Mouldy food is bad for birds, the spores produced by funguses and moulds can cause lung infections and any kind of rotting food is an ideal breeding ground for disease.
Because of this, it is always important to keep your bird feeders as clean as possible throughout the year. But, some feeders can be difficult to keep clean due to their design, peanut feeders are a prime example.
No drain, No Gain
Bird feeders often have drainage holes in the base to allow excess rainwater from building up. These drainage holes often become blocked by debris from partially eaten bird food causing the rainwater to gather encouraging the build-up of harmful moulds, viruses and bacterias. The problem is more acute in peanut feeders as peanuts generally get eaten more slowly and are pecked at causing bits to fall through the feeder and gather at the bottom.
The Solution: Protect the Drainage Holes
To reduce the chances of this happening you can give the drainage system a chance by adding a few pebbles to the bottom of the feeder as shown below.
It is the same concept as putting stones or bits of broken crockery at the bottom of a plant pot to stop the drainage holes from blocking. The stones will prevent some of the bits from falling through and allow water to drain through more easily.
It’s not a perfect solution, and it’s definitely no substitute for regular cleaning, but it will certainly help.