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Lavender Lady

I have noticed that it is much cheaper to buy the tesco branded suet rather than buy the prepared suet in the pet shops.  Is this ok to give the birds ?  I feed them dried fruit, oats but always buy the prepared suet.  I seem to be getting through so much of the stuff it is costing me a fortune.



Probably better. The prepared stuff will be a way of charging you more


Caz W

Lavender Lady - I've been feeding mine on suet and lard for many years and they seem to love it.  I melt it and mix it with oats, seeds, dried fruit, etc. and make my own fat balls either to put in the feeder or hang up somewhere.  I have even just put it out as it is and it all gets eaten very quickly.   Much cheaper!

My suet or lard is just bought from the supermarket, birds seem to prefer home made fat balls to the bought ready made one's, which I find, are only half eaten, then disintegrate and scatter on the ground.


If you've got a friendly butcher why not ask for a lump of fresh suet?  It's what we always used to buy 'back in the old days' and I presume cattle still come equipped with it?  It used to be my job to grate it on a cheese grater for Ma to make suet dumplings with.  I'm sure it'll be even more economical.  

You could just tie some string around t and hang it from a branch somewhere - that's what Ma did when we'd grated as much as possible off the membrane - she'd tie it to a branch of the buddliea outside her kitchen window so she could watch the birds while washing up. 

Or of course you can melt it down in a pan and make fat balls.



I have been using suet and lard for years, as fat balls and as it is. I buy the cheapest  that I can find(Lidl and Aldi is cheapest at the moment) The most expensive is Tesco and Sainsburys(49p last week) Might have gone up since the snowfall!

My problem is stopping the water freezing in the bird bath, floating balls, hot water in bowls etc. have not worked. I even tried the additive sold by PRIMROSE on Amazon (pricey at £5.00p plus £5.00p P&P !!)

Luckily, the pond is still O K with the pump still working ( will have to be turned off if it gets any colder) together with an old rug on top of the pond over night.No wonder the young neighbours (with a concrete garden) think that I am a saddo!

Oakley Witch

I have used the supermarket suet before. I always mixed mine with seeds, fruit and oats as well as meal worms. The problem I had was that it seemed to melt when it was hung up. Have I been doing something wrong? 

On another similar wireworm meal worm under a different name???


Mealworms aren't wireworms but it would be a good use for all the unwanted pests wouldn't it? Catch them, dry them and store for winter bird food

Oakley Witch
nutcutlet wrote (see)

Mealworms aren't wireworms but it would be a good use for all the unwanted pests wouldn't it? Catch them, dry them and store for winter bird food

MWAhahahahahahahahahahaha  Nutcutlet, Thats made my day lol. Their days are numbered and my feathered freinds will be happy. Thanks hun 


Just off to sort out a drying system.

If you can't be bothered to catch can make food for the birds from all sorts of stuff you probably already have in kitchen cupboards.   Stale bread, crackers, biscuits etc can all be whizzed in a blender for few seconds and mixed with left-over fat from, say, a roast - or you can mix in some vegetable oil.  It won't stick together (but it would if you use suet or beef dripping/lamb fat) and will probably provide as many calories.   You can add all sorts of other things too, if you have them:  unsalted peanuts (whizz them a bit first) cooked rice, grated cheese rind, porridge oats and so on work well too, and you can even use peanut butter if there's any left in the jar!  I put the resulting mix on a bird-table type thing, and also made a hanging "table" from an old/unused plastic tray.  I made three holes in the rim of the tray and hung it from an apple tree branch using one of those chain-type thingys which you get with hanging baskets.  Have also used wire coathangers in the past  to make a hanging-hook type thing. 

Oakley Witch

Sounds great Hypercharleyfarley. I have a good few wireworm and dont need to look far for the wee buggers. Im thinking about having a go now again Thanks

Hi everyone, very interesting info re bird food thanks I do make my own and find the birds love it however, just this last couple of days I have spotted a brown rat trying to eat some bits that have fallen from the fat balls, also I came home just now and spotted the rat (not sure if its same one) in the peanut feeder that only small birds can get into..
I guess rats are all over the place but its a bit of a shock to see one. I don't want to stop feeding the birds but I done want to encourage the rats?
Jean Genie

I've skewered apples for the blackbirds after reading another post.

Not sure whose having the most fun - the blackbirds are me watching them.

Think I've mentioned this before but next door had rats living under their decking and they used our garden as a food source . They used to climb up the trellis and get on the bird table . We had to stop feeding the birds until the pest control was brought in as he had loads living under it - so word of advice, if you have decking , block it in. The guy from the pest control said it was a haven for them.


Hi Jean R, thanks for the advice we do have decking and maybe that's were they are. I first saw "the "rat " come from under my shed which is on the other side of the garden but I guess they can come out from anywhere its just were you happen to see them at the time.

I hate the idea of not feeding the birds for the sake of these rodents especially in this cold weather, maybe I had better get the rat catcher in. What puzzles me is how do we know which garden they are nesting in and how will I know other rats wont come in my garden. I guess my neighbours eitherside won't want to know and will be happy for me to pay ??50 for a rat catcher
Oh dear what a pain.


ref rats - try your local council first & see if they'll do it FOC.


We had rats at pevious house. used to open curtains in morning and there they'd be pirouetting on the lawn. unfortnately it meant I had to stop feeding birds. The local council provided the rat catcher £0, They did go, but then we did as well


I have A cat   and being an 'end'  garden a lot of other cats tend to prowl through on their way to a small woodland nearby,   hence  no rats;  at least I have never seen one. Their  are two squirrels a mother and small one who steal from the bird table but there is always some left, also I have two bird tables so there is one left alone  by the squirrels -- they have to get throught the cold too .


Please, if you're making your own bird food, only use fats which will set hard  (beef suet, lard, dripping etc )- not chicken fat or soft veg fat/oils etc, as if it's soft it gets on the birds' feathers and causes them no end of problems 

I also use a supermarket value sultanas or raisins which the birds love - getting quite expensive though, the amount my birds get through!  I did buy a huge bag of un-netted fat balls with a voucher from my local garden centre and the birds are not touching them at all.  They do feel more 'gritty' than previous brands.  Love watching the birds the garden - except the crows which bully all the smaller birds.  Interesting that living on the coast my neighbours always have loads of seagulls being a pest in their gardens but I have none - I have alot of wide borders and planting and no large lawn for seagulls to use as a 'landing strip' - I dont think they like that.

My favourite is a starling that makes a noise like a telephone whenever I put the food out.  We used to have a blackbird we used to call 'Dot' who had a white patch on his chest.  He came for about 3 years before disappearing last year.