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Dirty bird houses can harbor rodents, insects, mites, fungus, bacteria, feathers and bird droppings, so it is important that you clean your bird house to protect your garden birds from pests and disease as well as making it more attractive to nesting birds.

Wooden Bird House

If you need to remove unhatched eggs before cleaning your bird house then remember the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981) only allows you to do this between 1st August and 31st January.

When the fledgling chicks no longer return to the nest then you can clean your bird house. If you are not sure whether your bird box is empty or not then gently tap the sides and listen for cheeps or movement. If birds are still present then wait another week before checking again.

To clean your bird house firstly open it or partly disassemble it if you are able. Boxes with hinged roofs or removable fronts will be easiest to clean so bear this in mind when choosing a bird box.

Remove all the old nesting material and scrape out any droppings. Dispose of carefully in a sealed plastic bag to prevent the spread of any parasites.

Scrub the bird house thoroughly with a weak bleach solution – approximately one part bleach to nine parts water should be sufficient. Make sure you scrub right into the corners and round the entrance hole.

Rinse the bird house in fresh running water to remove all traces of bleach and dry for several hours in the sun. This will break down any remaining chlorine as well as ensuing there are no damp crevices where mildew can grown.

Check the bird house for any loose hinges or splinters and protruding nails or screws. Reassemble your bird box securely and make sure all screws and joints are tight.

Return your bird house for winter roosting and clean it again in early spring ready for breeding birds.

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