Bird feeding devices, boxes, tables and water baths are essential for attracting our feathered friends into the garden, but it’s important to clean them regularly to prevent the spread of diseases among birds. Most infections are spread by droppings, which can easily contaminate food, water and bedding. To ensure good hygiene, check feeders for mouldy food and scrub them thoroughly once a month – bird tables also require regular attention; rinse baths daily and top up with fresh water. To avoid bringing bacteria into your house, swill items outdoors, making sure you wear a pair of rubber gloves. Remember to wash your hands with soap when you’re finished.
Remove nesting material
Birds are unlikely to nest in boxes containing old bedding – this material can also be harmful as it can harbour harmful bacteria or parasites. Remove loose debris and scrape off any hard matter.
If boxes are relatively clean all you need to do is sterilise the inside with boiling water. Scrub dirty boxes with a weak solution of disinfectant or warm soapy water.
Rinse the box thoroughly to remove any traces of soap or disinfectant – birds are sensitive to cleaning products and the remains of scented cleaners may put them off nesting inside.
Leave to dry
Place the bird box in a sunny spot to dry. Leave for a few hours, so there are no damp corners or crevices where mildew or other fungal disease could grow.
Use brush in feeders
It can be difficult to remove bird food from the bottom of tubular feeders – a long reach cleaning brush makes the job easy. Allow to dry before refilling with a seed mix.