Humming bird nectar

monica33flowers(z4 WI)June 7, 2009

Recently for my birthday a friend gave me a feeder and a bottle of the "food". I've never used the store bought stuff before. I pretty much stick to water and sugar base. I guess what is commonly called simple syrup. I use all the time for the Hummers and my ice tea.

My neighbor uses red Hawaiian punch in his. Is this bad for the Hummers?

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donnalovesblue

Yes, it's bad for the hummers, as is the commercial nectar! Always use the 4/1 ratio of water and sugar. Boil the water, add the sugar and allow it to melt completely. I store mine in the fridge so I always have some on hand. Please pass on this info to your neighbor!

Donna

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:47AM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

Good heavens!....Hawaiian Punch?! That's new one for me. Why in the world would he want to waste all that money on something that's comparatively expensive and unhealthy for hummingbirds when they're healthy and happy with cheap and easy to make sugar water?!

Red coloring of any kind is completely unnecessary for nectar. As long as the feeder has red coloring, the birds will come and find it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 12:25PM
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monica33flowers(z4 WI)

Donna: That is what I thought about commercial nectar & Hawaiian punch. My neighbor acted like I was a complete moron. I always keep simple syrup (same ratio) in the fridge all summer long. I brew sun tea and I just like a touch of sweetness and it works great.

MBuck: I'm printing this page out to show my neighbor as well. I think I'll make a double batch of the simple syrup and give him some to use instead of Hawaiian Punch.

Thank you for letting me know I was correct.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 2:41PM
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nicknackhummer(Zone 7)

Monica, please also let your neighbor know that he needs to change the water twice a week and that the sugar water can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks only.

I thought you were kidding about the Hawaiian punch! Good grief! I can't believe your neighbor would do that!

Carol

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 4:03PM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

Thanks for doing the right thing, Monica!! You can further tell your neighbor that Hawaiian Punch may very well eventually kill any hummingbird unlucky enough to visit his feeder. I grant you free license to act like HE'S the complete moron! =)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 10:43PM
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monica33flowers(z4 WI)

Nicknack: That is a good point. I'm sure he would probably leave the feeder up all summer long and not change it. Geesh!

Mbuck: I showed him what everyone said about the Hawaiian Punch and he felt terrible. But not terrible enough to make his own nectar. I just told him I'll keep my feeders on the same schedule as his 1 feeder and I'll supply him with the water/sugar mixture. I would much rather do a little extra work than hurt any of the hummers.

Thank you everyone!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 7:58AM
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ctnchpr

Monica, You're an angel.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 9:45AM
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rthummer

Monica, You ARE an Angel. With what I hear about the ignorance of some well meaning people feeding hummingbirds it is a wonder that hummingbirds are not endangered. (sigh)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 12:11PM
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chinamigarden(z5 MI)

There is nothing wrong with some commercial nectars. The clear stuff with no added "nutrients" is just as safe as what you make in your house. The only difference is the convenience that the ready to use stuff offers

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:03PM
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laurmela

Simple syrup is an equal ratio of water to sugar. The hummingbird food ratio is 4 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar, not to be confused.

Simple syrup is used for drinks and the like, not for hummingbirds.

Laura

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:37AM
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monica33flowers(z4 WI)

Sorry for the mistake....I use the four to one ratio for my hummingbird feeders and I just use a small amount of that to my ice tea. I don't like real sweet tea.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 7:55PM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

Chinami, to what "convenience" do you refer? The lightness of your wallet? What can possibly be more simple than mixing cane sugar and water in proper proportions? The only added "benefit" I've ever seen in commercial nectar mixes is the higher digits associated with the price tag.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 11:38PM
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carolreese(z7 TN)

The 4:1 ratio makes it very hard for the little birds to meet their caloric needs. A richer mixture is especially helpful to mother humminbirds who are single moms and must find enough for themselves and their youngsters. Please go to this link http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hummingbird/msg0311500514806.html?42

and read why a richer mixture is NOT bad for the birds. You will find many references to scientific studies, instead of the unsubstantiated advice of some "expert".
Carol

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 6:09PM
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rob_a(9)

The discussion reminded me that I have a partial container of commercial food left over. I decided to go read the label. But first, it is three or four dollars for a 12 oz jar.

The label had good advise about feeder cleaning, etc. It has no food coloring.

Now the contents on the label:

INGREDIENTS
Sucrose, Dextrose (don't start laughing yet)

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS:
Crude Protein: Not less than 0.01%
Crude fat: Not less than 0.01%
Crude fiber: Not more than 0.01%
Moisture: Not to exceed 0.01%
Total sugar as Invert: 100%

I opened the bottle. It's white, it's granular, it looks like SUGAR!!! So it just goes to prove that not all commercial hummer feed is bad. LOL

I think I'll try it in my coffee in the morning.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 8:32PM
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donnalovesblue

Thanks Rob, but I think I'll stick to my homemade 4/1 nectar...but NOT in my morning coffee! Just strong java and real cream..not the yukky powdered stuff!!!

Donna

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 9:27PM
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rob_a(9)

Donna, I haven't used anything but 4 to 1 filtered water to plain old table sugar for years. It was just funny to me that the expensive commercial food I used to buy is just plain old sugar, nothing more.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 5:55PM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

Good post, Rob!! =)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 8:59PM
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monica33flowers(z4 WI)

When I looked at my bottle stuff that I got as a gift with my feeder it has the same ingredients. I'll use it up in one of the feeders and see how it goes.

BTW, another neighbor just asked me about the hummingbird mixture that I was using for the neighbor. Maybe I should start my own business going around and refilling feeders. LOL!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:04AM
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