When a large number of Birds are attracted to a small area to feed, the risk of contamination and the spread of disease unfortunately increases. Diseases including salmonella, E.Coli and Trichomoniasis (which can seriously affect the Bird population) can be limited with a clean Bird Feeding station. This could also explains why some species of Wild Bird are more susceptible to disease than others. Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Siskins, House Sparrows and Collared Doves appear to be the most commonly reported victims of disease. This reflects the gregarious nature of these birds and their tendency to feed in flocks.
Most diseases are transmitted by droppings. If these droppings then mix with food, the birds are at greater risk of picking up infection. Since the contamination can originate either from other Birds or from animals (such as rats) it is important to guard against infection from both sources in your garden.
If possible, one of the best practices is to use several feeding sites and not just place all your feeders in one area. This will help the birds feed in a larger area and reduces the chance of disease build up.
Regular cleaning and disinfecting of Bird Tables, Bird Baths and Hanging Feeders is an important part of good hygiene practices. Maybe every 2 weeks, more often during heavy use or particularly wet weather. Use 5% mild disinfectant and this will remove any visible dirt as well as invisible bacteria. Make sure that the Feeder are fully dried before refilling.
Do not over feed or leave old food in a feeder, especially in the warmer months. Mouldy or decomposing seeds and hulls can make Birds sick, ideally Bird Tables should be swept clean every day to remove droppings and any uneaten food. It is also important to remember to clean the ground below your feeders too. Rats are attracted to leftover food and this should all be eaten before nightfall, otherwise it is best to remove it.
Lets not forget the Bird Baths and water containers! These should be dried out and cleaned, preferably on a daily basis. Then refilled with plenty of fresh water especially at this colder time of year.
Your own personal hygiene is very important to remember. Always use protective gloves, clean all equipment outside and not inside your house, using separate utensils. Always wash your hands when you've finished as certain diseases can be passed on to humans.
We need to remember that Wild birds will only consume approximately 35% of their body weight as food per day. A small Blue Tit, for example, weighing 18 grams can only eat 6-7 grams daily. There are so many poor quality 'Fat Balls' on the market today containing extremely cheap ingredients, up to 30% Ash in some instances. These ingredients, which have absolutely no value to the birds, cannot be digested and are excreted very quickly. Reduce the amount of wastage and droppings by aiming to feed the best quality Bird Food possible. Feldy Golden Food Balls are 100% digestible (meaning no wastage) completely natural and balanced, containing quality oils and proteins from the 12 specially selected ingredients. Completely balanced and healthy!