Bird seed mix - recommendations?

My first sac of 25kg of bird seed mix gone (and the season is nowhere near the end yet). So I am about to stock up. I was wondering if anybody can recommend a good mix - the one that just finished was the Beaks wild bird food but I noticed the birds threw away enough undesirable parts which I then had to clear off the grass on a daily basis (some of it sprouted too ...). I am looking for a good seed mix to use as a staple food (sultanas and corn won't go wasted) - I do add extra sunflower hearts, dried mealworms and the three varieties of suet pellets (berries, insects and worms). Main garden visitors: pidges galore, magpies, house sparrows, wrens, great and blue tits, goldfinches, dunnocks, robins and last but not least starlings. Mr and Mrs Woodpecker also do us the honour of visiting the establishment but they are hooked on the nuts it appears. 

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"Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • Hi Marina,  I use Peckers or Bucktons No Mess seed mix which I buy in bulk from H.J. Lea-Oakes.    The only think I would recommend is that you buy seed without Wheat which is always wasted - a lot of cheaper brands contain a good quantity of wheat which eventually works out poorer value than a more expensive seed mix as birds chuck the wheat on the ground and preferably buy no mess mix unless you want to microwave each batch of seed for 30 seconds to stop it germinating !  

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Thanks Hazel - I have ended up with a sow field of Wheat for a garden ... hence the question. I don't particularly want to microwave food (no time) so I suppose the best option is this one?

    Next question is, do you buy it on line - because they don't seem to be having the option.

    I couldn't find a No Mess in the Buctons website, only a Premium one - and this contains flaked wheat.

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    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • In reply to Marina P:

    Hi Marina, yes, that's the one I buy (no mess mix) £11.99 for 15 kilos which is very good value;  it does have quite a lot of round millet seeds in which I would have preferred not be in the mix but having said that it does get eaten unlike the wheat blends.      

    Unfortunately,  you have to visit H.J. Lea-Oakes to purchase unless you are ordering 50 bags where they may deliver to you !       We use the Sandbach (Wheelock) store but they have other ones in Congleton, Wardle and Aston.       I purchased the Bucktons from H.J. Lea-Oakes store but have seen it in some garden centres.     Here's a link to stockists

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Thanks Hazel, I will try this one. It is actually slightly cheaper than the one I buy (20 kgs for £26). I know one of the stockists - relatively close to me so I will go today.

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    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • In reply to Marina P:

    Hi Marina-apart from Goldfinch and woodpeckers I get similar species in my garden,the most abundant being house Sparrows.I mix kibbled hearts,kibbled peanuts and suet sprinkles together for them and the other small birds, and ordinary sunflower hearts,kibbled peanuts and a few handful of ordinary suet pellets for the other birds -these go in feeders and trays.I also put down soaked mealworms,currants,suet pellets and crumbled suet blocks on the grass for Blackbirds etc.I spent years trying different seed mixes (including no mess ones) with most of it getting thrown on the floor by the Sparrows,the past 2 yrs of this blend I rarely get any left-if i do,I take this as a sign to cut back feeding a bit-they will let you know when natural foods are more readily available! Hope my experiences are useful for you

    Good luck, jayne

    See my Flickr photos here.

  • In reply to welsh lass:

    Hi Marina.

    Like Jayne, I've abandoned the seed mixes after trying most of them over the years. I  mix kibbled peanuts and sunflowers with suet pellets and raisins for ground feeding and have a sunflower hearts feeder. I've just put out a new peanut feeder for the birds to get used to. The peanut feeder isn't popular at this time of year but will stay year round.

    I still fill my sunflower heart feeder. Sparrows, gold finches, tits and even chaffies are still using it and the dunnocks and wood pigeon hover up the debris.The robin has learnt to hover and snatch.  Ground feeding stops when the first young starlings appear but I will have tapered it off beforehand. And relent if the weather turns nasty or we have days of rain.

    I use the Really Wild Bird Food company. It isn't the cheapest but I've always found the quality good and they do free next day delivery for bird food.

    Good luck

  • In reply to Grandmamac:

    Thank you ladies. I need the seed for the pigeons mainly, they eat it like there is no tomorrow. Overall it's mainly the wheat that goes wasted -  and it grows everywhere (even in my rose pots!) With the exception of the kibbled peanuts I mix very much what you do (sunflower hearts, seed, suet pellets (berries, mealworms and insects) and dried mealies. I usually mix a large amount to last me for the week - hence I can't microwave it to avoid sprouting (the suet pellets stink for some reason if they get in the microwave).

    There is a separate nyger feeder for the goldfinches as, if I mix it, it appears to go wasted.

    I've got a super peanut feeder and the birds like it, they actually use it a lot.

    In addition, little darlings get cereal blocks (I used to buy these but now I am making them with suet, honey and cereal), dried mealworms in a dedicated feeder and rehydrated mealworms.

    I don't put food down for ground feeders as I have cats, two of which wouldn't miss the opportunity of trying their agility on birds. Instead I have low-ish trays on the bird feeder. The dunnocks use them occasionally, though dunnocks and blackbirds often collect under the feeding pole to eat what is thrown down by the others.

    Hazel, I went to Jollyes yesterday, no luck. Lots of food for racing pigeons but no No Mess seed mix. I did come home with three massive bags of Honeyfields Fruity Feast mix though. I crushed some of it (it has nuts, bananas sultanas and all sorts) and added it to the pastry today, together with some peanut butter (that's a new one for me). Needless to say, the new pastry was a massive success, our female sparrow couldn't keep her beak off it! It even convinced the blue tits to come out in the open.

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    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • In reply to Marina P:

    Further research: No wheat no pigeons (see here). I couldn't do this, Vulcan and the gang would be heartbroken. Looks like I will have to continue with wheat blends but no grow ones. 

    Incidentally, has anybody tried the aniseed bird mixes? What's your view on them?

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    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir

  • In reply to Marina P:

    Hi Marina,  the no mess seed mix contains corn bits and sunflower hearts so the pigeons should like it;  our Woodpigeons and Stock Doves would go for pure sunflower hearts if I let them occupy the feeders which they cling to all the time but instead they will eat the seed mix which has the corn as well as sun-hearts.  I wouldn't have thought you have to give them wheat but then again I don't get feral pigeons (rock doves), just the Woodpigeons and Stock Doves which will eat the no mess mix .    Not tried the aniseed bird mix, didn't even know that flavour existed for birds  lol  

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Well apparently it does exist and it attracts birds a lot. See here . I have also read that aniseed has 'medicinal' properties boosting the birds' immune system. I think I will get a couple of kilos of the old mix too just in case the collared doves and rock doves will be unhappy with the lack of wheat. If they are ok with it then I won't buy it again and continue with the No Mess mix.

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    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir