Hygiene is extremely important when it comes to feeding birds. Birds can spread diseases to each other, therefore keeping your feeders clean can help stop transmission! Making a habit of cleaning your feeders is good for the birds and feeding wild birds with confidence is good for your conscience.
Steps 1 & 2
1. Collect and empty all of your feeders, monthly. Lay them out in an area where they can be sprayed down with a hose. (Alternatively, you can clean your feeders inside, but because I have several large feeders I choose to make a mess outside.)
2. Allow your curious dog to snoop around and give her a good drink from the hose after you’ve sprayed down all of your feeders.
Steps 4 & 3 (Whoopsie)
3. & 4. Gather your cleaning equipment. I use vinegar (1/4 cup), dish soap (tablespoon/big squirt), and water. I mix it in a few squirt bottles and enlist the help of my family to get the job done. If you discover a sick bird, or notice mold/mildew build up on your feeders, use water and bleach at a 10:1 ratio.
Some feeders require a good soaking, others are more easily cleaned.
Steps 5 & 6
5. & 6. Soak and scrub your feeders until you have removed any caked on seeds, mold, or feathers.
I like to use a bottle brush and a toothbrush because they can really get those hard to reach places.
Steps 7 & 8
7. Spray the feeders until the water runs clean, and spray your helpers — perhaps let them spray you too.
8. Let your feeders dry completely before hanging them back up!
After they have dried, you’re ready to refill!
Stay tuned for my two-part series on winter bird feeding…