In the coldest months of the year it’s really important to feed the birds in your garden. Wild birds benefit from all year round feeding, but it is particularly important in the winter. When it’s cold, birds need high fat food to give them plenty of energy and to help keep them warm. You can make your own fat balls for birds, and this post gives you step by step instructions on how to do it.
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Providing fat balls for birds and other bird food also helps encourage birds into your garden, along with providing suitable nesting places for them. We are really lucky and get lots of lovely birds in our garden. Last year I had a Robin nest in my greenhouse, and was lucky enough to see Blue Tit babies flying from their nest box. I want to do all that I can to support our population of garden birds, starting with some winter feeding to get them through the coldest months of the year. Hopefully in return they will be frequent visitors of my garden.
Homemade Fat Balls for Birds
You will need:
- 150g rolled oats
- 250g wild bird seed mix
- 200g lard
- Empty yoghurt pots (washed and cleaned)
- Garden twine or string
- Small screwdriver
- Wooden spoon
How to Make Fat Balls for Birds
- Carefully pierce the bottom of your yoghurt pots with a screwdriver, and thread through a length of garden twine. Leave quite a long length of twine at each end.
- Mix all of your dry ingredients in a bowl. I stuck with rolled oats and wild bird seed mix because it’s what I had available. However, you can also add other ingredients such as sultanas, currants or even grated cheese. Aim for 1 part fat to 2 part dry ingredients and you shouldn’t go wrong.
- Melt the lard in a saucepan over a low heat until it is completely liquid.
- Pour the melted lard into the dry ingredients and mix well until all the fat is well combined.
- Put your mixture into your yoghurt pots and pack down tightly with the back of your wooden spoon. Whilst filling the pots try to keep with string or garden twine central.
- Pop the pots in the fridge to set, ideally overnight.
- Tie the twine or string at the top to support you fat ball when it’s hanging, and then pop them out of the pots. Mine came out really nicely, allowing me to reuse my yoghurt pot moulds, but if necessary cut your yoghurt pot to realise your fat cake.
- Tie the other end of the string in a loop and hang from a tree or post and wait and watch for your bird to come and enjoy your fat balls.
Have you made any fat balls for birds before? Do you feed the birds in your garden and enjoy watching them as much as me? Let me know what you do to encourage birds into your garden.