HELOISE Make sure birdbath is reliable source of water

Dear Heloise: I wanted to remind you that birds need a birdbath as a reliable source of fresh, cool water, especially during the hot, steamy summer. But you have to remember to change that water at least every few days.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and the larvae need only two to three days to hatch. A dripper attached to your birdbath effectively creates water movement. Not only is this attractive to the birds, but a disturbed water surface interferes with mosquito hatching.
Also, if you go outside to fill your bird feeders when mosquitoes are most active (usually at dawn or dusk), follow the time-tested precautions -- use insect repellents on skin and clothing, and wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants. Sue Wells, via e-mail
Sue, our feathered friends thank you, as do I, for writing. Heloise
Dear Readers: Margarete H. Dobak of Hillsborough, N.J., sent in a photo of her photogenic dachshund, Heidi. She says that Heidi is ready for summer with her colorful hat on.
Visit my Web site, www.Hel-oise.com, and click on This Week's Pet to see Heidi and her hat. Send your favorite, unusual pet photo to: Heloise/Pet Photo, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I raise zebra finches. One of my pairs had babies, and I noticed that they were eating a lot of food when the eggs hatched. I took some dry dog food and moistened it well and then put the dish in the bird cage. They loved this food, and the babies got big in a hurry. Now I put a small dish of dog food in their cage all the time. Remember to keep an eye on the food, and if they don't eat all of it within a day or two, take it out and replace it with fresh food. Kerry from Illinois
We asked an avian specialist, Dr. Tom Vice, about your formula, and he said it was OK but suggested making the moist mixture with half dry dog food and half dry baby cereal. The dog food by itself can have a lot of protein, and the baby cereal makes the mix better for the baby birds. Heloise
Dear Heloise: Buy mesh drain covers for all your sinks and tubs to avoid hair problems, especially if you bathe dogs. My four little dogs shed so much hair when washed. Put drain covers upside down over tub drains to catch hair. Saves plumbing problems. Linda Taylor, Statesville, N.C.
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.
King Features Syndicate

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