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Homemade Hummingbird Food Recipes

Hummingbird food can go bad quickly. So it is important to change it often. Store bought foods can be expensive and contain dyes that are not good for birds. This page contains homemade hummingbird food recipes.

Closeup of Three Hummingbirds at a Feeder
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June 2, 2016 Flag

Making your own hummingbird food is easy and much cheaper than buying the concentrate. Plus you can make it without the red dye, as it is generally unnecessary for attracting hummingbirds to your feeder.

Homemade Hummingbird Food


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • sauce pan
  • stove
  • clean bottle (for storing leftovers)
Homemade Hummingbird Food

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  1. Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan.
  2. Homemade Hummingbird FoodHomemade Hummingbird Food
  3. Bring to a boil. This will help kill any bacteria or mold. Then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  4. Homemade Hummingbird Food
  5. Fill your feeder with hummingbird food and store the leftover food in the refrigerator. Note: I recommend labeling your storage container to avoid confusion as to what it is. My son poured a huge glass of it, thinking it was cold water. :)
  6. Homemade Hummingbird Food
  7. Hang up the feeder and enjoy your tiny feathered friends!
  8. Homemade Hummingbird FoodHomemade Hummingbird FoodHomemade Hummingbird Food

October 17, 2011 Flag
7 found this helpful

After attending several lectures by the Hummingbird Bird expert in Christoval, TX (that feeds 3 1/2 gallons of food per day), I have learned some helpful information regarding feeding hummers. The mixture is 3 parts water to 1 part sugar. There is no need to boil the water, just use hot water, mix and stir. Add a tiny drop of red food coloring (so you can see when it is empty).

Do not remove feeders in fall, as the passing through hummers are looking for food. They will leave when they are ready and should. In hot weather, the food spoils quickly.

By jbennett from San Angelo, TX

April 18, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

Is it OK to substitute stevia for sugar in hummingbird nectar?

By Amber from southern Ontario, Canada

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

No! Stevia is a sweetener for couch potatoes who can't resist sweets; it has almost no calorie value for hummingbirds, who work and need energy. Even greener stevia is close to calorie-free.

And yes, avoid the 'safe' food colors. Color the feeder.

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

No. What is this latest " let me feed some phony stuff to the hummers. I'd love to fool them"? Hummers need sugar water. Always have, always will. If they have flowers for nectar they prefer them. In the season when they cannot get enough nectar, we help them to survive with sugar water. Please be kind and feed what is needed.

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May 23, 20160 found this helpful

No, it isn't. Sweeteners will kill birds. I asked at "Birds Unlimited" and they say only sugar. 4 parts water and 1 part sugar. Bring to a boil and let cool. No red dye. Boiling the water removes the chlorine.

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October 16, 2011 Flag
4 found this helpful

I have always used one part sugar to four parts water and it works for me. Clean out your feeder every time you change the food and you will eventually get hummingbirds. Some suggest boiling the water and then adding the sugar, but I find it is not necessary. I just use the hottest tap water and add the sugar and it works just as well.

By Elaine S. from Near Cedar Rapids, IA

September 6, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

How much sugar do I add to 2ltrs of water to feed my hummingbirds?

By D

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September 9, 20130 found this helpful

Ditto on the above - 1 cup (white) sugar to 4 cups water. I don't even boil the water - just stir til the sugar dissolves. I keep any extra in the fridge and let sit a bit before I put it out to take the chill out of it - Although nowadays the hummers would probably appreciate a bit of a chill. Good luck!

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September 3, 20150 found this helpful

There are two suggested ratios given: 1 part sugar to 3 parts water, or 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Since you're using 2 liters (or "Litres") of water, then you would either add: 1/2 (.5) liter of sugar (for the 1:4 ratio) *or* 2/3rds (.666) liter of sugar (for the 1:3 ratio.)

Apparently no one else realized you were on Metric, but the math should have translated just the same.

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Anonymous Flag
April 15, 20160 found this helpful

That is not a correct calculation, it should be 400 ml of sugar and 1600 ml water, or 500 ml sugar and 1500 ml water.

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June 16, 2012 Flag
0 found this helpful

Some friends are using a mixture (of what I call harmful) of 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water. This does really attract the birds, but I know that it must be very harmful for the birds. Am I correct?

By Joan from Signal Mtn., TN

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June 18, 20120 found this helpful

4 cups water to 1 cup sugar is correct.

No need to add red food coloring. Some "birders" say that if it isn't good for humans,why should we give it to birds? I agree. The bird feeders usually have a red base anyway.

We have 4 feeders 3 in our yard and one just outside the wall to the Path Garden. We have 3-4 butterfly bushes and a couple of cape honeysuckle bushes near by. This week a young father and his child said he counted 9 hummers at the garden feeder.

We also have a couple of orioles that sneak a drink from them. Just be sure to check for mold during the week. GG Vi

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June 20, 20120 found this helpful

It's like everyone saying 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Thanks, 'Cookie"

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April 28, 20140 found this helpful

For warm weather 4 parts water to 1 part sugar is proper mix...for those of us who get hummingbirds in cold weather winters...( Vancouver B.C. down to -10 Celsius on occasion) ... then 3 parts water to 1 part sugar is good. A more sugary mix than that is harmful to a hummingbirds kidneys. And once a hummingbird chooses your winter feeder you really are responsible for its survival by keeping the feeder ice free and back outside before first morning light. They need to feed every 15 or 20 minutes at least. Rotate your feeders every hour or two to keep from freezing.

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August 29, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

When making hummingbird nectar at home, my solution turns golden before it comes to a boil. Is it being burned? I used medium-high heat and it takes forever to come to a boil (electric ceramic stovetop). Any suggestions?

By Mary D.

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August 31, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for the homemade Humming Bird Recipe. It sure beats buying it. Can you put red food coloring in it to make it look like the store bought kind? : )

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August 31, 20110 found this helpful

Correction: Humming Bird Nectar Recipe. Boy,I got a Good Laugh at myself when I realized what I wrote & posted the 1st time. No I don't eat humming birds! LOL.

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August 31, 20110 found this helpful

Making humming bird nectar is so easy. I cup of water to 1/4 cup of sugar. Just add the sugar to hot water and stir. Let it cool and put in feeder.

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July 18, 2014 Flag

This mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Source: My awesome friend Richard Wildermuth


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water

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  1. Bring water to a boil then add sugar, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved
  2. Cool to room temperature then fill feeders

A few drops of red food coloring will tint nectar to attract birds.

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