Should You Add Millet Bird Seed to Your Feeder?



Millet Bird Seed

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If you’re a bird enthusiast, you may be wondering whether or not you should put millet bird seed in your feeder. Millet is a type of small seed that is often included in birdseed mixes. While some wild birds love millet, others may not be as interested in it.

So, should you add millet to your feeder?

Millet is a nutritious seed packed with proteins and essential nutrients, loved by many bird species, especially smaller ones like sparrows and finches. Besides, it’s cost-effective compared to other birdseeds. Therefore, including millet in your feeder will not only attract a variety of bird species but also provide them with a nutritious food source, all while being light on your pocket.

Key Takeaways

  • Millet is a popular bird seed that can attract a wide variety of bird species.
  • It’s especially favored by ground-feeding birds such as sparrows and doves.
  • Before adding millet to your bird feeding station, consider your local bird population and bird-watching preferences.
  • Monitor the feeder after adding millet to gauge which species are attracted to your feeder and adjust accordingly.

What is Millet Seed?

Millet is a term used for various small-seeded grasses that are often cultivated as cereal crops. These hardy and drought-tolerant crops are primarily grown in semiarid, poor soil regions across Asia and Africa. There are many types of millet, including pearl, finger, proso, and foxtail millet.

Millet, particularly white proso millet seed, is favored by many ground-feeding birds, including sparrows, doves, and quails. However, it’s worth noting that while millet can attract a wide variety of birds, it may also attract some less desirable species, such as house sparrows and starlings who also eat millet.

Birds typically prefer white millet to red millet, but they will still eat red millet if available. On the other hand, milo, also known as grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), is not as favored by most bird species. Despite its bright color and spherical shape, milo is often left uneaten in feeders, leading to waste.

If you notice small red seeds in a wild birdseed mix, it’s beneficial to verify whether they are red millet or milo. Balanced and bird-favored bird mixes can help sustain a healthy and diverse bird population in your area, enhancing your bird-watching experience so ensure you have a mix of seeds or even sunflower chips to ensure the wild bird at your feeder is getting their essential nutrition.

Types of Birds Attracted to Millet

Millet is especially loved by ground-feeding birds such as sparrows, towhees, juncos, and quails. These birds will eagerly flock to your feeder if you offer millet.

Millet can also attract other species. Cardinals, finches including purple finches, pine siskins and mourning doves are all known to enjoy millet. House sparrows, who are often considered undesirable visitors to feeders, also enjoy millet.

It’s important to note that while millet can attract a variety of birds, it may not be the best food choice for all species. For example, larger birds such as jays and woodpeckers may prefer larger seeds or nuts.

Benefits of Millet Seed Over Other Seeds

Here are a few reasons why millet seed might be a good choice for your feathered friends:

  • Affordability: Millet seed is often less expensive than other types of birdseed, such as sunflower seeds or thistle. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, millet might be a good choice for you.
  • Versatility: Millet seed can attract a variety of bird species, from finches to sparrows to doves. This means that if you’re looking to attract a diverse group of birds to your feeder, millet might be a good option.
  • Nutrition: While millet seed might not be as high in fat as other types of birdseed, it does contain important nutrients like protein, fiber, and B vitamins. Plus, birds seem to enjoy eating it, so it can be a good way to supplement their diet.
  • Ease of Use: Millet seed is relatively easy to use in bird feeders. It can be poured into a hopper or tube feeder, or scattered on the ground for ground-feeding birds. Plus, it doesn’t tend to make as much of a mess as some other types of birdseed.

Considerations When Using Millet Bird Seed

There are a few things to consider before using millet:


Millet seed can be messy and can create a lot of waste. If you have a ground feeder or a low-tray feeder, scattering millet on the ground or on the tray can help reduce waste. However, if you have a hanging feeder, millet can easily fall to the ground and create a mess.


Millet seed can be prone to mold if it gets wet. Make sure to clean your feeder regularly and replace any wet or moldy seed. Moldy seed can be harmful to birds and can cause illness.


Millet seed can attract predators such as squirrels and raccoons. If you have a squirrel-proof feeder, make sure to use it to keep these predators away from your feeder. Make sure to clean up any spilled seed to avoid attracting predators.


Millet seed can also attract cats. If you have outdoor cats in your area, it’s best to avoid using millet seed in your feeder to avoid attracting them.


Millet seed can attract a variety of wildlife, including deer and other mammals. If you live in an area with a lot of wildlife, it’s best to avoid using millet seed in your feeder to avoid attracting unwanted visitors.


Millet seed can also be prone to bacterial growth if it gets wet. Make sure to clean your feeder regularly and replace any wet or moldy seed to avoid bacterial growth.

Best Bird Feeder for White Millet Seed

When it comes to feeding birds, choosing the right feeder is crucial. Different types of feeders attract different birds, and some feeders are more suitable for certain types of birdseed than others. If you’re planning to feed millet seed to your backyard birds, here are some tips on choosing the right feeder:

Hopper Feeders

Hopper feeders, also known as house bird feeders, are a popular choice for feeding millet seed. These feeders have a hinged rooftop section that lifts up, allowing you to fill the feeder with seed. As birds perch on the feeder and eat the seed, more seed funnels into a plexiglass dish that empties into a shallow tray. Hopper feeders are ideal for ground-feeding and non-ground-feeding birds, making them a good choice for feeding millet seed.

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Tray Feeders

Tray feeders are another good option for feeding millet seed. These feeders consist of a flat tray that is filled with seed and placed on a platform or hung from a hook. Tray feeders are ideal for ground-feeding birds, such as sparrows, juncos, and towhees. They can also attract larger birds, such as doves and pigeons.

Feeder Placement

When placing your feeder, it’s important to consider the safety of the birds. Place your feeder near a window or other protected area where birds can easily see and access it. Avoid placing your feeder near a busy road or other areas where birds may be at risk of predators. Keep your feeder clean and well-maintained to ensure the health and safety of your backyard birds.

FAQs on White Millet Bird seed

Is millet a good bird seed?

Absolutely, millet is an excellent bird seed. It’s rich in essential nutrients and appeals to a wide variety of bird species. It’s especially good for smaller birds, like sparrows, doves, and finches, who find it easy to eat due to its small size.

What birds don’t eat millet?

While many birds enjoy millet, some species, particularly larger ones like crows, hawks, and owls, aren’t big fans of this seed. Also, birds like robins and mockingbirds that favor fruits, insects, and worms over seeds are less likely to eat millet.

What kind of birds eat millet?

Millet is a favorite among many small to medium-sized birds. It’s particularly loved by sparrows, doves, finches, juncos, and quail. These species find the small size of millet seeds easy to handle and consume.

What are the benefits of white millet for birds?

White millet is an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates for birds, providing them with the energy they need. Its small size makes it easily digestible, particularly for small birds. It’s a cost-effective seed for bird feeders.

Is white millet the same as pearl millet?

While they’re both types of millet, white and pearl millet are different varieties. White millet, also known as proso millet, is smaller in size and lighter in color, while pearl millet has a slightly larger, darker grain.

Is white proso millet the same as white millet?

Yes, white proso millet is the same as white millet. The term “proso” is simply a type of millet. It’s known for its small size and light color, making it a favorite choice for many birds.

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