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Old 03-03-2004, 11:21 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 557
Does Wild Birdseed Attract Mice And Rats?

Last September, a neighbour of mine sublet her apartment because of rats. Two other tenants had the same problem, but stayed. In an 8-apartment building (4 apartments on each side), the three incidents happened all on the left side of the building. My side, the right side, had no problems. I figured it was because of a brick firewall.

In January, when we were going through some very miserable weather, I wondered how the birds and stray cats were surviving. So I hung a birdfeeder on my balcony. Every morning at 7am and every afternoon at about 3:30pm, the birds were there faithfully. I thought it was sweet that the 'adult' birds let the 'baby' birds eat first. Something must have screwed up with Mother Nature. These were babies at -40 degrees.

I noticed they were 'dropping' a lot of seed on the balcony. I felt they were wasting it because it didn't suit them. While perusing other seed at the store, a woman who obviously knew what she was doing, was filling up on her supplies. So I asked her. She said the birds crack the seed open and spit the husk part out. They weren't wasting. So I continued with my brand.

Milder weather is now upon us and I don't replenish the feeder as dutifully as I did in the freezedown. I don't want them dependent on me, as I will be moving. Today, my landlord came by for various and sundry reasons. I was surprised to hear him ask me to take the birdfeeders down.

This whole time, I thought birdshit was a problem. But since I'm up to my tuches in snow in my backyard (and no one uses it even in the summer), I didn't figure white on white was a problem. Seems that's not the problem. He says: It attracts rats and mice. Being that he's a bullshit artist, I'm not inclined to take his word for it.

I sure as shit won't cop the blame for a problem in the building 4 months before I started feeding birds. And as I can see some green patches around, I'm quite ready to give up the feeder. He wants me to go clean up what's fallen onto the ground. Easier said than done as it's all in melting snow. Even a Glad bag can't handle more than 2 shovels full. I'll find a way to do that, but what I'm wondering is:

Does birdseed attract rats and mice?

For the record, my bag of seed's ingredients reads as such:
~ White Millet
~ Grain Products
~ Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Crude Protein: 12% min.
Crude Fat: 5% min.
Crude Fiber: 5% max.
Old 03-03-2004, 11:34 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Great Salkehatchie Swamp
Posts: 1,196
You bet your ass it attracts rats and mice, squirrels too. And nothing is more flea-bitten than a squirrel. The birds generally eat the black oil sunflower seeds and throw the rest out. The sunflower seeds are expensive and the millet it cheap shit that makes the bag full. Not many birds will eat millet, especially if there are sunflower seeds around. I feed birds but usually put poison on the ground for the rats, some birds die from the poison, too. Just so you know. I'll hide around the corner of the house and shoot the squirrels with a .22, they're good with gravy.
Old 03-03-2004, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 825
If you have any kind of seedy edibles, freely available in your garden, it will attract rats and mice and squirrels and whatever other seed-eating vermin you have in the area.

They don't know that it's sold as bird seed, and they like it, so of course they will come and get it if nice people leave it out.
Old 03-03-2004, 12:00 PM
vd vd is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 578
For us, it definitely seems to be attracting jack-rabbits this winter. They, in turn, are attracting coyotes.
Old 03-03-2004, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 557
Oy gevalt!

I better get my ass out there. I thought I was helping.

I did take a look a few hours ago, at what the landlord was complainging about. He certainly had the right to complain. Snow on top of birdseed on top of snow on top of birdseed doesn't look so bad. But now, we've had 4 days in a row over freezing. The snow is melting. But the birdseed remains.

To be honest, it looks like 5 feet by 3 feet of a bee's nest. I don't know how I'm gonna do this, but for esthetics only, it's not fair for my downstairs neighbour to see this outside her window.

I was naive. But I had good intentions.
Old 03-03-2004, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 557
Lovely .... Ok, I admit, I caused a problem. Before I went out to clean, I knocked on my downstairs neighbours door, to apologize. They aren't home.

But now I don't know how to get out of it. I took my big Rubbermaid trash can with me (not the kind with wheels). With good intentions, I lined it with 2 heavy duty big bags. Forget about it.

I shoveled the worse of it from in front of their semi-basement. But there's still a lot there, frozen into the ice. I've got heavy snow in my trash can, that comes along with the birdfood. There's no way to lift the bag out. I moved the trash can away from their view. But now my $30 can is sitting somewhere between our backyard and the parking lot. If there was a way to drill holes in it and let it leak the water from melting snow, without leaking birdseed too.

I'm truly fucked and feel bad. How would you handle this?
Old 03-03-2004, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 12,509
Well, after you get this mess cleaned up, you might want to look for a birdseed infused with capsacin.

Capsacin is what makes hot peppers hot, but only mammals can taste it. That'll keep the vermin from eating it. The birds will be perfectly fine.
Old 03-03-2004, 01:17 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Somewhere near Boston
Posts: 9,907
Originally Posted by CheekyMonkey613
If there was a way to drill holes in it and let it leak the water from melting snow, without leaking birdseed too.

I'm truly fucked and feel bad. How would you handle this?
Wait til the snow thaws. Tip over barrel. Let water drain out. Sweep up any seeds that got spilled in the process.

For the remaining seed, don't sweat it. It's biodegradable. If any of it is edible, then it's already been et. The rest is just husks and will disappear in the spring.
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