MIKE SWAN says: The checking of hoppers depends on several factors including the number of birds using the hopper, location, weather conditions, capacity etc. As a general rule it is best to check on a weekly basis to keep an eye on how much food is being used, to ensure that the feeding mechanism (eg. spiral, slot etc.) is working and not blocked. Also check that it is game taking the food, and not vermin.

Hoppers should be checked as quickly as possible after particularly wet/windy weather or snow. In these conditions hoppers can beblown over or become blocked and game will quickly desert once the food runs out.

A big mistake is to fill the hopper and leave it, if you do not check it you have no idea of its usage and trying to unblock a full hopper is a difficult task. It is far better to half fill it and top up on a regular basis.

If the hopper is being targeted by deer or badgers you may have to re-consider the location or provide an adapted/protected hopper. Rats, grey squirrels and rooks will require a more direct approach and hoppers can act as excellenttrapping locations for these species.

In conclusion hoppers should be checked as often as is reasonably practical but extra vigilance may be required during periods of bad weather.

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