It is important to feed birds, but it is also important to realise the importance of keeping feeding areas clean to stop any chance of diseases being spread near the bird feeders.
Diseases such as trichomoniasis can kill birds and as birds gather and meet at bird tables it is important to keep these areas clean.
The disease trichomoniasis is passed to other birds by
- bird droppings,
- saliva and,
- in the breeding season, birds regurgitating food to give to their young.
Some of the signs of the disease are –
- signs of tiredness and birds do not fly away.
- Plumage is puffed up
- breathing difficulties
It is important to clean bird feeders, bird tables and make sure sites where birds feed are clean.
I pour boiling water on my two bird tables and have a scrubbing brush just for that purpose.
I clean the meshed ground feeder and any other dishes I use.
I slightly vary the places I put the bird food in the garden, so that one area is not used all the time.
I’m lucky in that I have fields and open countryside nearby and birds don’t seem to mess round about the bird feeders much.
I always make sure there isn’t any bird food left laying around.
Birds rely on the bird food we put out and it dosn’t take much to keep the areas clean.
I watched a blue tit, robin, chaffinch, sparrows and blackbirds the other day. All within a few feet of the bird table. How colourful they all looked so close together.
For the first time since I’ve been bird feeding there are bird droppings under the bush where I put the bird food. The garden birds must be staying longer on this bush and not flitting away into the larger hedge like they used to do. This means I have got to move the bird food a little way away from all this mess.
A lot of the diseases are spread by droppings. If any contaminated droppings are in among the food the healthy birds will run a risk of getting the infection.
I realise that when birds congregate in an area to feed there is an increase risk of disease, but the area has up until now been clean and clear all the time.
Have just been cleaning the bird tables again and thought I’d make some notes.
Here are some things I’ve learnt –
- Don’t bring any bird feeders into the house.
- Wear gloves when cleaning the bird feeders and birds tables. I keep a separate brush and other items just for this job.
- Keep bird tables and the area surrounding them clean and free from droppings and mouldy food. Both droppings and mouldy food can be a breeding ground for parasites and bacteria. Occasionally moving bird tables and bird feeders (even if only a short distance) will help prevent droppings building up near the feeders.
- If the bird food you put out takes more than two days to clear then reduce the amount you put out.
- If you put food on the ground make sure it’s eaten before night. Rats are attracted to leftover food. Using a birdtable or hanging feeders or a ground feeding tray is a good way to put bird food out instead of putting it on the ground.
- Water – Bird Bath – check there aren’t any droppings in the water. Water containers – clean water containers regularly.
- Clean birdtables and hanging feeders. I think this is one of the most important things.
For the birdtables I use very hot water, a scrubbing bruch and a cloth. It gets rid of any old food and cleans the bird tale.
- Hanging feeders can get clogged up in this wet weather and need cleaning out. I keep a spare hanging feeder so if one feeder is drying I have a clean one to use.
Looking at this list it seems a long list – but it does not take long to do. Keeping an eye on how much bird food is being eaten, checking if any droppings are near the feeders. A bird table only has a small area so it does not take long to clean it.
Wet weather can clog the feeders and make extra work. It is when the weather is bad that birds benefit from the food we put out so it is worthwhile keeping the feeders clean and free flowing. Lets keep feeding these garden birds.
Have you any bird hygiene tips?
During July when the weather is warm disease can spread quickly
To help young birds and adult birds survive it is a good idea to clean the bird tables etc and take notice of keeping the bird feeding areas clean.
I keep a scrubbing brush, cloth and small bucket for the job. I use really hot water to clean the bird tables.
At the moment the area round the ground feeders and birdtables is clean.
There isn’t any bird food left near the bird tables and not a bird dropping in sight.
One of the diseases that birds can get is TRICHOMONIASIS
This cleaning needs to be done all year round.
I put some canes round one bird table to stop large birds such as pigeons getting the bird food. I only moved two canes to get to the bird table to clean it. It was not difficult
Cleaning the birdtables and the areas around the feeding areas doesn’t take long and helps keep young birds and older birds healthy. This makes it worthwhile doing
T r i c h o m o n i a s i s –
- Trichomoniasis is a disease that affects birds.
- It does not pose a health threat to humans or mammals
- Canker is the name given to the disease when it affects pigeons and doves.
- It is sometimes called frounce when birds of prey are affected by this disease
The disease may be seen at this time of year as young birds are susceptible.
Trichomoniasis cannot live outside the host bird for more than a few minutes.
- It is spread through water that has been contaminated with saliva.
- It could alse be caused from droppings of a bird that already has the illness.
- Another way the disease can spread is when the young birds are fed by the parent bird during the breeding season.
Cleaning bird tables and bird feeders is very important. I suppose this is obvious. I mean we would not eat from a dirty plate or put up with a build up of crumbs nearby in our own lives. It’s obvious that if we did then health problems would arise.
To help prevent Trichomoniasis in my garden I have just scrubbed both bird tables with boiling water. I used an old bucket full of boiling hot water, a small scrubbing brush, had an old cloth and was wearing rubber gloves.
If keeping bird items clean helps to keep the bird population healthy then it is worth doing.
I got some fresh air and a walk round my garden as well.
PS Why do illnesses always have such long names. Why not just cal lit Triosis?