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Clean Bird Houses?

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Debate around the breakfast table this morning (other than maple or blueberry syrup) was whether bird houses should be cleand out every year. Most of the group said they rarely cleaned out a birdhouse and the birds continue to use them. At our estate (The Summer Palace) we now and then clean a house or two and I often build them with hinges on the top to make it easier. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that of the dozens of houses around the grounds there are some that have not been cleaned in five years and yet each summer they are Occupado.

What is the consensus within this group?

Oh. These are mainly bluebird,nuthatch,chichadee, phoebe,various song sparrows,some swallows etc.

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The thing is to clean out the old nest and then spray the box with a water and bleach mix (9-parts water and one-part bleach) Then let air dry for a few hrs then shut the nest box. This mix will kill the Bird Lice and Mites that feed on the young. Blue Birds will have two nest a year, as soon as the 1st batch of young leave the nest, clean the old one out, spray the box with the mix. 9 out of 10 times the female will reneat within 24 hrs in the same box.

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My standards are a little less stringent than WDH's but we're on the same page. I clean them out sans the bleach treatment. It's not a bad idea though. I usually leave the bluebird/tree swallow boxes open to keep the deer mice out of them. I figure our winter temps and wind probably take a pretty healthy toll on anything that remains behind. I do the same on the bluebirds as he does after the first brood and they frequently start a second one after that. Not dealing with near the numbers he is either. Have a fair number of wren houses around the yard too and they definitely need to have the thousands of little sticks removed. The wood duck houses both need a good cleaning yet. The one the kestrels used is just gross and will definitely warrrant the bleach treatment after pressure washing.

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