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Bird Feeding Hygiene

cleaning feeders

BIRD FEEDING HYGIENE

Wild birds are affected by a number of diseases including Salmonella and E.coli and some birds are more susceptible than others. For instance Greenfinches can contract a parasite called Trichomonosis that can decimate a population. Such diseases are commonly transferred where birds congregate, and this includes the bird feeders in your garden.

Keeping your feeders clean not only reduces the threat of disease, birds are more likely to visit clean feeders that are free flowing, and contain fresh seed, nuts and suet. Make sure that you replace old food at least weekly and if your birds don't like what you are serving them, then try a different type of food.

Position feeders at different locations around the garden. Move them around regularly to avoid a build up of mess in one place, especially ground feeders where birds are much closer to the floor (bird droppings are the main culprit for spreading disease). Also do not position feeders under trees as this is where birds will make most mess.

Regular cleaning and disinfecting of feeders, bird baths and tables is very important. Remember to wear rubber gloves and wash your hands and arms thoroughly after cleaning.

TIPS

  • Nature station sell purpose-made disinfectant as well as specialised brushes and a scraper for cleaning.
  • Bird Tables - Remove old food and droppings from tables, daily if possible. Then spray with a bird table disinfectant as often as weekly.
  • Ground Feeders and Patios - Sweep areas under feeders at the end of each day. This will also prevent rats from visiting your garden. Wash down and scrub patios and ground feeding trays regularly.
  • Hanging Feeders - A bottle brush is ideal for cleaning in the tube of the feeder, and a stiffer brush can be used to shift stubborn grime.
  • Bird Baths - Use a brush to remove algae and bird droppings each week. Then rinse and fill with clean water daily.

Here is a video that I have recorded to describe the cleaning procedure for bird tables, ground feeding trays, hanging feeders and bird baths:

If you see a bird with a disease, you should report the incident to GardenWildlifeHealth.org.

Remember, clean feeders and feeding areas make for happy, healthy birds!

Goldfinch