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Alan4711

I noticed the fat balls being sold  in those plastic string bags again,surly by now the suppliers / makers  know the birds get there feet caught in them its happened to us last year luckily it got out as i was trying to help,. hope im not going over the top but can we just agree NOT to buy the ones in these plastic death traps, they can still be bought in other bags and bigger drums, perhaps our editor could get a mention by Monty on TV. any comments could help ,anyone know how to get hold of our editor ,Help please. ps i made some up last year from lard and bits ,the birds ate ours first every time 

I take mine out of them string bags before I put them in the holder.

Dovefromabove

Good reminder Alan

My daughter buys the ones in plastic string, but cuts the plastic netting off and puts them in one of these


 

Welshonion
Take a pair of scissors and cut the plastic off. It's good to be able to see the fat balls before you buy them as they vary in size and quality. I usually buy them in a big tub. Cheaper that way, but take your calculator along to check it out.

I always buy fat balls in larger size tubs without the nets on them. Find these good value and well recieved by the birds in cold weather.  There are lots of different holder to put them in, ranging from about £1  to some exotic ones around the £30 mark!!! way out of my league but pretty to look at.....don't think the birds mind what you use. 

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Obelixx

I buy what I can get, sometimes in tubs, sometimes loose and sometimes in bags but nearly always with the plastic strings.   It's a simple matter to cut off the strings and put them in the assorted holders I use to hang them up safely for the birds.

Just need to educate people to do it.

Secret Squirrel

I make my fat ball holder out of chicken wire and a jam jar lid. True Blue Peter fashion

 

star gaze lily

Sometimes buy the ones with string on, but snip them off and put them in a holder simular to Doves pic, but squirrel proof.

Lyn

Our petshop doesnt sell them with nets on anymore. They cost 11.50 for a hundred.

LesleyK

I usually make my own by combining seed and dripping.  I cover a feeder like the one Dove has shown in tin foil and fill it to the top.  It takes a short time to set then is unwrapped.  It contains much more than a few balls so I don't have to replace it twice a day.

Aldi have bird feeders, seed, nuts, mealworms and fat balls on special offer tomorrow.  Lyn your deal is better as they are charging £6.99 for 50.

Fairygirl

That's a great idea Lesley. I often make little ones using the fat from bacon when the girls have had a sarnie, but I use a ramekin lined with foil. Yours would be a real labour saving idea! I was in the local B&M ( or BAM shop as we call it -  a Scottish term which describes many of the customers ) which has big tubs of fat ball - similar price to Lyn's petshop  I think. 

Welshonion
Be careful with Aldi bird seed. I bought a big bag and it mostly consisted of grains the birds rejected so it was a false economy.
nutcutlet

Yes WO, I haven't tried Aldi mix but lots of mixed seed contains stuff the birds can't or don't eat. I don't buy mixes any more.

Topbird

Some nice ideas above - has reminded me to buy some suet & seed.

A word of caution if you are making your own fat balls - the RSPB site advises that fats containing salt & other preservatives are potentially toxic to birds & should be avoided.  Any fats from cooking meat should be used with caution.

Similarly, peanuts which are stale may contain aflatoxin. For this reason nuts should only be sourced from a reliable retailer and should be stored in a suitable way.

I'm hoping the links will post here:

http://www.rspb.org.uk/makeahomeforwildlife/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/whatfood/scraps.aspx

http://www.rspb.org.uk/makeahomeforwildlife/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/whatfood/index.aspx

That's it - lecture over - happy bird feeding everyone!! 

LesleyK

Enjoyed the lecture Topbird  An informative site with good ideas.  I had forgotten about grated cheese for instance and have seen a few wrens under the hedge this year.

Welshonion and nut - I'll make sure I get better quality seed than Aldi's

I always buy mixed nuts at Christmas (heaven knows why because it's only me who'll eat any) and the birds love the walnuts, brazils etc.  A very expensive way to feed them though

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Topbird

It's your gold plated feeder & porcelain drinking bowl they love really Lesley! 

LesleyK

Especially the magpies Topbird and who said it's plated

Fairygirl

Isn't it dogs that like using the 'porcelain drinking bowl' Topbird....

I always use good seed or mixes. The big cheap packs are usually full of barley so they attract large flocks of pigeons.

They always used to tell you to feed the fat off the bacon to birds, robins in particular love it. Has that advice now  changed?  

Topbird

FG - I think it is to do with the levels of salt & nitrates used as part of the bacon curing process - high level of salt are toxic to birds. Some sites say to avoid bacon altogether but here is what the RSPB say - quote:

"You can put out fat from unsalted cuts of meat in large pieces for the birds. Birds, such as tits, can remove morsels from them. Make sure they are well anchored to prevent large birds flying away with the whole piece! This kind of food can attract magpies and gulls, and also neighbourhood cats. If this is likely to be a problem, it's best avoided.

There is a lot of debate about the suitability of bacon rind, since much of it is salted during the curing process. As long as you can be sure the bacon is not salty, you can put it on your bird table. Since bacon can be too tough for many birds to tackle, chopping it finely will allow a wider variety of birds to eat it"

I thought it was also interesting that the RSPB do not recommend using any fat that comes off cooked meat - quote

"Fat from cooking is bad for birds. The problem with cooked fat from roasting tins and dishes is that the meat juices have blended with the fat and when allowed to set, this consistency makes it prone to smearing, not good for birds' feathers. It is a breeding ground for bacteria, so potentially bad for birds' health. Salt levels depend on what meat is used and if any salt is added during cooking.

Lard and beef suet on their own are fine as they re-solidify after warming and as they are pure fat, it is not as suitable for bacteria to breed on."

The RSPB site says you can feed cheese - but I find that confusing as cheese has high salt levels!

I think I'll stick to fat balls, seeds & nuts - although they apparently like baked potatoes as well!! (With or without sour cream & chives Lesley )

Just hope I haven't poisoned too many birds over the years in my ignorance!

 

PS I like Alan's point in his original posting about getting some TV coverage about the harm that can be done by the netting on fat balls - I found a dead blue tit with a broken leg caught in one several years ago - absolutely heartbreaking - always remove the net now or make my own.

LesleyK

It's the caviar I'm worrying about now I'm sure the leftovers will be too salty

Always willing to learn Topbird. Keep tips coming

Fairy our dog would never do that.  She has a Wedgwood water bowl.  True.  We were given a casserole dish as a wedding present, broke the lid and it's been a dog bowl ever since