widely used in backyard bird feeders and is favored by bird enthusiasts for attracting finches.

Can Old Nyjer Seed Still be Used?

Can Old Nyjer Seed Still be Used? - What To Do With Old Nyjer Seed?

Photo Credits: Fruitsveges.Com by Benjamin Lee

Old Nyjer seed can still be used if it is not too old or spoiled. Can old Nyjer seed still be used? Consider the following factors before using old Nyjer seed:

  • Appearance: Check if the seed is dry, clean, and free from mold or spoilage.
  • Smell: Sniff the seed. If it smells rancid or foul, discard it.
  • Texture: Feel the seed. If it feels soft or damp, it may be spoiled and should not be used.
  • Storage conditions: Consider how the seed has been stored. Exposure to moisture or extreme temperatures may lead to spoilage.
  • Seed lifespan: Nyjer seed typically stays fresh for 3 to 6 months. If it has been beyond this timeframe, it may be stale and less appealing to birds.
  • Bird activity: Observe if birds are consuming the seed or avoiding it. This can indicate if the seed is still fresh.

Before feeding old Nyjer seed to birds, thoroughly inspect it and use your judgment to ensure its suitability. Can old Nyjer seed still be used?

What To Do with Old Nyjer Seed?

What To Do with Old Nyjer Seed? - What To Do With Old Nyjer Seed?

Photo Credits: Fruitsveges.Com by Peter Wilson

Got some old Nyjer seed lying around? Wondering what you can do with it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this section, we’ll explore a variety of creative ways to put that old Nyjer seed to good use. From repurposing it as garden fertilizer to creating homemade bird feeders, using it in crafts, donating it to wildlife centers, composting, and proper storage for future use, we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to make the most of your old Nyjer seed. Let’s dive in and give those seeds a new lease on life!

1. Repurpose as Garden or Plant Fertilizer

When repurposing old Nyjer seed, you can use it as garden or plant fertilizer.

  • Mix with compost: Incorporate old Nyjer seed into your compost pile to enrich it with nutrients. Mix the seed with other organic materials like kitchen waste or yard trimmings for a nutrient-rich compost.
  • Create seed mulch: Spread old Nyjer seed directly onto the soil around your plants. As the seed breaks down, it will release nutrients into the soil, acting as a natural fertilizer and mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
  • Make seed tea: Soak old Nyjer seed in water for a few days to create a nutrient-dense liquid fertilizer. Use this seed tea to water your plants for an extra nutrient boost.
  • Use in potting mix: Incorporate old Nyjer seed into potting mixes for indoor or outdoor plants. The seed can enhance the soil’s nutrient content and promote healthier plant growth.
  • Apply as top dressing: Sprinkle old Nyjer seed directly onto the soil surface around your plants, avoiding contact with the plant stems. Gently work it into the top layer of soil, and it will gradually release nutrients to nourish the plants.

By repurposing old Nyjer seed as garden or plant fertilizer, you can minimize waste and give your plants a natural nutrient boost.

2. Create Homemade Bird Feeders

To create homemade bird feeders, follow these steps:

1. Gather materials: You need a plastic bottle or container, scissors, string or wire, and birdseed.

2. Cut an opening: Use scissors to cut a small hole near the bottom of the plastic bottle or container, serving as the feeding opening for birds.

3. Add perches: Cut two or three small slits just below the feeding opening to serve as perches for birds.

4. Fill with birdseed: Fill the plastic bottle or container with birdseed through the top opening. Fill enough to attract birds without overflowing.

5. Hang the feeder: Attach string or wire to the top of the bottle or container and securely hang it from a tree branch or hook.

6. Place in a bird-friendly area: Choose a location easily accessible to birds, away from potential predators.

Creating homemade bird feeders is an enjoyable and cost-effective way to attract birds to your backyard. It provides them with food and allows you to observe and appreciate these creatures up close. By following these steps, you can contribute to bird well-being and create a welcoming environment for them to thrive.

3. Use as Decorative Elements in Crafts

If you have old Nyjer seed that is no longer suitable for bird feeding, you can repurpose it as decorative elements in crafts. Here are some ideas:

-Create a beautiful mosaic: Crush the old Nyjer seed and use it to create intricate patterns and designs on surfaces like picture frames, vases, or wooden boxes.

-Make unique jewelry: Thread the old Nyjer seed onto jewelry wires to create necklaces, bracelets, or earrings with interesting texture.

-Enhance artwork: Use the old Nyjer seed to add texture and depth to paintings or collages. Glue the seeds onto canvas or paper to create patterns or focal points.

-Add a natural touch to home decor: Fill clear glass jars or vases with the old Nyjer seed to create decorative accents for shelves, tables, or mantels. The seeds act as a beautiful base and add an organic element to your home.

-Create ornaments or decorations: Incorporate the old Nyjer seed into DIY ornaments, wreaths, or garlands. You can spray paint the seeds in different colors to match your desired theme or add sparkle.

By using old Nyjer seed in crafts, you can give a second life to the seeds and add unique, natural elements to your creative projects.

4. Donate to Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers or Animal Shelters

Donate old Nyjer seed to wildlife rehabilitation centers or animal shelters. These organizations rely on food donations to support the birds under their care. Donating the seed helps provide food for birds in rehabilitation or in animal shelters.

Wildlife rehabilitation centers and animal shelters often need bird food, so your donation will be put to good use. By donating the seed, you contribute to the well-being of birds and support these organizations. Contact local wildlife rehabilitation centers or animal shelters to inquire about their acceptance of bird food donations, like Nyjer seed.

Fact: The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association states that wildlife rehabilitation centers provide care for injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife, aiming to return them to their natural habitats.

5. Compost the Old Nyjer Seed

Composting the old Nyjer seed is a sustainable method of disposal that can benefit your garden. Follow these steps to effectively compost the old Nyjer seed:

  1. Establish a compost bin or designated area in your garden.
  2. Utilize a lid or cover on the bin to prevent pests from entering.
  3. Gather the old Nyjer seed and introduce it to the compost mixture.
  4. Combine the Nyjer seed with organic materials such as leaves, grass clippings, or kitchen scraps.
  5. Regularly turn the compost to facilitate decomposition.
  6. Maintain the compost’s moisture level, ensuring it is damp but not saturated. Add water if necessary.
  7. Allow for natural decomposition to occur over several months to a year.
  8. Once the compost transforms into a dark and crumbly texture, it is ready for use as fertilizer in your garden.

By composting the old Nyjer seed, you can reduce waste and attain nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Follow these steps to compost effectively and make a positive contribution to the environment.

6. Store Properly for Future Use

To ensure proper storage of nyjer seed for future use, follow these steps:

1. Store the remaining nyjer seed in an airtight container to maintain its freshness and prevent moisture and pests from getting in.

2. Remember to label the container with the date when you store the seed so that you can keep track of its age.

3. Find a cool and dry place to store the container, away from direct sunlight, to preserve the quality of the seed.

4. Regularly inspect the seed for any signs of mold or pests. If you notice any, it is best to discard the seed.

5. Before using the stored seed, check its freshness and quality. Look for any discoloration or unpleasant odor that may indicate it is no longer suitable for bird feeding.

6. If the stored seed is still fresh and of good quality, you can refill your feeders and attract birds to your garden.

Pro-tip: Remember not to store the nyjer seed for more than 6-12 months as its nutritional value may decrease over time. It is recommended to regularly replenish your stock with fresh nyjer seed for optimal bird feeding.

Some Facts About What To Do With Old Nyjer Seed:

  • ✅ If nyjer seed gets moldy, it should be discarded and the feeder should be cleaned with a 10% bleach/water solution. (Source:
  • ✅ Finches do not like dirty feeders and will avoid them if they are moldy or unclean. (Source:
  • ✅ Nyjer seed attracts rodents less than other types of birdseed, but it is still possible for rats to be attracted to seed husks. (Source:
  • ✅ To prevent bird seed from spilling out of a feeder, you can use a bird-seed catcher, stabilize the feeder, avoid using mixed-seed bags, opt for “no waste” blends, and sterilize the seed. (Source:
  • ✅ To keep rodents away from bird feeders, you can use a squirrel baffle, covered feeders, seed trays, and covered storage bins. (Source:

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do with old nyjer seed?

If your nyjer seed is no longer fresh and nutritious, there are a few options for dealing with it. You can either dispose of it or use it for composting.

How can I determine if nyjer seed is too old to use?

There are several signs to look out for when determining if nyjer seed is too old to use. These include the presence of mold or fungus, sprouting, and discoloration.

Can I still feed old nyjer seed to birds?

If the nyjer seed is not moldy or foul, birds will still eat it even if it’s old. They may refuse to eat stale seeds.

Is it safe to compost old nyjer seed?

Yes, old nyjer seed can be composted. It is important to check the seed first to ensure it is untreated and unsprouted.

What is the best way to dispose of old nyjer seed?

The best way to dispose of old nyjer seed is by throwing it in the trash bin for proper disposal. Avoid throwing it in the yard, as it can attract pests and predators.

Can I use old nyjer seed for any other purposes?

Yes, old nyjer seed can be used for alternative uses such as making heat bags or composting. Just make sure to check the seed for freshness before using it.