Feed The Birds, Tuppance A Bag

Home Made Fat Ball

With so many birds stopping by the garden now on account of the Arctic weather buying food from the garden centre or the supermarket can start to get rather expensive so I have been looking for alternatives so here are some tips to prepare your own bird gourmet meal.

I have been experimenting with making my own fat balls and so far I am really quite pleased with the results.

Bottom left in the picture is a beef fat preparation that I made by rendering down the fat from some sirloin steak and then adding to it some seed, fruit and oats. Unfortunately this wasn’t a completely brilliant success first time round and it started to melt down a bit in the warm October sunshine but it works perfectly now that temperatures struggle to get above zero.  This is hugely successful mainly with the Starlings who squabbled over it until it was gone.

Fat Balls

Bottom right is a similar preparation but this time using pork fat and this seems to be much more successful.  It has an altogether thicker consistency and it seems to bind together so much better.  This time I added the seeds and the fruit but also some broken up bread crusts that seemed to soak up and hold the fat together well.  It looks good enough to eat yourself don’t you think?  A bit like a luxury Belgian Florentine!

Again this is a big favourite with the Starlings and the Great Tit showed a great deal of interest as well.

One other little tip is that you might want to keep the kitchen window open while you are preparing the fat mixture!

Top left there is some pork fat that was left over after preparing the fat ball and this is always a big favourite with the birds and top right is the ever popular bacon fat.  Don’t throw it away, just grill it slowly for a while and the blackbirds will love it.

Don’t throw gone over fruit away either, because the birds will really enjoy chopped up grapes and oranges and as for an old pear, they will go crazy!

There are a number of places to go on the web to find out more about making your own bird food and I recommend this helpful site and http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/?p=357

Be careful however when you search on ‘fat balls’ because you might not always find exactly what you were expecting!  I once worked with a woman who was restoring some old furniture and in her lunch break searched for knobs and knockers on Google and had a lot of explaining to do to the IT department the next day!

Lard Toast for Birds

28 responses to “Feed The Birds, Tuppance A Bag

  1. Very nice of you to feed our avian friends.

    When we used to live in Michigan, I would order 25lb or 50lb of suet at a time from the butcher and serve it over the course of a few months using suet feeders. Woodpeckers were especially grateful, but all sorts of other birds appreciated the offering. I never got into making my own because the suet was more convenient and fared better in the hot sun.

    Also, I already had many feeders out with food for different birds. The suet was in a corner of the yard where anything that fell wouldn’t mess up the grass or the patio stones. I would also cut some up and throw it on the ground for crows (they would start calling each other when I went out to change the feeders and by the time I threw out the pieces on the ground, enough crows flew in to make short work of the pieces.

    In Colorado, setting out bird food and/or suet attracted critters one might not want around (bears). Also, it encouraged mice to hang around and nest near the yard and in the garage more so than it did in Michigan (fewer snakes?) so I just fed hummingbirds (11 feeders and used something like 30 pounds of sugar between late May and early September).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is something we just don’t need to do here because it never gets that cold.

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  3. They all look good but they can make a hell of a mess depending on where you put them. We’ve settled on basic seed feeders well away from house and patio, plus being mindful of old bread, fruit bits and windfalls from our plum, pear and apple trees.

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  4. A man of many parts, Andrew. Now adding bird feeder extraordinaire to your repertoire 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It looks delicious. I now know where to look for free food if I’m ever hungry in Grimsby. Do you do a vegetarian version?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done for thinking of our feathered friends. Depending on where you live, no bird food supplier is better than Wilko’s, or cheaper.

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  7. I love that song from My Fair Lady. It does not work well with ducks….or sea gulls IMHO. Ha ha

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  8. Our location could also attract bears and other unwanted critters, raccoons or vermin so we’re going with planting a variety of native plants to keep our bird friends happy. I’ve noticed that providing water of one sort or another is helpful, too. Luckily we have a creek on the edge of the property so we see a lot of ducks and herons, not to mention the raptors who enjoy fishing in the creek.

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  9. My mother did this for the birds when I was growing up in NY. I think it’s a great idea, but here in FL it’s just not necessary.

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  10. Le Cordon Bleu Chef to the Birds; what a nice man you are 🙂

    Happy New Year Andrew 🙂

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  11. I’ve never made a fat ball for the birds, but I recently took some stale bread to the marsh. We have very aggressive ducks here! They surrounded me, and they didn’t look happy when the bag was empty.

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  12. FYI 3:

    http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7001.html

    (I like the part where they point out people often scatter the bread where the ducks and geese have been crapping all day. Yum.)

    Liked by 1 person

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