It is very important to clean your bird feeders regularly. Not only does it keep your backyard birds healthy, but cleaning your feeders can also help to prevent the spread of harmful diseases. Keep your backyard birds happy and healthy by following these tips:
Clean seed feeders at least once every two weeks. If you are in an area that experiences times of heavy use or wet weather (or if there have been reports of salmonella in your area), be sure to clean them more often. Moldy or decomposing seeds and hulls that accumulate on feeder trays can also make birds sick, and bird droppings and other contaminants may also spread infectious bird diseases. Clean the ground below your feeders, too, to prevent a build-up of hulls, uneaten seeds, and other waste.
To clean your feeder, take it apart and hand wash either with soap and boiling water or with a dilute bleach solution (no more than 1 part bleach to 9 parts water). Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry before refilling.
Maintaining hummingbird feeders. Change sugar water at least every 3 to 5 days to prevent mold and deadly fermentation, and more frequently during hot weather. Clean feeders at least once a week with hot water and a bottle brush. Don’t use soap or detergent. You can also clean hummingbird feeders by filling with a dilute bleach solution, but make sure to rinse them thoroughly and allow them to air dry before refilling.
Don’t put oil or other sticky substances around feeding ports to deter bees; you might contaminate the nectar. If bees, wasps, or ants become a problem, try moving the feeder to another location in your yard.
How do I clean my feeders in winter? Cleaning feeders in winter can be challenging, especially in the colder climates where outdoor spouts need to be turned off in winter to prevent freezing.
Here are a few tips for cleaning feeders in winter:
- Consider purchasing tube feeders that can be completely disassembled and washed in a diluted bleach solution in the kitchen sink or put in the dishwasher.
- Wash suet feeders and hummingbird feeders in a sink or dishwasher.
- Use platform feeders with removable trays that can be brought inside and washed in the kitchen sink or dishwasher.