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Cleaning and sanitizing feeders

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Old Tuesday 8th May 2018, 18:42   #1
Backyard Sanctuary
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Cleaning and sanitizing feeders

About a year ago work consumed most of my free time and I took down all my feeders. I could not find the time to keep them filled and clean. I hastily emptied the feeders then left them in my storage shed. Needless to say they need a thorough cleaning and sanitizing. I thought about using a bleach solution, but I hate the fumes. I was thinking about going with white vinegar and soaking them for an hour our two before a good scrub or I might try hydrogen peroxide (never used this method). Suggestions and recommendations are welcome.
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Old Tuesday 8th May 2018, 21:40   #2
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I never “clean and sanitize” my feeders but just refill them when they’re empty, year after year. I don’t know that anything more is necessary. . ..
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Old Thursday 10th May 2018, 16:50   #3
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Is there mold? If not, a vinegar solution works fine, but I usually just use a little dish detergent because it frequently gets cleaned and there's no build-up. However, if there's mold, that's a different story. During the height of last year's SoCal summer, the valley got up to 110 degrees, and in 1 day the hummingbird feeder developed mold. Crazy. Ended up using 10:1 water/bleach solution (maybe even more water) and soaking it in lukewarm detergent water afterwards, then finally rinsing it like a madwoman with water. It looked better than new, and the hummers (and orioles, who only dirtied it up again), in my mind, greatly appreciated it.
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Old Thursday 10th May 2018, 19:53   #4
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I never “clean and sanitize” my feeders but just refill them when they’re empty, year after year. I don’t know that anything more is necessary. . ..

There are pathogens such as the one rampaging across Europe right now, Trichomoniasis plus avian pox so good hygiene is simply good practice. We had to stop feeding at our place in Russia last year due to the number of dying birds as the feeder is a major contagion zone.

https://www.theguardian.com/environm...ong-wild-birds

You could use a mild steriliser such as the ones used for baby bottles.



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Old Thursday 10th May 2018, 20:35   #5
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Going with a laundry bleach dilution is going to be the best bet for sanitizing anything.
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Old Thursday 10th May 2018, 21:43   #6
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I never “clean and sanitize” my feeders but just refill them when they’re empty, year after year. I don’t know that anything more is necessary. . ..
Perhaps that’s why you have less birds every year. Feeders should be cleaned every week and binned every twelve months.
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Old Thursday 10th May 2018, 23:43   #7
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Perhaps that’s why you have less birds every year. Feeders should be cleaned every week and binned every twelve months.
Actually, numbers have gradually increased over the years as my yard has matured, both hummers and non-hummers. In the 30 years I’ve lived at my present address I’ve found no evidence whatsoever for disease or for death other than from predation.
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Old Friday 11th May 2018, 00:01   #8
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washing up soap and a thorough rinse and soak in boiling water does the job weekly on mine and should kill germs especially if good old bright sunlight is available. but cheaper plastics wont take that heat so bleach is needed but the smell can linger.i find. not that it seems to put them off.
so far cleaning weekly seems enough but if they otherwise get badly fouled by droppings i wash then and every couple of days i pour boiling water over the perches anyway.

i think if the mould is really bad then it is likely in the seed already and best to chuck the lot, feeders too. i was looking up feed today as the neighbour had loads of bread and biscuits out and all the birding organisations feed directives i have seen say mould is particularly bad for birds.

i dont know how the diseases mentioned spread but perches would seem most susceptible to sharing germs.
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Old Friday 11th May 2018, 07:17   #9
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washing up soap and a thorough rinse and soak in boiling water does the job weekly on mine and should kill germs especially if good old bright sunlight is available. but cheaper plastics wont take that heat so bleach is needed but the smell can linger.i find. not that it seems to put them off.
so far cleaning weekly seems enough but if they otherwise get badly fouled by droppings i wash then and every couple of days i pour boiling water over the perches anyway.

i think if the mould is really bad then it is likely in the seed already and best to chuck the lot, feeders too. i was looking up feed today as the neighbour had loads of bread and biscuits out and all the birding organisations feed directives i have seen say mould is particularly bad for birds.

i dont know how the diseases mentioned spread but perches would seem most susceptible to sharing germs.
Faeces is one way but simple, close contact can be sufficient on a busy feeder.

Anyone in the UK or Europe, should be aware of the symptoms to look for and be prepared to stop feeding and clean their feeders stop the spread.



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Old Friday 11th May 2018, 07:20   #10
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Actually, numbers have gradually increased over the years as my yard has matured, both hummers and non-hummers. In the 30 years I’ve lived at my present address I’ve found no evidence whatsoever for disease or for death other than from predation.
Looking at where you live fugl, it's probably quite dry?

Moist, warm conditions are the best environment for any pathogen



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Old Friday 11th May 2018, 09:05   #11
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Whilst there is no doubt that birds congregating at feeders are more at risk of passing on or contracting infections IMHO the primary route is less likely to be the feeders than the ground under them and any shared water provided for them.
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Old Friday 11th May 2018, 09:35   #12
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Whilst there is no doubt that birds congregating at feeders are more at risk of passing on or contracting infections IMHO the primary route is less likely to be the feeders than the ground under them and any shared water provided for them.
This is why it's important to cease feeding once an infection is observed.



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Old Friday 11th May 2018, 14:31   #13
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Looking at where you live fugl, it's probably quite dry?

Moist, warm conditions are the best environment for any pathogen
A fair point. . ..
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