During the winter months, birds can lose 40% of their body weight and
can easily starve to death so this year I want to do more for our
feathered friends. With this in mind, I have produced some home-made fat
balls to put outside in the garden and at the warehouse.
The recipe I've used is based on ingredients recommended by the RSPB
so I'm confident our little friends will appreciate it.
Here is the recipe for the fat balls we're using
You will need:
Suet or lard (we prefer suet because it cools to a more solid consistency and makes it easier to hang)
A selection of some of the following:
- finely chopped nuts
- grated hard cheese
- sunflower seeds
- nyger seeds
- uncooked porridge oats (very important they are uncooked)
- dried fruit (Pre soaked)
- uncooked, un-smoked bacon rind cut into very small pieces.
The acceptable proportions seem to be: 1/3 fat to 2/3 dry mix ingredients.
Place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
Melt the suet or lard in a pan
allow to cool slightly, and then pour into the dry mixture. Stir well until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed
place in a container of your choice to set.
- Ice cube trays for small ones
- Yoghurt pot - make a hole in the base of an old yoghurt pot, thread string through the hole and knot, leaving enough to be able to tie to a tree out of the top. Fill the pot with the mixture, making sure the string runs up the centre. Put in the fridge to set, and when it's fully hardened, cut the yoghurt pot away from the fat ball and tie to a tree or feeder.
- Old ice cream tub - leave to set in the bottom of the tub, when solid turn out and either leave as a block on a bird table, or cut into smaller chunks.
- Balls (we preferred these) - leave the mixture until it's cool enough to handle, form into balls with your hands We actually found this was far easier if the mixture was placed in a small poly sandwich bag first then moulded like making a small snowball, squeezing hard to make it as dense as possible. We then pushed a length of insulated electrical wire through the ball so we could make a hanging loop at the top and bending the bottom over to hold the ball (see picture below).
Place in the fridge to finish hardening.