Under certain conditions, such as temperature and humidity, certain types of fungi grow on food, including seeds. These fungi secrete toxic substances that can cause poisoning to the birds that ingest them.
If you visit a storage facility where bird seeds are stored in warm and moist conditions, you are one step away from buying fungal contaminated food for your birds. Therefore, it is essential to purchasing seeds from stores that adhere to strict storage standards.
The first step to take is to check the expiration date. Never buy any food that has passed its expiration date or that does not have the date recorded on the package. Then use all of your senses to examine the seeds. Fresh seeds feel soft, look shiny, smell natural, and taste pleasant.
For example, if the seeds are pale, it means they are not fresh and maybe too old to offer any nutritional value, and if seeds taste rancid, they aren’t fit for consumption. However, sometimes food can be contaminated with fungal toxins without any notable signs and can only be detected by laboratory tests.
Moreover, the seed mixture shouldn’t contain dust or insects. When buying a bag of bird seeds, empty it in a clean container to see if the seeds emit a cloud of dust. Dusty seeds are not safe for birds as they may cause health problems down the road.
Finally, you can use the method of seed germination to check if seeds are good to feed to your birds. If 50% or more of the seeds sprout within 48 hours, this indicates that the seeds are suitable for consumption, but less than 50% is an indication that the seeds aren’t fit to consume.