Prevent Bird Disease at Feeder Stations
Updated: Nov 14, 2021
Make Monday wash day! Healthy summer feeder stations require regular sanitation. A 10% bleach solution and blue Dawn detergent wash every Monday will keep your feeders safe and sanitary. Be sure to fill your feeders with pesticide free Prairie Melody™ birdseed. Why? Keep reading...
What do bird diseases and Monday wash days have in common? Regular sanitation helps to control disease. Growing up, my mother always did the washing on Monday (it was a good day to not be around the house). She would start early and by mid-morning there would be clothes hanging on the line.
Clean feeders help your backyard birds stay healthy! Seed feeders should be washed with a detergent solution and rinsed with a 10% bleach solution (1 cup Disinfecting Bleach and 9 cups water) every week - your tray feeder more often if fecal material starts to build up. Suet feeders should also get a weekly dunk. Hummingbird feeders should be washed inside and out every 3 days or so in hot weather. Keep your birdbaths clean, too.
Important Tip – Be sure to use bleach that states it disinfects! Did you know that most scented and splashless bleach does not disinfect? I didn’t until it was pointed out after I posted a picture on Facebook. A kind reader highlighted my mistake and I now use only “Disinfecting Bleach”. It says it on the label, so be aware.
Washing your feeders is quick and easy. A bottle brush and a pair of protective gloves are particularly useful. Be careful not to splash the solution on your clothes or in your eyes as you will not appreciate either.
Put on your protective gloves. An apron is helpful to protect your clothes.
Submerge the feeder in the blue Dawn detergent and hot water solution for 5-10 minutes. This softens any fecal material to make it easier to clean off the surfaces.
Use a brush to thoroughly clean the surfaces of your feeder. A bottle brush works well for tube feeders. Don’t rush to avoid splashing.
Inspect your work and repeat as necessary until the feeder is clean.
Rinse your feeder with hot water.
Submerge the feeder in the 10% bleach solution for 10 minutes.
Air dry. Do not rinse after the bleach.
Refill with pesticide free Prairie Melody™ and replace outside.
Important Tip – Do not rinse your feeders into the same container or sink that contains your cleaning solution. This will dilute the detergent and bleach solution, reducing the disinfecting power of the solution. You can use the same solution for multiple feeders but change when the solution becomes very dirty.
Make Monday wash day! That could be a social media hashtag #MakeMondayWashDay. A regular day helps to make it a habit and routine. Help your backyard birds stay healthy by giving them a clean environment to eat. Give them nutritious and pesticide free Prairie Melody™ to keep them strong.
Remember that “Every backyard makes a difference”! Another good hashtag. #EveryBackyardMakesADifference