We all enjoy feeding the wild birds in our gardens, but it is important to follow a few simple hygiene procedures to ensure that your garden is a safe place for them.
Outbreaks of diseases such as Salmonella and E.coli are a constant threat and can quickly spread from infected birds to healthy birds sharing the same feeding areas.
These guidelines should ensure that your garden visitors remain both happy and healthy.
- Feeders, bird tables and particularly seed trays should be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis as most diseases are transmitted via infected droppings or saliva. If an infection occurs, disinfect regularly.
- Regularly clean up areas underneath feeders, particularly when black sunflower seeds are being fed as the husks can pile up. Update Hi-Energy No Mess or Sunflower Hearts will significantly reduce this build up.
- Clean up any uneaten or mouldy food and dispose of it. Always use high quality foods to minimise waste.
- Make sure that food is not left out on the ground at night as rats and mice can be attracted. Rats will generally live under compost heaps, garden sheds or in areas where rubbish has been allowed to build up. If you have rats, clearing away any rubbish, (thus removing their source of food) often solves the problem.
- Move bird tables and feeders around the garden or, if possible, have several different feeding sites within the garden and keep them spread out to avoid having large numbers of birds in one location at the same time.
- Keep surfaces on which birds feed clean. Sweep bird tables daily and regularly provide ground-fed foods in a different place.
- Observe strict personal hygiene when handling bird feeders and tables, particularly if infection has occurred. Some bird diseases can be transmitted to humans so we recommend you wear gloves when cleaning and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Feeders should not be cleaned indoors or near food preparation areas.
- If water is provided in birdbaths or other drinking devices, change it regularly. Disinfect and rinse these containers on a regular basis and de-ice during cold weather. Don't be tempted to use anti-freeze, salt or glycerine as it can be harmful to the birds.