Proper Care & Maintenance of your Birdbath or Fountain
A birdbath or fountain is a great focal point in your ‘yardscaping,’ be it on the deck or patio, or out in the yard. Most birdbaths and fountains also represent something of an investment. And, of course, the birds and other animals will enjoy the water and you will, in turn, enjoy them! Properly maintaining your birdbath or fountain will help ensure years of enjoyment for you and your birds!
Birdbaths and fountains should be kept at their ‘full’ level at all times to help facilitate birds drinking from birdbaths and to keep pumps from running dry in fountains. In addition, keeping birdbaths filled will help keep the water from becoming stagnant. Depending upon the size of the birdbath or fountain and the weather, filling may need to be done daily, but can usually be accomplished easily by using a pitcher of water or a garden hose.
All birdbaths and fountains should be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain water quality and the health of birds and others who may drink the water, and to keep mosquitoes from breeding. Typically a good stiff-bristled bush and water are all that should be required to adequately clean the bath or fountain itself. Chemicals are not typically needed, but a 10:1 water to bleach solution may be used in extreme cases – be sure that the bleach solution is rinsed out completely. If a fountain, periodic removal and cleaning of the pump will be required - how often will depend on environmental factors such as leaves and other debris that get into the fountain. Failure to clean the pump as necessary will shorten pump life and void any warranties.
Cold Weather Care:
Providing open water sources for birds and other animals is important during freezing weather. In addition, as water freezes, it expands with a great deal of force and therefore may crack or break your birdbath or fountain, and, in the case of fountains, damage the pump. For these reasons, we suggest always using a heater/deicer in your birdbath or fountain during cold weather. The type and size of heater/deicer will depend upon your birdbath or fountain. Many heater/deicers are equipped with thermostats that keep the water just above freezing, but all require 110V power supply, usually requiring an extension cord. Please note that emptying a birdbath or fountain will not necessarily ensure it will not break! Porous materials like concrete and ceramic may have residual moisture within the pores that can freeze and cause hairline cracks or chipping to occur. Consult with your Wild Birds Unlimited associate regarding the best heater/deicer to use in your birdbath or fountain.