Can Birds Eat Moldy Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are a popular food for birds, providing them with a nutritious source of protein and fat. However, if the sunflower seeds are left out too long, they can become moldy and potentially hazardous for birds. Can birds eat moldy sunflower seeds? In this blog, we’ll explore the risks of feeding birds moldy sunflower seeds and what happens if they accidentally eat them, as well as how to prevent moldy sunflower seeds from entering a bird’s diet.

Can Birds Eat Moldy Sunflower Seeds?

Moldy sunflower seeds contain mycotoxins, which are toxic chemicals produced by fungi. These toxins can be harmful to birds if ingested. As such, it is not recommended to feed moldy sunflower seeds to birds under any circumstances. If you’re unsure if the sunflower seeds have gone bad, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw them out.

The Risks of Feeding Birds Moldy Sunflower Seeds

The primary risk associated with feeding birds moldy sunflower seeds is the potential for mycotoxin poisoning. Mycotoxins can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild gastrointestinal discomfort to severe organ failure. In some cases, they can even be fatal. Additionally, moldy sunflower seeds can harbor bacteria and other pathogens, which can be dangerous to birds.

What Happens If a Bird Eats Moldy Sunflower Seeds?

If a bird were to eat moldy sunflower seeds, the effects would depend on the amount eaten and the species of the bird. Smaller birds, such as finches or canaries, would be more susceptible to the effects of mycotoxins than larger birds, such as parrots or macaws. Symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Left untreated, the bird may become severely ill or die.

How to Prevent Your Bird from Eating Moldy Sunflower Seeds

The best way to prevent your bird from eating moldy sunflower seeds is to store them properly. Sunflower seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place and should be used within a few months of purchase. Additionally, make sure to check the seeds regularly for signs of mold or spoilage. If any mold is present, discard the seeds immediately. If the seeds are left out in the open, they should be covered to prevent contamination.


Moldy sunflower seeds can be dangerous for birds, as they can contain mycotoxins and other hazardous substances. To ensure your bird’s safety, it’s important to store sunflower seeds properly and check them regularly for signs of spoilage. If you find any mold on the seeds, discard them immediately. By taking these precautions, you can prevent your bird from unintentionally eating moldy sunflower seeds.