Monday, 16 September 2013

Caring For Wild Birds This Autumn/Winter

If you read my previous post I Love Autumn then you know that I'm a big fan of this season and one of the things I love is seeing the wildlife that comes out during the Autumn and Winter months, the main one being birds which we get a lot of in our garden.

Wild birds need to eat, at least 50% of their own body weight daily in order to survive the harshness of our British autumn and winter seasons. This is why it is important to do what we can to help our feather friends over the next few months and here's how we can do it.

Firstly you need to make sure the area where you're placing the birds food and water is clean and free of bacteria, don't put out too much food as uneaten food can go mouldy and make sure you change the water regularly, it's also important to make sure the water isn't frozen over in winter months.

One of the best things to give wild birds food wise are fat balls as they provide the birds with fat reserves which are greatly needed during autumn and winter. You can buy fat balls from pet shops and garden centres or you can have a go at making your own, they're easy to make and a fun activity for children, here's how to do it.


Solid fat - lard or suet
porridge oats
chopped peanuts or other nuts - not salted
raisins - soaked over night to plump them up
Dried meal worms - soaked over night
kitchen scraps like cheese, cake, cooked potato, cooked rice or breadcrumbs

The ratio of ingredients should be roughly 1 part fat to 1 part dry ingredients but you can experiment and see what you find works best.


mixing bowl
mixing spoon
rubber gloves

Melt the lard or suet in the saucepan taking care not to burn it, you only need to soften it enough for mixing then leave to cool enough so that it can be safely handled.
Place your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, put as much of each ingredient in as you like, there is no set recipe. Add the softened fat in the ratio suggested above (roughly 1 part fat to 1 part dry) and mix using your hands, don't forget to wear your gloves.
Make a loop with your string and form a ball (or any shape you like) around the string leaving enough loop sticking out of the top to hang around your chosen hook or branch and then place in the fridge to cool and set the fat.
And that's it you have your very own home made fat ball to feed the birds in your garden, easy peasy!

So this autumn and winter when it's freezing outside and you're all warm and cosy inside spare a thought for the poor little wild birds in the garden and give them a treat of food and fresh water to help them out.



  1. This is a lovely idea, something I can get Ava involved with. She loves birds!x

  2. It's a good idea to make your own! I'm like you Iove to feed the birds and then sit and watch them.

  3. I make fat balls every year for the birds. The kids really enjoy doing so :) x

  4. Ive been making this for years for our garden birds, love watching them.

  5. Lovely - we always put out food for them too and have a fountain for water

  6. Great idea - and can get the kids involved too!

  7. we always have lots of feeders out for the birds, we love watching them and the wild parakeets that we have.

  8. I remember making feeders similar to this when I was little! I like the heart shaped one.

  9. Lovely idea, shame I can't do it in my garden; our cats are proper birders!

  10. Will definitely be coming back to this post soon, love having birds in the garden

  11. I must remember to come back to this post when we move. I always find that my bird feeders and stuff never work :(

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

  12. aren't they beautiful. now its getting colder they need a little help; it doesnt take long to put some sort of food out for them. then you get the added bonus of watching them in your garden. my kids love that!

  13. Thank you! I've been looking for a recipe that isn't soggy and goes to mush in the rain :)

  14. Great recipe, we always feed the birds all year round! xx

  15. great idea :) i always make sure i pick up suet and fat balls for the birds

  16. Great idea :),we have too many cats in our garden all the time,the birds stay well clear

  17. too many cats where i am, but we always put food out at inlaws where it safe


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