Cheeky stag uses antlers to steal nut-filled bird feeder
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With many different species of birds flocking to your garden for food, bird feeders often take a hit with visitors coming from far and wide to empty its contents. When you go to fill up your bird feeders you may notice it looks a little grubby, but what’s the best way to clean these awkward tube garden features? These simple methods will keep your feeders dirt-free so birds can dine safely in your garden.
Feeding birds responsibly is the number one priority when it comes to providing bird feeders in your garden.
Keeping your hungry visitors healthy shouldn’t stop at simply choosing the right kinds of bird feed – regular cleaning of your bird feeders is the key to preventing a spread of nasty diseases, so it’s important to stay on top of your feeders sanitary-state.
On their website, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) state: “Salmonella outbreaks can be seen in wild birds in Britain during the winter months.
“Flocking ground feeders, such as greenfinches and house sparrows, are most commonly affected.
“There are no symptoms specific to salmonella, but infected birds will show general signs of ill-health.”
Why you should clean your bird feeder
While the aim of cleaning your bird feeders is to rid the tube of any dangerous bacteria or viruses, choosing the right products to do so is also crucial to keeping birds and other visitors healthy.
Having a single bird feeder hanging in your garden may look lovely but limiting visitors to one crowded space is a big no-no when it comes to the spread of disease.
Consider getting more than one and dotting them around your garden to allow more birds to feed stress-free while limiting the risk of them getting ill when gathered around that tasty tube of seeds and nuts.
How to clean a bird feeder safely
Safely cleaning your bird feeders is essential to avoid harm to your regular feeders.
You don’t need any unusual tools or solutions to disinfect your bird feeders – but you should always make sure that your feeder is completely empty before cleaning and well-rinsed then left to completely dry before placing it back in the garden.
Mix one part liquid household bleach (chlorine bleach) with nine parts slightly warm water to create a 10 percent bleach solution.
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Using a clean, empty bowl or container, immerse the bird feeder into the solution and soak for around three minutes.
Take some warm water and rinse the disinfecting feeder before leaving to air dry on a towel or draining board.
You should repeat this once or twice a month to keep your bird feeder free from harmful disease – increase if you notice illness in visiting birds.
Soap and soak method
Mild dish soap and warm water is another scientifically proven way to remove harmful diseases like Salmonella from your bird feeder.
Mix unscented dish soap with a deep container full of warm water until it is a bubbly, soapy plunge pool for your feeder to soak in.
Leave to soak for a few minutes before scrubbing with a clean sponge or unused toothbrush.
Rinse with clean warm water and leave to dry.
Combining these two methods is a fool-proof way to ensure your feeder is completely disinfected and sterilised before allowing birds to feed again.
Prevent disease by discarding any food that smells musty or is wet and showing signs of mould or fungus.
Disinfect any storage containers and scoops that you use to store and administer the bird feed and properly store bird feed packets accordingly.
Keep the floor area around the bird feed clean and clear of any fallen debris.
Fallen seeds and nuts could be contaminated by birds before falling and then consumed by ground-feeding species like pigeons, sparrows or starlings.
- Avoid wooden feeders as these are harder to clean safely due to their absorbent properties.
- For easier bird feeder maintenance and healthier birds, opt for plastic, metal, glass or glazed ceramic feeders.
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