Autumn is now well and truly here and so are the colder days when your local birdlife will need a steady supply of quality nutrition.
Just how do you maintain a bird feeder? As they are made from different materials there is no specific method that covers everything. However the most important thing you can do with your feeder is ensure it’s regularly cleaned. Here are a few simple tips…
1. Gear up. Be sure to use rubber gloves and dedicated cleaning equipment for the work. It can get a little mucky so don’t mess around with either your hygiene or theirs.
2. Get into a routine. Bird feeders should be cleaned on average once a month. It’s easy enough to stay on top of if you’re regularly topping it up with feed. When cleaning your bird feeder it’s also a good time to check that any birdbaths are filled with clean water too
3. Empty it out. Get rid of the old food, preferably into the rubbish or in a covered compost pit. The important thing is to discard the food where birds won’t eat it as this can cause the spread of disease.
4. If you can, take it apart. Some bird feeders are made from multiple parts while others may not be so easy to dissemble. If it’s easy to separate it’s easier to clean!
5. Soak well then scrub thoroughly. Soak the feeder in warm water – this will definitely help if you’re finding it hard to remove old food. Then use an old toothbrush to give the feeder a good scrub with either dishwashing liquid or a mild disinfectant in warm water. Be sure to dislodge all the old seeds.
6. Dry off. Make sure it’s nice and dry before you fill it again. Seeds in the bottom of a damp feeder can quickly degrade in quality.
7. While you’re at it… Check for evidence of predators also. Claw marks and feathers are the obvious ones. If you get the feeling your bird feeder is too low or still under threat from predators look at installing it in a higher place or using a platform arrangement like a Peka Peka feeder.
8. Keep an eye on the crowds. Overcrowding of feeders can help spread disease. If you’re finding there’s a bit of a feathered flap around yours consider a second feeder and make sure they’re spread out from each other.