How to clean nestboxes and bird feeders

How to clean nestboxes and bird feeders

Nestboxes can harbour parasites so it is good practice to take them down at the end of the season and give them a clean. Likewise it is important to keep bird feeders clean to stop the spread of diseases.

Cleaning nestboxes

After the end of each breeding season, all nestboxes should be taken down, old nesting materials removed, and the box should be scalded with boiling water to kill any parasites. Do not use insecticides or flea-powders – boiling water is adequate. Annual cleaning is best carried out from late September to February.

Under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, if unhatched eggs are found in the box, they can only legally be removed from October to January inclusive, and they must be destroyed – it is illegal to keep them.

Cleaning bird feeders and bird baths

Clean feeders and feeding sites regularly using warm soapy water or 5% disinfectant, especially in the months between January and May. Make sure to rinse any disinfectant off thoroughly and always allow feeders to air-dry completely before adding food.

Brushes and equipment used to clean feeders, tables and baths shouldn’t be used for other purposes. Rubber gloves should be worn and hands washed afterwards

Find out more on how to attract birds to your garden

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How to clean bird feeders