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Talkback: How to clean bird feeders

I was hoping that this item would show how to clean plastic seed containers which I find much more difficult to clean than the peanut mesh o...

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lupin wrote (see)

I live in the country and have never seen a dead bird unless having been run over by traffic. Has anyone else seen many ?   A good soaking with warm water and using a stiff brush will shift any dirt in seed containers I find.

Lupin, exactly my thoughts! Bleach is too harsh, even for cleaning cat trays(totally different matter, sorry). Hot water. Dettol maybe a little. Bleach and washing liquids and god knows what else  - too dangerous


I've been known, after getting rid of the worst of the muck, to put the feeders through the dishwasher   There are some appalling designs, even the expensive ones, so now, when I buy new feeders, I make sure I can dismantle them before I pay (I get some strange looks from the staff and other shoppers but who cares?)  Hot water and mild disninfectant, rinsed well and dried thoroughly; soaked overnight if it's welded on.
JAG, think of a bird table like the doctor's waiting room....

Hi full time mum

Diluted bleach is the best of the two as I believe that Dettox contains phenols which are poisonous to animals. If you want to get some veterinary disinfectant try some of the animal food sites on the web, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to recommend a site but I use Pet Planet. The vet disinfectant is called Arkclens.

I'm with Jag - you are all bonkers! Leave them out in the rain empty for a few days if it bothers you that much. If life is too short to stuff a mushroom (according to Shirley Conran) it's far too short to faff about cleaning bird feeders.


Me too.  I clean mine if and when I find peanuts sticking to the base but I just soak in water till they lift off.  No chemicals.



I'm a bit of a fusspot cleaning bird feeders and the ground around the birdpole - but it's not so much because of the birds being infected but because a family member has a long-term illness and my bringing in any infection from the garden would be a big problem.  So I always look like Mrs Fuss going out there with latex gloves on especially anywhere around the bird area.

I keep a basin and brushes etc separate for the birdie items and once scrubbed in soapy water I leave them overnight in the cleaned basin with added Milton sterilising tablets.  Given that Milton is used for baby milk bottles, it seemed reasonable to use it for the bird feeders.  I do it regularly and if it's been raining and I know whatever is in the plastic feeders will get all gummed up in the bottom tray - I clean them as soon as I can.  The pidgeons are a huge problem as they sit on the top of the birdpole and defecate over everything.

Under the birdpole I have concrete slabs (the cheap light coloured ones from B&Q).  They're just sitting on top of the lawn, not cemented in - so that I can move them if I want.  I tip a thin layer of sharp sand over them and then just sweep it into a rubbish bag when things get messy.  It's quick and easy - and a pile of sharp sand around also stops seeds germinating in the surrounding grass.

This has solved my problem.  Might seem over-fussy, but as I say, I cant risk passing on any infection to an ill family member so I take more precautions that most sane people probably would!

I've also found that standing any rusty metal tools in a bucket of Milton for a couple of hours completely removes rust - and with a dry and oil afterwards they come up like new.  Gardening madness maybe - but it works for me.



Ye Gods and little fishes!

Do tell us about your cleaning routine in the kitchen. How do you find time to feed the birds too!


i buy t hese feeders

they are very easy to clean as the top comes off..the bottom unscrews and the poles pull out and their covers come off...leaving a clear tube to clean.. ans single poles and covers to clean.. so easy to clean out every week i do mine.. they do need replacing every 3 years or so.. but i do that with mine anyway as they get broken by the larger birds etc.. they are relly the best ones i have found.


oh forgot to say..they do thes in smaller ones and peanut feeders too. all as easy to clean..


oh and soory the smaller oners the bottoms do not come off.. but everything else the same.. they relaly are best ones i have used.

I use a feeder as described by gardeningfantic and I highly recommended it.  It takes takes away a lot of the fiddlyness experienced by the screw type ones.

With regards to Jag's question about poop on the feeders.  Yes birds definitely poop on feeders - when they sit on the top & it drops down the side onto the base & also when they sit on the perches it happens.  So it is vital that feeders are cleaned  regularly.  I use Jeys in hot water, then thoroughly rinsed in clear hot water.  Birds do catch diseases from unclean bird stations then fly off somewhere else to spread the disease and possibly die.


The web is full of pointless articles, but this is in the top 10.

Holedigger, I keep pigeons and magpies off my bird table by surrounding it with plastic (clematis) netting.  The holes in the netting are big enough to let the small birds have access. I staple the netting to the roof of the table.  Hope this helps.

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