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Hygiene and maintenance

Adult male greenfinch on twig

Keep your bird table clean to help birds stay healthy

Image: Steve Round

Clean your bird table regularly and never allow old food to accumulate. Dirty tables can harbour dangerous bacteria left by sick birds and start an outbreak of disease.

Brush off debris every time you put out fresh food and scrub the table with a mild disinfectant solution every few weeks: more frequently if sick birds visit. Move the table from time to time to stop the accumulation of droppings underneath.

Some bird diseases can be transmitted to people. Although the risk is small, it is always worth taking sensible hygienic precautions.

An autumn clean

Annual maintenance is best carried out in autumn. Clean your table, tighten and replace screws and make sure it is still a safe place for birds to feed. Don't expect a wooden bird table to last for ever. As it weathers, it becomes more difficult to clean, so in time you may find you need to make or buy a new one.