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Copper for self-disinfecting feeders: thoughts? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
United States
Copper is known to kill many different bacteria and viruses on contact, in times ranging from a few minutes, to a few hours, to a couple of days. It's so effective that, if a hospital ward coats its heavily touched surfaces in copper, it can see up to a 51% decrease in hospital-acquired infections. It even kills pathogens in water held in copper containers.

Now, obviously any physical debris has to be removed, as the copper can't kill germs that are on top of poo. But "this bird feeder will kill most germs that the birds leave on its various surfaces" seems like a pretty good deal to me. Is there any reason a bird feeder shouldn't have its perches and other contact areas electroplated in, if not outright made of, copper?

The main thing I can think of is that water held in copper containers will have more copper in it. If you have Wilson's disease, a tendency for your body to retain excess copper, that can make you sick. I don't know if coppery water would be bad for the birds. But I also don't think that dry seed in a copper feeder would pick up any extra copper, so that seems like it would be fine.

If nobody can think of any reasons to avoid them, I might have to look into copper bird feeders. A quick Google says they do exist. The hopper part isn't copper on any of those, but a bird probably wouldn't be getting many germs on that part anyway. I'm not going to forego actual feeder cleaning, of course, but, if the copper won't do any harm, extra germ-removal ability seems like a good plan.

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