A Life in a Year – 2nd October, Fat Balls!

With so many birds stopping by the garden now buying food from the garden centre or the supermarket can start to get a bit 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 and it started to melt down a bit in the warm October sunshine.  This wasn’t a problem however because the birds finished it off before it could completely drip away.  It was a success mainly with the Starlings who squabbled over it until it was gone.

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 was 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.  I suppose it looks a bit like a juicy worm!

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 page: 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!


Other posts about birds:


Collared Doves


Fat Balls

Mozart’s Starling




Starlings in the USA



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