Birds Can Fall Ill From Using Poorly Designed and Filthy Bird Feeders
Just like people, birds can fall prey to illness. Many times these diseases come from other birds, which may have fed at the same time or just before other birds came to a feeder. Little did you or did the birds know they
would leave your feeder on the way to sickness or even death. We can’t prevent sickness in birds anymore than we can stop it in ourselves, but we can certainly take precautionary measures to protect our bird visitors. As with humans, cleanliness is the first and biggest step toward being healthy, so regular cleaning of the feeder is very important. Another way your birds can fall ill is when they eat spoiled food. Usually, moisture from dew or rain is the cause for bird feed to spoil. The moisture can cause the uneaten food to become damp, which can lead to fungus and mold as well as to the general decay of the feed due to micro-organisms. In earlier posts, we’ve touched on, but haven’t thoroughly covered this critical issue, so we’ll take this opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of certain feeders and what you can do to keep them as healthy as possible for the birds you love.
There are certain features in the bird feeder plans you use that are critical to your birds’ health too, so let’s get started on learning the best practices for keeping your birds healthy. Platform or Tray feeders are easy to use for setting out virtually any kind of food out for your birds, but are the one design most open to the weather and to other animals and the waste they might leave while feeding on left over bird food. Not that birds don’t leave bird waste, they certainly do.
Platform and Tray feeders have the birds walking all over the food and leaving droppings in the process. As such, this type feeder needs cleaning daily and you should try to match the amount of food placed each morning with what the birds consume each day. Then, perform this daily cleaning at the end of every day in order to keep the other animals away at night. Make a diluted bleach solution to actually wipe the feeding area down about once every two or three months, and more often if it is rainy during the summers where you live.
Tube Feeders and Hopper Feeders should be checked periodically in the tube and the hopper for clumps of bird seed that has become moist and stuck together. This clumps of seed should be removed. Always try to check these types of feeders after a rain storm or rainy spell of weather.
Bird Feeder Plans should be chosen which have covers in the form of a roof over the hopper and which extends out over the feeding area around the hopper bottom. After any stormy weather the seed should be checked for moisture in the both the hopper and around the openings on the tube. These feeders should be cleaned periodically especially the area around the bottom of the hopper and any small areas where the birds can pull seed out of the tube while feeding.
If you are using a suet feeder, it is recommended you use bird feeder plans which have a design which protects the suet area under a roof like cover. See previous articles for the upside down suet feeder and the suet feeder built like a little house with a roof, and a tray around the caged suet area. During the winter, tending to these feeders is mainly an effort to keep the feeder supplied, but in the summer suet feeders need regular attention to make sure birds don’t feed on rancid suet or suet cakes. This is especially true in the south where the summers can be quite hot. A good rule for summer and suet feeders is to place them in shade in order to keep them as cool as possible.