- Easy and quick to do
- Helps maintain good health in wild birds
- Must be done regularly – every few weeks
Feeding wild birds is a great wildlife activity. Not only does it help the birds, it brings more life to your garden. Above all it’s great to watch the birds all round the year. However there is one major problem and that is disease and parasites that can affect the birds in their usual feeding areas.
In warm or wet weather food can spoil quickly, many seeds are filled with natural fats, bird seed therefore they need to be replaced frequently. Whatever the weather, cleaning away old food is a must. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove old food every time you top-up with fresh food. 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 will help to protect you from disease, especially if you have cuts on your hands.
- Don’t wash the feeders indoors it 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.
In addition to cleaning, move your bird feeders at least once a month to help prevent long term build ups of old food, parasites and diseases. Birds will soon find the new position of the feeders.
Checkout the website Garden Wildlife Heath for more info on keeping wildlife healthy. Report any wildlife in your garden that appear to be ill or dead. Reporting helps build up a picture of what is happening to wildlife. It may not help the ill wildlife in your garden but will help future wildlife inthe long run. 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.