fatball feeder in winter

Clean Bird Feeders Regularly

  • Easy and quick to do
  • Helps maintain health of wild birds
  • Must be done regularly – weekly or every two week

Feeding wild birds is a great wildlife activity, not only does it help the birds it brings more life to your garden and it’s great to watch the birds all round the year. There is one major problem and that is disease and parasites that can affect the birds in their usual feeding areas.

In warm and/or wet weather food can spoil quickly and as many seeds are filled with fats, bird seed needs to be replaced frequently. This helps to prevent the wild birds from being affected by old or spoiled food.

Where birds gather the chances of catching a disease or parasites increases, bird feeders offer diseases and parasites a great opportunity to infect many more birds than they would in the wild because so many birds frequent a small area.

It’s easy and quick to clean many bird feeders, you just need:

  • Bucket or old washing up bowl
  • Tiny amount of disinfectant (around 5%) in water, warm water makes it more pleasant
  • Something to scrub with, bottle brushes are useful as are old washing up brushes
  • Scrapers for bird droppings can be helpful
  • Some clean water to rinse the feeders
  • Washing up gloves to protect your health too.
  • Don’t be tempted to wash the feeders indoors it really is best to wash them outside the home
  • Air dry the feeders and any other equipment washed outside before filling up with food again
  • Always wash hands thoroughly after cleaning.

Move your bird feeders at least once a month to help prevent long term build ups of old food, parasites and diseases. The birds will look for the feeders in the usual spots but will soon find the new position of the feeders.

The website Garden Wildlife Heath can be useful if you spot any wildlife in your garden that appear to be ill or dead. You can report your findings online through the Garden Wildlife Health website as well. If you find a sick or injured bird, mammal or reptile in your garden try calling your local vets for advice, many vets will treat wildlife for free or will know of the local wildlife rescues.

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