Urban Grow love wildlife and throughout the harsher winter months garden birds often struggle to find enough resources in the wild, this being due to the natural decline in insect foodstuffs and plant-based produce during the end of the growing season. This often means that those numerous feathered visitors you see in your urban garden during the spring and summer months may suddenly start to dwindle as the year comes to a close. However, this need not be the case. No matter how big your garden, allotment, or even just a patio, it is important to remember that with a little help from humankind those common garden guests may not limit their visits to the warmer months, but to the winter months also.
Natural food shortages in the winter mean that your garden may not provide our feathered friends with what they are looking for, yet, with quality bird feeders and appropriate bird feed you will still be able to enjoy their visits even as the days draw shorter. When it comes to filling your bird feeders during winter, a high calorie homemade bird feed is the ideal product for providing wild birds with the appropriate nutrition required to comfortably thrive in the winter time.
Homemade fat balls are a superb method of producing high quality, eco-friendly bird feed that is specifically tailored to suit birds’ dietary needs during the colder months. Making these at home is also a brilliant activity for young children, and consequently involving them with getting their hands dirty and helping in the garden. Not only is the process fun, but identifying all the native wild birds that come for a visit is a fabulous learning opportunity too!
When using your fat-balls in the garden it is important that they are somewhat protected from the elements. The Urban Sam Recycled Fat Ball Feeder is the ideal product for serving your DIY fat-balls in your urban garden, and is suitable for all small birds from blue-tits to blackbirds. Its unique design and use of recycled plastics makes it a one-of-a-kind product, suitable for every outdoor space no matter how big or small!
If you’ve not got the time to prepare your own bird feed, many store bought feeds will be suitable for the diets of the birds in your urban garden. Whether this be peanut, seed or mealworm mixes and no matter what space you have available, the bird feeders on offer here at Urban Grow provide you with an option for every space, from drainpipe or tree with the Urban FeedR to balcony with the Urban Max Bird Feeder.
Urban Grow DIY Fat-balls
What you need:
- Large bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Ice-cream scoop*
- Lard, suet or vegetable suet
- Seeds (Garden bird mix, sunflower, maize, millet etc.)
- Currants, sultanas or raisins*
- Unsalted peanuts*
- The most reliable method for mixing your fat balls is to use a ratio of one part fat to two parts solid mix. Your solid mix can contain any mixture of bird seed, currants, peanuts and oats, this can be tailored by your choice. Avoid using any fat other than lard or suet, as they can coat feathers, preventing flight, and are also known to spread disease.
- Once you have weighed out your ingredients, in accordance with the 1:2 ratio, place your fat in the saucepan on a low heat and allow to melt. If using lard be sure to cut it into cubes first.
- As the fat just finishes to melt place your seed mix into the saucepan and remove from the heat. Be sure to thoroughly mix the seeds into the fat until all is evenly distributed and all seeds are coated.
- Place the mix into a bowl, cover, and let cool in the fridge.
- Keep an eye on the mix as it begins to cool, once it is starting to solidify and is malleable but not loose, remove it from the fridge and begin to assemble your fat balls.
- An ice cream scoop is ideal for scooping the ideal amount of mixture out to form a single fat-ball, this should be slightly bigger than a golf ball in size.
- Place the fat ball mix into your hand and mould with both hands until you have a smooth, spherical fat ball.
- Once your fat balls are prepared, place in the fridge or freezer until totally set.
- When set, remove from fridge or freezer and store in an air-tight tub or Tupperware until required for use. The fat-balls should last up to a year in a sealed container.
- When hanging your fat balls, the Urban Sam Recycled Fat Ball Feeder will fit 3 fat balls at any one time, and should be hung up anywhere high enough to keep the birds safe from feline predators whilst feeding.
Once you have made and hung up your fat balls you can sit back and enjoy watching and identifying the diverse mix of feathered visitors that will stop by for a snack. For more information on feeding garden birds throughout the year and how to identify them, visit: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/.
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