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Feeder Cleanliness, and Landscape Help

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i am looking for advice on how to keep under my feeder clean, while also improving the landscape. I just moved into my home and my yard is abundant with blue jays (I know they have a bad rap but I love them). I have one large crab apple tree where they flock regularly and this is where my feeder is located. Under the tree is very muddy and I'm trying to figure out how to clean it to keep the birds safe, and also eliminate the mud. I read mulch is a good option to promote seed decomposition. Does anyone agree? And if so would you go for a rubber or organic mulch? 

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 Depending on how much your feeder costs, you might consider buying a second one.  You can fill and hang it, then clean the first one so it's ready to use when the second one gets low.  I have three of the same model, with two in use and one on 'stand by'.

I wouldn't worry about the mud as far as the birds are concerned.  If you have any doves, sparrows, juncos, or other ground feeders, they'll do a good job of cleaning up the seed that falls from the feeders.  (Squirrels will do a good job of that too, but we don't talk about them in polite company!)  

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One thing I have heard which seems to be the case but we have mostly weeds under the feeders.  I use Black Oil Sunflower seed and have been told that the husks are "toxic" to grass..  I think perhaps weeds too for it is bare beneath the feeder.  And yes there are plenty of birds that feed from both the feeder and spilled seed. and we have both squirrels and chipmunks to help out. Peridically clean up the husks just so it does not get unsightly.  Have not had a problem with mud though as the ground beneath the feeders is sloped to drain away from them.  I do not know if that is an option with you ...but a second idea perhaps is putting a coarse material around the tree base.   Gravel springs to mind as it is inexpensive but may be problematic cleaning

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