5 ways to minimise the spread of disease among garden birds

Keeping your feeders clean is an essential part of the bird feeding process. It’s critical because your garden birds can become infected with, and therefore spread, a range of different diseases. Some birds, like Greenfinches, are more susceptible than other birds to horrific diseases like Trichomoniasis, a disease that has led to a significant decline in Greenfinch populations over the past 25 years. The most common garden bird diseases include:

You won’t easily observe the symptoms of these illnesses until right at the very last minute, and then often it is too late. Unfortunately, it is not possible to administer medication to birds in the wild as it is not only impossible to provide the correct dosage, but also because certain cures that are beneficial to some birds may be detrimental to others.

So what can you do to prevent these diseases from spreading? Here’s a five-step guide to help you minimise the risk of your birds from catching disease.

Clean your feeders

Use a specialist sanitizer fluid such as Ark-Klens, and be sure to use a cleaning brush for getting between those narrow nooks and crannies in your feeder(s).

Using the above solutions, clean the sills, inside the feeders and ensure any potential faecal contamination is removed.

Spread out your feeders

Spacing out your feeders means your birds will not congregate and crowd around each other. A major factor in the spread of disease, especially infections such as Trichomoniasis, which is transferred mainly through saliva, is because feeders are simply too close together.

Inspect your bird food supply carefully

  1. Mould
  2. Mildew
  3. Spoilage

Mould, for instance, can be particularly fatal for garden birds, as specific poisonous toxins can be the harbinger of salmonella. If you do see any old, mouldy bird food left over, be sure to remove it as soon as possible.

Dispose of any dead birds

Any dead birds left in your garden must be disposed of as soon as possible. It is important to do so quickly to prevent cats, and potentially other animals, from chewing or consuming the dead body. Official guidelines from the RSPB advise to either bury the dead bird or double wrap and throw it in the bin along with your usual rubbish. Be sure to wear correct protective gloves before handling any dead birds.

Contact the relevant authorities

If you strongly suspect your garden birds of being infected by any potentially deadly diseases, don’t hesitate to contact the relevant authorities for advice.

RSPCA: 0300 123 4999

The Institute of Zoology: 0207 449 6685

*please note the RSPB is a charity only and will not be able to help with any injured or ill garden birds.

Most popular bird cleaning products

Bird Feeder Cleaning Brush with steel bristles

This useful brush is made specifically for bird feeders from non-rust stainless steel and natural bristle, which wont scratch.

Bird Table Scraper

This handy table scraper keeps tables clean and hygienic. Made from metal with a padded handle for easy grip, it removes food with minimum effort.

Ark-Klens ready to use disinfectant spray

The more birds you get to your feeding stations, the higher the risk is of diseases being passed between your garden birds.

Ark-Klens bird feeder and table disinfectant

The Ark-Klens veterinary concentrate is suitable for disinfecting animal environments such as bird tables, feeders, cages, kennels and water bowls.