How to Sterilize Bird Seed

Things You'll Need

  • Conventional or microwave oven

  • Cookie sheet or paper bag

Use your oven or microwave oven to sterilize bird seeds

Bird feeders, available from retail, hardware and home improvement stores, let you feed birds in your backyard without the mess of tossing bread, seeds and other feed on the ground. But bird seeds dropped outside of feeders have a tendency of sprouting. To stop bird seed from sprouting and messing up your yard, sterilize the seeds with heat. The sterilizing process doesn't affect the nutritional value of the seeds and birds will still consume the seeds.

Sterilizing with Conventional Oven

Step 1

Turn on your oven. Set the temperature control to 300 degrees.

Step 2

Spread 1 gal. of bird seed out evenly on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the oven. Let the seeds heat for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the cookie sheet and let the seeds cool for 20 minutes before placing them in the bird feeder(s).

Sterilizing with a Microwave Oven

Step 1

Set the microwave oven's temperature control to "High." Enter five minutes on the oven's timer.

Step 2

Place 1 gal. of bird seed in a paper bag. Place the paper bag in the microwave oven and close the door.

Step 3

Press "Start." Remove the paper bag after the heating process is complete. Let the seeds cool for 20 minutes before placing them in the feeders.


Place a plastic or other type of tray under your bird feeder(s) to catch falling seeds to prevent the seeds from entering the ground and sprouting.

references & resources