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How to Make Hummingbird Feed and Feeder Care - The Easy Way!

Updated: May 5, 2021

If you'd rather learn in vlog form, YouTube link will be here soon!

Find a Feeder:

This is one of those things in life that you do it enough, you learn the easiest way to do it in no time! First, find a feeder that brings you joy. The more you like looking at it, the more likely you are to keep up with it's (easy) care. Hummingbirds are not picky - they just like clean, sugar water. The one thing I would be slightly picky about in your purchase:

Can I easily clean it? More than likely, the feeder bottles are too narrow to get your hand in to clean them. You need a bottle brush and an old toothbrush helps for smaller nooks/crannies. Check out the neck of the bottle - some may be too narrow for the thicker bottle brushes. I found a long neck bottle brush on Amazon that works great but if you have a baby bottle washing brush laying around, try that one first!

You've got your feeder and you're ready to attract all the hummingbirds....just know that most hummingbirds migrate! Yes, just because you have a feeder doesn't mean they will come swooping in. Many spend the winter in Mexico and Central America. Hummingbirds start their migration to the US beginning in February. Here in Central Texas, I start seeing ours late March and several are still with us into the summer. So you'll want to start putting your feeder out 1-2 weeks before their expected migration to your area. Click here for a fun site with more info on hummingbird migration.

How to fill your Hummingbird feeder:

Probably the most important takeaway I want you to have is that you do NOT need to fill your feeder all the way up. Why not?? You will need to clean this feeder every 1-3 days depending on whether your feeder sits in shade (every 2-3 days clean) or full sun (every 1-2 days clean). If you don't have a swarm of hummingbirds drinking down that sweet nectar, you will be pouring it down the drain as waste when you clean the feeder. This is probably the one tip that is NOT suggested enough!

I start with 1 CUP of water in my measuring cup (tap water - lukewarm). Add 1/4 CUP of sugar. So, this is a 4 to 1 ratio (4 parts water for 1 part sugar). Stir in for 15 seconds with a fork until sugar dissolves. Tip: it generally only takes 15-20 seconds to dissolve. It may look like a white cloud but give it a rest after stirring the initial 15-20 seconds and you'll see it clear up as dissolved.

Do I boil the water? No, too much work and not necessary. Who wants to wait for that water to cool too?? Do I add red dye? No, not good for the hummingbirds and that's an extra step/expense. Do I ever buy the premade stuff? I did long ago, but never again!

All that's left to do is pour your 1 cup of sugar water into your feeder and hang the feeder. I recommend a shadier spot because you'll have to clean less frequently.

Cleaning Your Feeder:

My 4 little humming-birdies generally drink down close to the 1 cup every 3 days. Currently, I am cleaning my feeder every 3 days but as the days get warmer, I will be cleaning every 2 days. Why clean? Sugar and water will mold over time. But no need to fear, cleaning is EASY too!

Most of the time I just rinse out my feeder with water and add new cup of sugar water. Every 1-2 weeks though I start to notice tiny dark mold spots so I know it's time for a deeper clean. Use dish soap and water to clean with the bottle brush. An old toothbrush helps to clean the small flower areas the hummingbirds drink from. Rinse with water and refill with your sugar water. Your hummingbirds are going to love you!

Tips for future: You can make sugar water in batches and store in fridge. My instructions above gave you 1 cup for a feeding but you could make 4 cups with 1 cup sugar and store the extra sugar water in fridge for future use. I have noticed the batch does not last longer than 1 week (starts to mold at that point). So, if you are using 1 cup of sugar water for each feeding and cleaning every 2-3 days, you wouldn't want to batch make more than 3-4 cups of sugar water at a time. Happy feeding and keep learning!


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