Why is good bird feeding hygiene important?

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We all love looking through our windows at the garden birds flocking to our feeders. The sheer variety of birds that you can spot throughout the day is fascinating, and it’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you’re giving nature a helping hand. 

But why is it important to keep on top of bird feeding hygiene?

Why should you clean your feeders?

Image source: Kichigin via Getty Images.

The most important reason for maintaining good bird feeding hygiene is so as to prevent the spread of disease. When larger numbers of birds gather at bird tables and feeders, the risk of bird diseases becoming more prevalent increases. 

Contamination can occur either from bird droppings or from animals like rats, so it’s important to regularly clean your feeders and the surrounding area so as to prevent any diseases making an appearance. Mouldy food can also encourage unwelcome bacteria to flourish, causing health problems for any birds that come to your feeders.

It’s also important to remember to clean any birdbaths or water feeders, as they can be just as likely to spread disease if they become contaminated.

How to clean your feeders

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There’s nothing good old fashioned soap and water can’t fix. Make sure to clean your bird feeders roughly every two weeks or so with a bucket of hot, soapy water and a bristled brush, and you’ll be doing a wonderful job of preventing any diseases from taking roost at your feeders. Ensure that they are thoroughly dry before filling with your chosen feed.

Rinse out water containers and birdbaths daily to prevent bird droppings accumulating. Make sure that you allow them to dry fully before adding fresh water. It’s also important to remember not to clean your feeders indoors, and to always use separate utensils. 

Keeping the birds healthy is important, but thinking of your own hygiene is just as important. Try to wear gloves when cleaning things like bird tables and feeding stations if you can. If there’s an accumulation of bird droppings around the floors of your feeder, try moving your feeding stations around your garden. This will prevent a buildup of droppings, which in turn will be less likely to encourage disease.

How else can I encourage good hygiene?

Image source: Happy Beaks.

Good hygiene is even more important during the summer months, as the warmer weather can make food spoil quicker. One way to help prevent this is to put less food out for the birds. Take a look and see how much they tend to eat in a day, and aim to only put out the same amount. 

The longer food is left out in the elements, the more likely it is to go bad – or even attract unwanted visitors.

Try and feed your garden birds from a feeder if you can. While it may be tempting to just sprinkle the seed on the ground, it will be harder to clean up after, and will be more likely to encourage unwanted visitors like mice and rats.

Have you got any bird feeding hygiene tips? We’d love to hear about them over on our Facebook page!

Lead image: bearacreative via Getty Images.

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