On a cold and frosty morning, we love to wrap up warm and wander along the river beside the farmhouse but not before long, we want to get back inside and pop the kettle on! Now that the winter has truly arrived we take a few moments each day to feed the birds.
Whatever your budget, there are lots of ways to feed the visitors to your plot, even if it is popping a little bit of leftover cooked potato or stale bread on the bird table. Over the last few years, we have learnt how best to feed our garden birds and they have repaid us all year long.
- If you are using store cupboard ingredients, make sure it does not include salt which cannot be digested by birds and will have a detrimental effect their nervous system.
- Always feed little and often to keep away unwanted visitors. Only put out enough food that can be eaten during the day and remove any leftovers as dusk falls. Replenish the following day.
Other kitchen scraps that are loved by our feathered friends…
- Flaked, rolled or jumbo oats but not leftover breakfast porridge as it may contain salt and sugar
- Cooked brown or white rice that has no added salt
- Solidified and ideally raw suet or lard, but not dripping from the Sunday roast as it contains meat juices and salt
- Plain boiled or fat free baked and scored potatoes, revealing the fluffy inners to provide much needed carbohydrates on cold days
How to make fat balls for garden birds.
- Gently melt 250 g lard or suet over a low heat, meanwhile in a large mixing bowl add 200 g peanuts for birds 200 g sunflower hearts or seeds with a handful of dried fruit if you can spare it. Mix everything together and then shape into balls using an ice-cream scoop. Let the balls set on a lined baking tray and place on your bird table or hang from a branch using recycled cotton (not nylon) fruit nets.