How often to change the water

midnightgirl(z4 IL)May 30, 2007

Last night I saw a little hummer buzzing round my deck and up in the rose bed. So today I filled the little hummingbird feeder up with a water/white sugar solution with some red food coloring.

How often should I change this out for my little guy and put fresh mix in?

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Depending on how hot it is, every other day, or daily. The hotter it is, the quicker the sugar water will spoil. Don't use red dye, it's not necessary and can potentially be harmful. Christy :)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 12:47PM
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Also you might consider using bottled water , if youre tap water doesnt taste good to you , it wont be preferred by the hummers.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 5:57PM
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For sure, you don't need the red dye.

I put some feeder cleaning and maintenance information on "My Page", if anyone's interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Frank's Feeders without red dye

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 9:25PM
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    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 2:16PM
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Do you ever have problems with breakage of the plastic where the glass screws into the plastic base? Mine do not last more than 6-7 months and have to replace them.. Tightening them too tight? NO.... that is NOT the problem

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 10:22AM
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midnightgirl: Most of the books say every 2-3 days but more often if the solution seems spoiled when you go to change it.

adelante: Sounds like faulty engineering to me. I've had that problem too but solved it by switching to "flying saucer" feeders that don't have a bottle. I don't get too many hummingbirds most of the season so I don't really need a bottle.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 2:24PM
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midnightgirl(z4 IL)

I've had my little guys visiting every night about dusk. Hubby has seen 2 at a time.

They seem to love my little feeder where you screw on the bottle. It has yellow flowers. The other 2 are humdingers and look like flying saucers. "The little guys aren't as attracted to them. Anyone have the same thing going on?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 11:31PM
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Can you post a picture of the plastic parts you are using. I've had mine for a few years now and have never had a problem with the plastic and glass threaded parts. If you upload your pictures to photobucket you can just post the link here. And we can have a better look at the problem.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:19PM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

Never had a problem with any of the parts breaking myself. And I have a rather ecclectic collection of feeders. I've found they don't have to be jammed VERY tight to maintain liquid security.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 8:41PM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

I'm interested in this. I change the nectar in my feeders about once a week. I seem to have the same happy and healthy hummers at the end of the season as at the start, so they don't seem to be being harmed in any way. I do examine the feeders daily for the least hint of any mold.

I make a very slightly more concentrated nectar. The "rules" say 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. I use a rounded 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water and let it boil a minute after the sugar is dissolved and chill it quickly in sealed glass containers, so it is probably between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup sugar to 1 cup water afterwards. I don't use any coloration.

My hat's off to anyone who changes the hummer nectar daily or even after 3 days, but I have to wonder if it is really necessary. It takes some time to make the necter, after all, I I don't want new people interested feeding hummers to think it is a big job to support hummers.

Someone said it takes 5 minutes to make nectar. I wonder how they do that. It takes 5 minutes to bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then you add the sugar and let it dissolve. Then you boil it a minute or two. Then it takes time for it to cool down.

Meanwhile, you are cleaning the feeder. The first ones I bought were almost impossible to clean well (which may be why some people only let the nectar sit in the feeder for a day or two).

I've accumulated 4 "Best-1 Hummingbird Feeder" from Audobon free from "introductory" catalog offers). The top of the reservoir comes off, giving me complete acess to the inside. I scrub the insides and the top with dish detergent and use a bottle brush to get into the few edges that exist, and into the bottle portion. I rinse everything many times, and give them a rinse with distilled white vinegar. I have a particular funnel I use to feed them (also vinegar-rinsed).

If that seems like a lot of work, it isn't (and I'm doing it while the nectar is being made). I can completely clean 2 feeders in about 10 minutes. But I only have to do it once a week. Four feeders, two used each week, the unused two stay dry and pretty sterile for a week.

My hummers seem happy with that regimen, but I WOULDN'T do it every day, and I expect many people who would LIKE to feed hummers wouldn't either. I don't want interested people to be scared away from feeding hummers by a regimen of making nectar and cleaning feeders every day, as prescribed by perfectionists.

It is easy to go "over the top" with safety concerns for our wonderful hummers. I just question the need to do "too much" when it isn't really required.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 3:29PM
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Yardenman, I assume you're referring to me. Let me explain myself. I say it takes me 5 minutes to clean and change my feeders, because it does. I have the hummzinger mini, and a hummzinger window feeder, up right now. Super easy to clean with dishsoap, refill and hang in 5 minutes. I have NEVER had mold build up on it, like I did on my Best-1. The base of that broke, and I still have the glass container. The nectar I keep in the fridge. I make about a quart of it once a week, usually while cooking dinner. Eat while it is cooling, then stick it in the fridge until I'm ready to use it. So, I don't include it in the time. Simple, easy and ready to go. A quick wash, refill and hang. I agree, it doesn't have to be difficult and I'm not trying to discourage others from feeding them, perhaps then can send them my way earlier!! BTW, I'm assuming you're not far from me?? I'm in Laurel :) Christy

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 10:46PM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

Thank you Christy. It looks like I can simplify my hummer feeder procedures. I didn't know I could make extra nectar and store it in the fridge, and I've discovered in another post that I don't have to boil the nectar either. I may also have been going overboard about cleaning the feeders.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 7:46PM
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Question for someone---

I think I had read that we should not use dishwashing liquid to clean hummer feeders as it will leave a small amount of residue and hummers either did not like it or were affected by this. Has anyone read this?? Just curious. I too use to use dish detergent until I read that article.


This is what I do... I take mine apart fully and put them in dishwasher( on top rack) with dishwasher powder and let them go through wash and rinse cyles, but not the dry cycle. Then I take them out and place them in a clean sink of cool water and rinse. I change the rinse water several times (3 or 4) and finally hand dry. Someone had told me that dishwasher powder for dishwashers was made of bleach so I figure any mold will be killed. Also, I do not fill the dishwasher dispenser to capacity, only maybe 1/4 full. This is the way I do it.

Also I change my feeders about every 5th day, but I check for mold daily. During the hottest weather I will change more often, or even take my feeder down and place some of the nectar on my tongue to make sure it is not sour. It gets really hot where I live...and humid, so I check on that daily. Am I grossing any of you out by testing my nectar myself???? LOL... I haven't died from it yet...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 9:51PM
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rthummer, I have read that about the dishwashing liquid. So I started washing with vinegar, and then bleach once a week. However, I went out of town without DH for about 2 weeks. I put him in charge of cleaning and changing my feeders. When I got home, I found out he'd been cleaning with dishwashing liquid. I was really worried that they would taste the residue, but all of them still came. So, now I just scrub really quick with a scrubber and dishsoap, refill with nectar I premake and store in the fridge, and rehang my feeders. Simple!!

BTW, taste the nectar???? YES!! You're grossing me out!! :) Christy

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 11:44AM
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LOL,LOL. Didn't mean to gross ya' out. Roflol
I haven't had any long term affects from taste testing the nectar, although I have found I am more attracted to red....really strange, I say....

Happy hummering, everyone, no matter how you do it....Just keep those babes happy. ;)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 7:44PM
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