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Feeder care

Feeder care
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House Finch bathing by Errol Taskin, Shreveport, LA.

Birds can become ill from leftover bits of seeds and hulls that have become moldy or from droppings that have accumulated on feeder trays.

chapelwoodBirdhouse

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Therefore, you should clean your seed feeders about once every two weeks, more often during times of heavy use or during warm and damp conditions. Mold can attach to feeders, so to clean them, be sure to take them apart first. Use a dishwasher on a hot setting or hand wash either with soap and boiling water or with a dilute bleach solution. Or soak feeders for one hour in a weak vinegar solution and then scrub with a clean bottle brush. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely before refilling.

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Because mold readily grows in sugar water, hummingbird feeders should be cleaned every time you refill the nectar, which should be every two to five days, depending on the outdoor temperatures. Bacteria and fungi grow more rapidly as the temperature rises. If you see any sign of cloudy water or black mold, discard the solution and clean the feeder immediately.

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Also remember to rake the ground below your feeder to prevent accumulation of waste. Moldy or spoiled food is unhealthy not only for birds but also for your outside pets. Bird food scattered on the ground also can attract rodents. Consider moving your feeders periodically to limit the accumulation of waste in any one area.

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