Keeping the Flight/Aviary Clean

Because disinfectants become less effective in or are completely inactivated by the presence of organic debris, all objects you wish to disinfect must be scrubbed clean and thoroughly rinsed before applying an appropriate disinfectant.5 Powerful disinfectants only need to be used regularly while a disease threat is present. If your birds are healthy, frequent cleaning of their enclosure, perches, and dishes with detergents reduces the need to use disinfectants.5 When using disinfectants, stronger solutions are not more effective, but in fact may have increased toxicity.5 For instance, chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite, sold under the brand name "Clorox") is a fantastic disinfectant for general use as it is effective against most bacteria, but it only needs to be used in about a 5% solution (approximately ¾ cup bleach in 1 gallon of water). Bleach is corrosive, will not work if organic debris are present, and it should only be used in well ventilated areas. For more information on this chemical as well as other disinfectants commonly used around birds, please refer to the table4 below.

Cleaning productsFor small enclosures: wash dishes daily, replace the cage floor bedding daily, scrub the cage (including perches and accessories) weekly, and disinfect monthly.
For large enclosures: wash dishes daily, clean the floor weekly, scrub the enclosure (including perches, and accessories) every two weeks, and disinfect monthly.
Note: Cleaning and disinfecting must occur more frequently if a disease threat is present.

Adhere to the following steps when disinfecting any enclosure:
  1. Remove all birds from the enclosure before using any disinfectants on it. Make sure you have placed the finches in an area with a separate air source so they do not come into contact with any of the disinfectant's fumes.
  2. Only use disinfectants in well ventilated areas, and follow the label instructions to ensure safe use.
  3. Scrub and rinse all surfaces until they are physically clean (free of organic debris [feces, urine, exudates, blood, bedding, food, and dust] and detergent) prior to applying any disinfectant. Make sure that any items you use to physically clean the enclosure are made of materials that can be disinfected. A good choice is a plastic scrub brush, a bad choice is a sponge.
  4. Select the proper disinfectant, dilute it properly, and make sure it remains in contact with the surfaces to be disinfected for at least 30 minutes.4
  5. Soak dishes, perches, and other accessories for at least 30 minutes in a properly diluted disinfectant solution.5
  6. Rinse all surfaces, dishes, etc. THOROUGHLY until they are free of disinfectant residues.
  7. If necessary (i.e. if a disease threat is present and you know that you must disinfect against several different pathogens), apply a second, appropriate disinfectant that is effective against whatever the first disinfectant was not effective against. Never use chlorine-releasing compounds and formalin (formaldehyde) together or immediately after each other because their combination may form a hazardous carcinogen.4 Again, leave the disinfectant applied for an appropriate amount of time and rinse thoroughly to remove all residues.
  8. Allow everything to dry (preferably in the sun) prior to returning the birds to the enclosure.
  9. Tip: Spraying Pam cooking oil on the cage bars will make the next cleaning easier.
Do not forget to clean the bird room or the area around the birds' enclosure! If indoors, vacuum the floor and spray the vacuum's bag before and after use with a disinfectant to kill viruses.5 Make sure the room has adequate ventilation, and be sure to replace the air filter regularly (if a central air system is installed).

Dis infectant Sodium Hypochlorite
Bleach, Clorox
Quaternary Ammonia
Chlorhexidine (Biguanides)
Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide
Oxyfresh Dent-A-Gene, Oxyfresh Cleansing Gele
Uses & Warnings - General disinfectant for NONMETAL surfaces only
- Activated by sunlight
- Use in well-ventilated areas
- Soaking dishes & accessories
- Soaking bird nets
- Cleaning enclosures
- Soaking dishes & accessories
- Cleaning enclosures & equipment
- Must wear rubber gloves during use.
- Highly toxic to cats & pigs
- Toxic to aquatic environments - Cleaning enclosures & equipment
Rate of Dilution 5%-9% solution
See label See label 90mL per gallon of water See label
Effective Against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, mycobacteria (somewhat), endospores (somewhat), fungal spores (somewhat), enveloped and nonenveloped viruses (including Newcastle disease virus) Gram positive bacteria (including Chlamydia), Gram negative bacteria (somewhat), fungal spores (somewhat), enveloped viruses including Newcastle disease virus (somewhat) Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, Mycobacteria (somewhat), fungal spores including Candida (somewhat), enveloped viruses including Newcastle disease virus (somewhat), some phenols are effective against protozoa (coccidial oocysts) Gram positive bacteria, gram negative bacteria (somewhat), fungal spores including Candida (somewhat), enveloped viruses (somewhat) Endospores, mycobacteria, most bacteria, most viruses, fungal spores, some protozoa
Ineffective Against Organic debris, protozoa (coccidial oocysts) Organic debris, Mycobacteria, endospores, nonenveloped viruses, protozoa (coccidial oocysts) Endospores, nonenveloped viruses, effectiveness decreased by organic debris Pseudomonas spp., mycobacteria, Chlamydia, organic debris, endospores, nonenveloped viruses, protozoa (coccidial oocysts) Effectiveness decreased by organic debris
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