PDA

View Full Version : Feeding Birds In Winter



Gizmos
17th September 2007, 22:23
Just a thought but I know you can buy "fat balls" for birds in the garden. Now I have a Health Grill that we used and all fat is collected in the drip tray - would this be suitable to place in "pots" and leave in the garden for birds or am I flying over the wrong fence?

Mamzie
17th September 2007, 22:27
My Nan used to always empty her bacon fat in one place and the birds loved that, so I can't see why not.

Maybe if your feeling generous keep some birdseed, or general seeds and mix a bit of them in at the same time. Me and the kids did that last year with yogurt pots and lard.

mmm
17th September 2007, 22:27
If you have any sunflowers in the garden, dry the heads out & then put them out during the winter months the birds pick out all the seeds.

Gizmos
17th September 2007, 22:28
no sunflowers here but I could buy some bits from err Tesco :)

whamfanuk
17th September 2007, 22:30
i read the title, thought it was a diet thread

Addy
17th September 2007, 22:30
Think you can use stale bread in home made fat balls too. I'm getting a flashback...Blue Peter.....Lesley Judd!! They made them one time lol

Gizmos
17th September 2007, 22:32
i read the title, thought it was a diet thread

well I'm trying to put it on so I guess I could scrape the residue in between to slices of thickly buttered bread and fry it lightly .........

tiger
17th September 2007, 22:33
Fat from natural meat, like steak and chops is OK. Not sure about fat from burgers and other processed meat because of the salt content. Bacon fat might be a bit salty as well.

When the weather is very cold I fry slices of bread and put out for the birds. They love it.

dune
17th September 2007, 22:33
yep the fat is great and mixing it with any type of seed or grain is even better. But only put it out from september to february so the chicks don't get it fed to them

suziq
17th September 2007, 22:34
reckon u cud freeze em for winter use?

Mamzie
17th September 2007, 22:36
I like the fried bread idea Tiger, we'll try that this year.

Gizmos
17th September 2007, 22:37
just found this

Cooking Oil
Waste cooking oil is common but problematical to dispose of. Please do not pour waste oil down the drain; even with washing up liquid, the oil will solidify in the sewers and cause problems with rats, odour and blockages. Even liquid fats such as vegetable oil will emulsify in the sewer environment.
Try to use only the correct amount you need
Mop up excess oil/fat with a piece of bread and put out for the birds or use the following recipe for a fat ball if you have a larger quantity
If you have too much for this, allow the fat to solidify and then transfer to an old tin and put in with your general refuse
Here is the recipe for a ?fat ball?, these are easy to make and birds love them.

Heat your excess fat (dripping, trex, lard etc any fat that will solidify)
Cool slightly and add some mixed wild birdseed, raisins, unsalted peanuts, and any small pieces of leftover cake or bread
Wedge a piece of lolly stick with string tied around it, into an old yoghurt pot
Then pour in the mixture, leaving the other end of the string outside the pot!
Put the pots in the fridge and allow to set completely
Then hang out for the birds using the string to tie the fat ball to a branch

Gizmos
17th September 2007, 22:38
OK guys fat balls at the ready - lets give the birds a treat now whos knows what bird is which maybe we could have a "I spotted a robin at my ball" kinda thread

suziq
17th September 2007, 22:40
but we have red kites with a 2 foot wingspan! you might never see me again!

Mamzie
17th September 2007, 22:42
My two kids love watching our bird table. We get lots of birds never sure which is which, except you can't mistake the wood pigeons esp when they bully the rest away.

At the moment, the table is covered in flowers, where the kids decorated it, to celebrate after getting to watch a butterfly being 'born' there...

tiger
17th September 2007, 22:44
You'll get different birds, according to what you put out. It's worth putting out seed as you might be lucky enough to get birds like goldfinches.

We've had a woodecker visiting our garden this year and that attracts other birds. The pecking disturbs insects and the other birds descend for a feed.

ben500
17th September 2007, 22:47
I buy a 25k sack of wildbird seed from pets at home for ?9.99 if you enjoy feeding your birds this is a very economical way to do so, and you get to make the best fat balls in town for pennies. The birds in my locality have their own branch of weight watchers. Be carefull though and don't make the same mistake I did and open it and leave it in the house, woke up the next morning and the house was full of meal moths, got my tenner back for the seed and a load of traps from them, they're harmless and all that but who wants a flaming housefull of them, put the sack out the shed then though!!!

tiger
17th September 2007, 22:54
I buy a 25k sack of wildbird seed from pets at home for ?9.99 if you enjoy feeding your birds this is a very economical way to do so, and you get to make the best fat balls in town for pennies. The birds in my locality have their own branch of weight watchers.
That's a good idea. You could share it with other people if you didn't want to spend that much.

One thing I'm careful of is to clear any uneaten food away before dark as I worry about attracting vermin. Also don't put out large pieces of bread. I have a neighbour who throws out huge chunks and I find it dropped in the bushes as the birds can't cope with it.

Mamzie, I chop up the fried bread and mix dry bread with it as it's sometimes a bit too greasy.

ben500
17th September 2007, 22:58
That's a good idea. You could share it with other people if you didn't want to spend that much.

One thing I'm careful of is to clear any uneaten food away before dark as I worry about attracting vermin. Also don't put out large pieces of bread. I have a neighbour who throws out huge chunks and I find it dropped in the bushes as the birds can't cope with it.
Another reason for not putting out large pieces is that it exposes the birds to predators, better to hang fat balls out of reach and keep scraps on the table to small pieces they can swoop in quickly and make off with rather than encouraging them to get stay for any length of time, if the grub is good and the site secure most birds are happy and safer making lots of trips, feeding the birds is one thing, feeding the cats is another.

ben500
17th September 2007, 23:00
Yes I'm sure most people pay around ?1+ per kilo for seed I know I used to. I also get fat donations from the local butchers, they use a lot but are happy to part with some as they don't need it all.
Another good way to strike up a quick buffet is to take the lid off the compost bin and let them at the insects on the top occasionally. I have a thriving worm city in mine and all the little skinny ones gather in the top I like to chuck a handfull up on the flat roof the birds soon spot them wriggling their way to survival or not. Desicated coconut is also a good addition to fat balls by the way.

tiger
17th September 2007, 23:24
and don't forget to make sure they have a supply of water, not just to drink. If you can put some in a very shallow tray they love to have a splash and preen themselves.

sunny
20th September 2007, 16:17
Our birds are currently feasting on a supply of fresh caterpillars I picked off our cabbage plants this afternoon....yummy!

We have been to the woods before and picked up pine cones, roll in fat and then in bird seed, we've put a few around the hedgerows in wintertime for the birdies, this works well for wild birds, rather than the garden variety, who are used to being fed on the table!

dustykitten
28th October 2007, 13:05
I cook sausages in a dip pan and them put the end slices of bread in to soak up the fat. Put it in the fridge to harden and then cut into cubes and put it out - gets gobbled up really quick

Gizmos
28th September 2008, 12:22
Am sure we had a thread before and cant find it!

Anyhow - got the large Tesco uncut loaf yesterday as it was cheaper than the small one - unf w wont use it all sohave chopped some and threw out fr the beds - am also going to de rind the bacon (dont like the fat on it) so will put that out as well - any other ideas of what we call "waste"

was thinking of having a walk in country and picking some berries off the hederows but was wondering what the implications of this for the birds out there? the place I was going to go has an abundance at the moment

Gizmos
28th September 2008, 12:28
found it and merged - doh!

tiger
28th September 2008, 12:36
I'm not sure if picking berries will be very effective. At the moment with plenty of food around birds will fly to wherever it's plentiful. I'm sure some of the berries will go to waste though so if you have room in your freezer you could freeze some to put out when the weather goes cold.
We don't get such cold winters as we used to do but one winter when we got heavy snow, I cooked up the potato peelings and then added everything to it, like biscuit crumbs (not savoury ones because of the salt) bread and cereal from the bottom of the packets and a little bit of fat and it all got eaten very quickly.
One thing to remember is to clear uneaten food away before it goes dark or you'll attract vermin.

Gizmos
28th September 2008, 12:38
cheers Tiger - near us there is not a lot of "berry" type things thatsall but if they wil mke the journey wont disturb this

Gizmos
28th September 2008, 12:49
just mixed some sunflower seeds (from our pets) with the fat from the steak grilled yesterday and poppd in yoghurt pot - literally came in house closed door and there was soemthng at it :)

holliemon
29th September 2008, 15:32
I put the crumbs out from the weetabix box, stale cake, bacon rind, crumbs from biscuit barrel, cracker box. I also give them old cereals - my birds like a bit of variety so do the squirrels.

I feed them every day and we have a large selection of birds calling.

ben500
29th September 2008, 15:44
A little word of warning when using breakfast cereals to feed birds, NEVER put raw oats out for birds they are lethal to them as they swell in their stomachs and crops. If you should have left over oats or oat based cereal put it in a pan and cook thoroughly before making into patties cooked well it is a good food source.

With regards to using waste to feed birds I am fortunate as I have a large area to feed them on and almost all food scraps from meat to potato peelings will be eaten by some bird or other if offered up, dry goods such as old pasta (we've all got some) and rice once cooked can be a substanial contribution to their diet rather than going to landfill.


Cereals can also be used as a good binder for fat balls.

Love the pine cone rolled in seed idea not one I'd ever have thought of but I can see it would be an excellent alternative to making fat balls.

mhoc
5th October 2008, 16:57
I have been putting up the half coconut that are filled with suet, nuts, raisons etc.

I have a couple of these empty shells now, how can i go about refilling them. it has to be something solid that wont slide out of the shell when its hung up

Gizmos
5th October 2008, 16:59
if you have a george foreman grill stuff the lardy stuff in it that you collect in drip trays

Zaul
5th October 2008, 17:12
This might sound odd by DDs hamster died this year and I've just this week found a sealed container of his food.Pet shop type with brown and green biscuity things and pellets(!) in it. Would the birds eat this? Dont have a garden or table but a communal green area. Could put it out there for them.

ben500
5th October 2008, 17:45
This might sound odd by DDs hamster died this year and I've just this week found a sealed container of his food.Pet shop type with brown and green biscuity things and pellets(!) in it. Would the birds eat this? Dont have a garden or table but a communal green area. Could put it out there for them.


Not sure about that but an alternative could be to feed to local squirrels I'm sure it wouldn't harm them and they'd be glad of the snack.

Talking of which on recent holiday in Devon I was watching a squirrel thoroughly enjoying his morning snack around 6am, he/she was really going at it with what I thought was a large segment of orange, taking time to recline against the tree whilst he noshed away happily, 20mins or so after scrupulously nibbling everly last bit he could he discarded the peel by slinging it like some furry henry the eigth about a foot from the tree, by this time I could see it wasn't orange peel and investigated only to find it was in fact a slice of pizza lol, he'd meticulously eaten all of the topping and discarded the base. Never seen a squirrel eat pizza before and was wondering how he managed to get it delivered half way up a tree. lmao

Grace & Favour
5th October 2008, 17:46
We feed the birds all through the year (the RSPB now recommend this . . ) and have helped raise youngsters of Blackbirds, Jays, Jackdaws, Wrens, Blue tits, Wood pigeons, and Ring-necked Doves . .

We now put out a mixture of Tesco Value Dried fruit, (Sultanas, Raisins) peanuts, monkey nuts, sunflower seed and pumpkin seed, jumbo rolled oats.

About a kilo a day at the moment!!!! - - (but it's lovely watching them all eat) - and buyi8ng with MOC's really helps to make it affordable . . . . .

Zaul
5th October 2008, 17:53
Not sure about that but an alternative could be to feed to local squirrels I'm sure it wouldn't harm them and they'd be glad of the snack.

Talking of which on recent holiday in Devon I was watching a squirrel thoroughly enjoying his morning snack around 6am, he/she was really going at it with what I thought was a large segment of orange, taking time to recline against the tree whilst he noshed away happily, 20mins or so after scrupulously nibbling everly last bit he could he discarded the peel by slinging it like some furry henry the eigth about a foot from the tree, by this time I could see it wasn't orange peel and investigated only to find it was in fact a slice of pizza lol, he'd meticulously eaten all of the topping and discarded the base. Never seen a squirrel eat pizza before and was wondering how he managed to get it delivered half way up a tree. lmao

Ive only seen one squirrel around where we live but I have seen plenty wild rabbits.I wonder if I have a look around the trees for a knot hole or a tunnel below I could pour it down there.If the rabbits and squirrel dont get it then the birdies could still peck out the seeds.

Rexybaby
5th October 2008, 18:36
as per RSPB we also feed the birds all year, need them to have loads of chicks produced to keep up with all the cat casulties around here. We use the fat that comes out of the George Forman, and also buy a few packs of Atora from T`s and mix up with bird seed & raisins etc and chuck it in the fridge to solidify in old yogurt pots. Buying premade one`s costs quite a bit and our 7 year old enjoys making them more anyway.

We have 10 bird boxes in the garden and most years we end up with nests in four or so of them owing to the reliable food supplies, had some in the cctv birdbox last year which was brilliant to watch on the TV each day as they grew up.

Hector
6th October 2008, 08:52
I also buy wild bird foods and seed in Tesco using MOCs. When I am making pastry for a pie or something, I used to put all the left over trimmings in the bin but now I cook them aswell and put them out for the birds the next morning.

beccus
10th October 2008, 10:44
Someone asked about identifying the birds - on the RSPB website there is a great little bird identifier www.rspb.org.uk/identifier

you pick colour size and other bits and it gives you a clue as to what sort of bird it is!

Hector
10th October 2008, 13:00
Someone asked about identifying the birds - on the RSPB website there is a great little bird identifier www.rspb.org.uk/identifier

you pick colour size and other bits and it gives you a clue as to what sort of bird it is!

Thanks for the link, it has been a great help in helping me identify a strange little bird that has been hanging around the bottom of the hedge and the flower beds. it is apparently a Dunnock.

Deedee
10th October 2008, 13:43
Love the pine cone rolled in seed idea not one I'd ever have thought of but I can see it would be an excellent alternative to making fat balls.

Ben there are plenty of pine cones on the ground at Roath park this week! (you are in Cardiff aren't you?)

Gizmos
18th October 2008, 17:40
some good buys in Aldi

http://www.aldi.co.uk/uk/html/offers/offers_week43sunday08.htm

frexy
18th October 2008, 21:59
get a lot from Home bargains, specially the dried mealworms when the birds are feeding their chicks.

ben500
21st October 2008, 12:32
For those looking to make their own fat balls you may be interested in this.

4kg frozen mince down from ?4.75 to ?1.18 (reddish/orange packet). Nicked from mse by the way.

This stuff is not really fit for humans if you ask me, however someone has seen fit to pass it as so.

If you put this meat {for want of a better word} into a saucepan and heat you can render a good amount of fat from it, my estimate is around a third maybe more of it is fat, this is ideal for fat balls or simply soaking bread in before offering to the birds, the remaining "meat" can be used for fish bait or again for feeding birds, some may wish to use it for a bolognese or some such other dish but rather you than me.

tiger
21st October 2008, 12:42
Even my cats don't like the value mince very much. Good idea to use it to make bird food though.

ben500
21st October 2008, 18:00
Even my cats don't like the value mince very much. Good idea to use it to make bird food though.

Yeah it's fine for them, throw in a few sultanas or peanuts, I wouldn't put it out in large quantities if I was you in case it's not eaten quick enough there's a risk of it going rancid better to freeze and distribute in smaller portions, also not advisable to put in easy access areas for fear of attracting rats, but magpies and crows will go nuts for this.

Mamzie
8th February 2009, 15:15
I have just been looking for this thread, as I think with this really bad weather the birds could do with some extra food.

So a great big BUMP for the thread.

tiger
8th February 2009, 15:20
Good idea Mamzie. We seem to be constantly putting out more food for them this weather.
We like to crumble bread up quite small to give the smaller birds a chance against the big ones.

sarahjane01
8th February 2009, 15:26
I put some bread out yesterday morning. Looking out of the window I saw a huge rat come out from my compost bin and take all the bread bit by bit.:eek: I'm not putting out any more bread.

justme
8th February 2009, 15:30
I put some bread out yesterday morning. Looking out of the window I saw a huge rat come out from my compost bin and take all the bread bit by bit.:eek: I'm not putting out any more bread.

Just keep it off the ground.

Blackbirds and Robins are ground feeders and need food when snow covers the grounds.

tiger
8th February 2009, 15:30
I'm worried about encouraging rats too.
We put the food on top of a coal bunker and can see it from the window.
I never put food out when it is getting dusk in case the birds don't eat it all.
It annoys me when my neighbour puts out whole crusts which the birds try to carry off but often drop into the bushes.

pookienoodle
8th February 2009, 15:33
the birds in our garden have really been enjoying my sons turtle shaped pool that is full of water and has not froze over.
there were about 30 of them in there this morning having a communial bath.
the birds round here are quite selective,the man next door must put out better quality stuff than me as they never seem to eat my food(apart form the bladdy segulls!) but finish all the stuff he puts out.
thy do love picking the bugs out of the vine on the wall in summer though.

pookienoodle
8th February 2009, 15:35
I'm worried about encouraging rats too.
We put the food on top of a coal bunker and can see it from the window.
I never put food out when it is getting dusk in case the birds don't eat it all.
It annoys me when my neighbour puts out whole crusts which the birds try to carry off but often drop into the bushes.

that reminds me we get seagulls who "post " things down our chimneys,whole slices of toast seem the most popular.

Mamzie
8th February 2009, 15:35
I don't think Rats need encouragement, they are doing fine - :D

But our poor birds do. I have seen hardly any sparrows, we have a songthrush, a robin, a blackbird that stares at me until I get the food out, and some wood pigeons, plus a few others.

tiger
8th February 2009, 15:38
I don't think Rats need encouragement, they are doing fine - :D

But our poor birds do. I have seen hardly any sparrows, we have a songthrush, a robin, a blackbird that stares at me until I get the food out, and some wood pigeons, plus a few others.


Lol Mamzie. I think they are too with neighbours like mine. One throws out big crusts of bread and the other ones never recycle anything so their bin overflows, the magpies rip the bags open and drop bits everywhere so I daresay there are a few well fed rats around and I'm scared of them. :eek:

We have robins that sit in the tree near the kitchen window and stare in if there's not food out for them.

sarahjane01
8th February 2009, 15:41
Just keep it off the ground.

Blackbirds and Robins are ground feeders and need food when snow covers the grounds.

It was on the patio table!!! The rat climbed up the legs of the table, we watched it.:eek: I will be giving that a good old bleaching before we sit outside this year!!! :D

I'm not sure how to get rid of the rats now. We have free range bunnies. They hop round the garden all day and I lock them in the hutch at night. If I put down poison they will probably eat it. I will keep my eyes out for ratty from now on. It's the first time I have fed the birds, so I just won't do it again.

mhoc
8th February 2009, 16:29
Just keep it off the ground.

Blackbirds and Robins are ground feeders and need food when snow covers the grounds.

Really ????

One of our robins is very happy to sit on a bird food tray about 3 foot off the ground and have a lovely feed - perhaps its because of the wether conditions. We also have one of those plastci ones that stick to the window and you fill with seeds and he will also eat from that

Also I heard on the radio about wood pigeons being ground feeders - not around here they arent. I put bigger bits of crusts on the food try for them as well

holliemon
8th February 2009, 17:08
We have a few robins in our garden and they go on the bird table - they chase off the other birds.

We have lately been seeing two woodpeckers and two lovely blue jays. I do feed them every day.

I did have nuts in a steel holder but the squirrels have chewed the plastic bottom off and ate the lot. I need to look for a better nut holder

Grace & Favour
8th February 2009, 17:09
I have just been looking for this thread, as I think with this really bad weather the birds could do with some extra food.

So a great big BUMP for the thread.


Great find Mamzie - - and thank you . . . . .

(I'd forgotten about this thread!)

We're still feeding a kilo of dried fruit a day at the moment . . and have carefully noted that our birds know what they like . .

Blackbirds prefer sultanas to raisins, (but will eat both - but aren't too fond of currants . . . (all are very good for them as they have high concentrations of fruit sugars) they also like sunflower seeds - but refuse to eat pumpkin seeds!!
Our Jays (we have 4 at the mo, )simply adore monkey nuts (prefer them to shelled peanuts!)
The wood pigeons like all nuts, bread (cut up very small) - and only eat sultanas if there's absolutely nothing else left!
Starlings, similarly , aren't too fussy!
the Jackdaws love shelled peanuts and bread - although aren't fussy with seeds
and the Magpies prefer shelled peanuts to monkey nuts (and little pastry / meat titbits as well of course)

Must try fried bread tomorrow

VeryTrying
8th February 2009, 17:36
This weekend I found a nearly-full bag of dried banana slices at the back of a cupboard. They were a bit hard, so soaked some overnight, threw out yesterday morning and at one point had 16 blackbirds tucking in.

Nearly enough for a pie .....

.

Trolley Dash
8th February 2009, 20:04
aaah I love this thread - thanks for all the ideas.

mutley muppet
8th February 2009, 20:41
that reminds me we get seagulls who "post " things down our chimneys,whole slices of toast seem the most popular.

OMG, that is so funny that you said that as I was in my garden today, trying to clear snow from my path and a gull dropped half a slice of toast on my head!
I shook my fist at it and said where's the cup of tea to go with it? :D
MMx

maleficent_mum
8th February 2009, 21:00
Great thread, we've got loads of blue tits and just this year about half a dozen long tailed tits (they are so pretty) and they love the fat balls. But I've also got 1 blackbird and a robin that I assumed came for the bread, but I've been wondering what, if anything else I could put down for them, will get some sultanas tomorrow.
We've always got wood pigeons they nest in one of the trees level with our bedroom and they are so noisy but I didn't realise they'd be eating the bread too.
We've had an owl out the back almost every evening this week so I've been reading up on the different types of boxes they need I would love to encourage an owl to nest out there too. :)