How to Make Your Own Bird Food: A Cheaper, Healthier Alternative for Birds!

4 min


The cost of bird food, like that of just about everything else these days, continues to rise. Currently, the price of many commercial bird foods is over $10 per pound. And that’s if you buy in bulk or with larger bags!

Even worse, many commercial bird feeds lack essential nutrients because they are made with cheap fillers. Many species of birds, including the cardinal, blue jay, and starling, need a diet high in fat and calories in order to survive the winter.

The good news is that you can save a ton of money while still giving your feathered friends the best nutrition possible by using this method.

With that in mind, here’s how to make your own homemade bird feed this year – and fill all of your bird feeders without breaking the bank!

The Best Ingredients – Making the Most of Your Money!

Feed for birds should have at least three different types of food. Not only will a wide selection entice more birds to your feeder, but it will also allow you to cater to their varying nutritional needs.

Naturally, there are countless seeds and good food sources that are perfect for bird feeding. However, there are better options than others if you want to feed them well and save more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

Dried fruit and safflower seeds, for instance, are great examples of nutritious bird food. Unfortunately, both are also incredibly costly. You may expect to pay more than $50 for a fifty pound bag of safflower seeds. As for dried fruit, well, it’s fruit, and you know how pricey that can be!

In that case, what are some low-cost options that won’t sacrifice quality? The following are four excellent feed options that can be combined to create a cheap and very effective bird feed mix:

  • White millet
  • Peanuts
  • black oil sunflower seeds
  • cracked corn
Cracked corn, peanuts and black oil sunflowers

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds

Black oil sunflower seeds are great for homemade feed since they have a fat content of more than 25%, in addition to a high fiber and protein content. Even better, most birds enjoy them, so there is no waste!

Black oil sunflower seeds are the best of the sunflower seed varieties. Birds can be given them in or out of the shell, or both, to accommodate the needs of the smaller birds, who may have trouble cracking open the shelled nuts.

Home bird feeders often include a portion of Black Oil sunflower seeds in a blend of other sunflower seed species to provide a more balanced diet for the birds. The cost of sunflower seeds has increased over the past few years, but they are still very inexpensive when bought in large quantities to feed birds.


Cracked Corn

Cracked corn is a great way to increase the fiber and protein in a bird’s diet. When combined with black oil sunflower seed, it makes for a complete energy supply for birds.

Always choose cracked corn over whole corn when stocking up on feed. The difficulty of eating by all birds means that whole maize will not attract very many little birds. Feed stores typically sell 50-pound bags of cracked corn for less than $20.


White Millet

Millet and milo are frequently mistaken for one another when it comes to bird seed and feed. Despite their similarities in size and pronunciation, they are not interchangeable as bird food. When it comes to providing your birds with the food they enjoy, recognizing the difference can be a real asset.

Both millet and milo are small, round seeds that often fall out of feeders on the ground. Millet is highly nutritious for birds, providing them with protein, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It’s a bonus because it’s also an excellent source of oil.

Milo, on the other hand, is used as a filler in bird meals despite the fact that, realistically, most birds simply will not consume it. In comparison to millet, it is not nearly as nutritious, and it often rots in the ground. If you do buy bird feed, ensure sure milo is not one of the key ingredients.

Contrarily, millet will bring in flocks of winged visitors. Millet is a favorite food of ground-feeding birds such as thrashers, doves, cardinals, and sparrows. There are two sorts of millet to keep in mind: red and white. Although both are beneficial to birds, white millet appears to be their favorite.



Feeding birds peanuts is a great way to ensure they get the nutrients they need. Besides being a good source of oil and fiber, they are also an excellent source of protein for birds.

You can use peanuts with or without the shells in your homemade bird food. Some birds prefer them with the shells on, while others find it easier to just eat the nuts, hence many dedicated bird feeders like to include both in their homemade feed.

When bought in large quantities, peanuts from feed stores can be quite cheap. However, you need to exercise caution because they can also draw in unwanted visitors like squirrels and chipmunks.


Add Some Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a great way to attract birds to your feeder, but it may be pricey. Among dried fruits, raisins are usually among the cheapest, so if you get a good price on them, don’t hesitate to throw some into the mix. The reward will be well appreciated by your feathered friends.

One word of caution about raisins: both grapes and raisins may be extremely harmful to dogs, so if you have dogs or have dogs visiting your yard, leave them out.


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