Copper pennies in bird bath

2 Reasons You Want to Keep Copper Pennies in a Birdbath

Ever hear someone say you should put copper pennies in a birdbath? Do you know why that is? Well, It’s not just an old wife’s tail, And we’re going to explain why you should keep copper pennies in your birdbath and what the copper will actually do that is beneficial to you, your birds, and your birdbath.

Why you should put copper pennies in birdbaths

tl;dr for you quick skimmers:

Placing copper in your birdbath does 2 things, It prevents the grown of disgusting algae, And it prevents snails from laying eggs, causing a snail outbreak in your yard which can become a big issue. Read on if you want alternative information and better solutions.

The first answer is really simple. Copper pennies are copper, And as we all know by now that Copper is good for algae prevention. Algae can grow in a birdbath and turn the water green or brown which makes it very difficult to see what’s going on with your birds at any given time, not to mention it’s just gross!

Your local birds definitely won’t want to pay you a visit if they have to swim around in dirty, murky water. Copper pennies are a cheap and easy way to prevent algae from growing because copper is natural anti-fungal and prevents it from being able to grow on the sides of your birdbath or anywhere for that matter!

Copper also has another property that makes sense if you think about it. Did you know copper repels snails? Copper holds a small electrical charge that absolutely deters snails. Copper Pennies are a natural and inexpensive way to keep them out of your birdbath and off your plants!

Gardeners have known the power of copper to combat pests for years. Copper is a natural fungicide that’s effective against algae and other fungi, snails and slugs too!

No snails mean no snail eggs, which means no snail population explosion. Snails are pests, and whatever we can do to remove pests is always an improvement on everyone’s quality of life.

Alternatives to pennies in a birdbath

Not all pennies are made equally. Some have less copper than others, some are bronze, etc. Any penny before 1982 should work, but we don’t always have pennies that old laying around right?

Well, for your convenience, here are some alternatives.

Copper Foil Tape (2inch X 33 FT) with Conductive Adhesive for Guitar and EMI Shielding, Crafts, Electrical Repairs, Grounding
  • ADEQUATE COPPER FOIL TAPE - Each roll is 50mm x 10m; Wide copper foil tape can wrap the cable, machine component, connection, fan, extendable antenna, computer component fully.
  • ADHESIVE TAPE WITH GOOD FLEXIBILITY - The dual conductive tape can be twisted, bent, tore easily, enable you to use them by hand, no need to apply with other tool, one fit most of cables.
  • EMI SHIELDING COPPER FOIL TAPE - The copper tape can EMI shielding in electric machine to protect your electronics devices from electromagnetic interference.
  • TAPE FOR PLANTS - You can wrap copper tape around the base of small plants and seedlings to protect plants. Copper conductive adhesive tape can be applied to stained glass, paper circuits, electrical repairs, soldering, grounding.
  • DUAL CONDUCTIVITY - The conductive copper foil tape has dual conductivity so current will flow through both sides and the adhesive. No need to worry that the adhesive tape will reduce the effectiveness between components.

Last update on 2022-05-19 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Copper foil tape is a great alternative. You can place it around the base of your birdbath and it will have the same effect. Copper foil tape is available online or in most hardware stores. If your so kind, You can purchase a roll using our link above.

Of course, Around the base won’t prevent algae, But don’t worry, You can still place copper tape inside the water of the birdbath. It’s not necessarily the best application because it is a thin strip of malleable metal, it might not look so great inside as it does around the base.

That’s why they make these snail and algae preventative decorations made from pure copper.

Last update on 2022-05-19 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These copper ornaments are fantastic. They come in all shapes and sizes and often have a 4 fold purpose.

  • Prevent algae
  • Prevent snail infestations
  • They look fantastic and really lighten the place up
  • Often times they also have secondary features such as flag and banner holders.

The one linked above is one I personally use, I actually have a couple of them placed around the garden and the birdbaths. Just be sure to get the bare bone copper ones, not the silver-plated ones. Those won’t leech or produce a current.

And of course, every gardener knows our 3rd option

Coldbreak MESH100 Copper Mesh, 5" x 100', Pure 100%, USA Made
  • 100% pure copper. Excellent corrosion resistance (will never rust).
  • USA made, owned, & operated. Our facility is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • 100' length. 5" wide. The diameter of the mesh coil is approximately 7".
  • Copper mesh is great for reflux distilling (where legal). Helps to eliminate sulfur compounds from your distillate.
  • Used to clean plastic, rubber, or fiber extrusion equipment. Also molds, dies, screws and similar machinery while the machine or molds are still hot.

Last update on 2022-05-19 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Copper mesh has many uses, More than I can ever count. But the most important for our purposes is it can be used the same way Copper pennies can. Copper mesh is one of the best defenses against slugs, snails, and algae. It can be placed around plants, around your birdbath stand, and lay down inside the birdbath itself. It gives all the protection while also acting as a lattice to either add more decorations, hanging plants and flowers, or a place for birds to cling onto while taking a bath.

With copper, how often to change bird bathwater?

Without copper, You should be changing your birdbath water at least every 3 days. With copper, (be it pennies, mesh, decorations, or tape) you can go much longer without needing to worry about changing the water.

The biggest contributor to nasty water is algae, and once that’s gone you have much more lenience in how often you change your birdbath water.

Can you clean your birdbath with vinegar if you use copper?

Yes, you can clean your birdbath with vinegar. Even if you are using copper pennies or any of the other copper products we discussed in this article.

Here are the instructions:

  • Remove your copper so it doesn’t tarnish
  • In a bucket, add 1 part vinegar to 9 parts water
  • Mix
  • Use this solution to scrub using a rough brush. Don’t use a metal brush or you could damage your birdbath.
  • If the birdbath is very dirty, allow the vinegar mixture to sit for a while, at least 30 minutes to an hour. Be sure to cover it with a tarp so birds can’t get in during this time. Vinger is toxic to birds.
  • Scrub
  • Rinse the whole thing out with a hose or bucket of clean water. Make sure there is no vinegar left at all.
  • Replace your copper and fill it back up with clean water

Wallah. Clean.

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