Guest Author - Malika Harricharan
Have you recently cleaned your backyard bird feeder or bird bath? If you are like most people, its time for a good cleaning. I know you probably think you are doing a good thing by just provided food and water for the birds. But, dirty water and seed can lead to many diseases for our feathered friends. Also, rodents such as rats and mice carry diseases that can be transmitted to birds if they come in contact with seed.
What you want to do when cleaning bird baths, is to mix a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach (a 10% bleach solution). This is best if done on a monthly basis. This will ensure that the birdbath and feeder are free of any diseases which will keep birds in good health.
Here is a listing of some illnesses that can be spread to birds through dirty bird baths and feeders:
�Salmonella, this is one of the most common diseases but is also one of the most deadly. Most commonly, it is spread through the intake of food or water that is contaminated with fecal material. This often occurs at feeders with overcrowding.
� Aspergillosis, which is a respiratory infection that is transmitted to birds when the feed on decaying seed which has a fungus growing on it.
� Trichomoniasis � this is a parasite that infects the digestrive tracts of pigeons and doves. It can even be passed on to predators like hawks that feed on such birds!
� Avian Pox, this can be spread in a variety of ways � through direct contact, or contact with perches or feeders, or even through the intake of water or seed. The result it growths to form in the birds� mouths and throat which results in the birds not being able to breathe or swallow.
A couple of points to remember when cleaning bird baths, feeders, etc.:
Keep these products away from anywhere that human food is prepared. If possible, clean feeders and bird baths outside to avoid any contact with where human food is prepared. The last thing you would want to have happen is for your own food to be contaminated. Some diseases like Salmonella can be very harmful to humans.
A couple other tips for keeping bird feeders are clean are to:
1) Make sure to space them apart to avoid overcrowding
2) Do your best to keep rodents out of the seed