London (change)
20 messages
01/09/2012 at 17:05

I have, for many years, made fat balls for the many little birds which come to our garden.  This was great, until the squirrels and magpies found them, and then it became impossible, because a) they ate them all in ten minutes and b) the little birds were too aftraid to come near.  I bought a peanut feeder with a very wide mesh cage around it, the small birds are supposed to go into it to eat, the bigger creatures  are not supposed to be able to get in.  However, it has hung in the same place as the original feeder for 4 months, and the small birds sit around looking at it, but none will go in to feed!!  The metal mixed seeds feeder gets emptied much as ever - with a little help from the squirrels, but on the whole that is OK.  How on earth can I get the little birds to go inside the cage and use the fat balls?  Anyone any bright ideas about it - thanks. 

01/09/2012 at 20:30

I find that at this time of year very few of the garden birds are interested in any of the feeders - the goldfinches are taking a few seeds from one of my feeders, but they're not really i!nterested - I've not filled the feeders for 4 weeks, although earlier in the year I was refilling once, sometimes twice a day.  

I think that as the weather gets colder and the birds need the high energy that the fat gives you'll find them feeding from your fat balls.


01/09/2012 at 20:36

I have noticed that they feed madly at the feeders when they have young then disappear for awhile.If you have a feeder near a bush it helps to protect the little birds from predators such as sparrow hawks as they can dive for cover.Very often when you put up a new feeder they wont accept it for a long while very suspicious or if you move it.

02/09/2012 at 00:29

Yes I agree with everyone else, there aren't so many birds around at the moment as there is still an abundance of natural food about (caterpillars, worms etc as well as fruit) When the weather gets colder they will come back in.

To answer your question though the only thing I do to ensure all species get a bit of something is feed different types of food in different types of feeders? I have about 8 feeders in my garden + a bird table, all of these are positioned so that everything gets a chance of some food! Maybe try feeding your fat balls in two different feeders in seperate areas?

I have to say that fat balls and peanuts are the only things getting eaten in my garden at the moment but it's not by the small birds....

 Surely all birds are welcome in the garden whatever their size!?....


02/09/2012 at 09:21

i must admit i have still gots feeding time at the zoo on mine.. the starlings which have now got full adult plumage feed of the suet pellets as do all the birds.. loas sparrows and finches and robins..

I have gone down to 5 feeders for mo.. and they have wild bird seed in the fav at the moment and suet pellets, and sunflower hearts.. do not do peanuts as they never got eaten.. i have taken some pictures of the bird feeders i said about and how esy they are to clean..


 this is with the lid and bird rest taken out.


 and stripped down to bear tube...


 and all the bits ready to go back together..


 and sat having final dry off before bput botton and lid back on.


 and in use..

02/09/2012 at 12:42

dear gardening fanatic - your pictures are excellent, thank you.  Is the green tubing made of plasti or metal  If plastic, the squirrels will have bitten through it in the first couple of days, and will have lifted the roof before I get the back door closed, I have to wire everything on to the feeders.   I don't object to many birds, but magpies and pigeons I'm afraid are off my radar altogether, the damage they do is quite extraordinary.  I do have different types of feeders around, it is just this one with the fat balls (which aren't balls at all, but narrow tubes as I set the mixture in small plastic drinks bottles - that size just fits the peanut feeder) has become impossible, being completely cleared byt he squirrels and magpies in about 10 minutes - and I cannot keep that rate of feeding up with the best will in the world - and as far as squirrels and pigeons are concerned, let alone magpies, I don't have the best will in the world.  I know these caged feeders are sold everywhere, so they must be used, just not by my birds.  They are using all the others that the magpies and pigeons cannot perch on  - yet.  The squirrel gets on there and just sucks the seed down like a small vaccuum cleaner - you can literally see it falling down the tube, at a kilo at a time, that is beyond me too - hence I want the small birds to use the caged feeder - maybe when they get hungry enough in poorer weather they might.  

02/09/2012 at 12:51

Bookertoo, I think you're right to wait until the colder weather, I bet your caged fat-tubes will be popular then. Last winter I was given fat-balls that are encased in little green nets and took the nets off to make it easier, I thought, for the little birds. I had them in a feeder which is a spiral of strong wire.  When I spotted a squirrel reaching in and grabbing handfuls of the food because he couldn't get his teeth on it, I decided to leave the little green nets on after all. That spiked his guns!
I like your idea of making the food in tube shapes to fit the peanut feeders, I'll give that one a go.

02/09/2012 at 13:08

Hi FloBear, when I have made the mixture I spoon it  warm into the bottles, with the narrow bit cut off, then when I want one, take it from the fridge and slice down the side - and into the feeder it goes.  You will have to experiment with different soft drink or water bottles to find which will fit your feeder,  you might even have to change the families taste in drinks!!!  

02/09/2012 at 14:11

Many thanks Bookertoo. I shall indeed tailor the drinks menu to suit the feeders ;- )

02/09/2012 at 16:19

@bookertoo.. they are metal.. the only plastic is the hole liners and the soft rubber perch covers.. must dmit i do not suffer squrriels.. but my mum used to.. she made little one sided open huts for there hazelnuts.. that kept them off the other feeders..

02/09/2012 at 16:20

sorry.. hadnt finished.. she would fix them to the trees.. so they wouldnt bother coming into the garden area.. dunno if this will help.

02/09/2012 at 17:08

Sadly I have never found that feeding the squirrels separately helps at all - they just eat their food and then start on everyone elses!!   However I am hopeful that we will have fewer of them this winter, as my neighbour has removed three huge fir type trees from our mutual boundary, where I knew they had their drey - maybe they will go elsewhere?  As for the pigeons, well, I just hate pigeons and can find no exuse for them at all.  I will look closely at theose feeders and see what I can do to keep the furry rats off them - thank you all. 

02/09/2012 at 20:02

@yes pigeons.. we have wood pigeons and we are fattening them up for when times are a bit tough for Sunday roast..


I am thinking you have grey squirrels over there.. here we only have red and they are not such a problem perhaps.. very shy creatures.. we are not allowed to do anything to hurt them or deter them.  I believe that greys are counted as vermin and cann be killed if a pest.. would have to check on that. We had a scare here otehr year when someone reported seeing a grey one in the woods.. a fullscale hunt was set out but nothing found.

03/09/2012 at 00:19

Sorry but have to butt in and ask all to....


The reason is that the birds can get there claws and/or beaks tangled in the mesh and die a very long and agonising death! Apologies that does sound harsh but it is a known problem which the RSPB have campaigned about for quite some time. Why the manufactures of fat balls insist on sticking them in nets is beyond me, but in my book the birds welfare has to come first....

Thanks for reading


04/09/2012 at 19:01

Could not agree more, for goodness sake take those darnation nets off the fat balls. They should not be there in the first place. When one thinks of all the song birds that have been left dangling, till their death, makes one cry.

04/09/2012 at 19:09

Thanks Higgy for highlighting this. I've been aware of it for some time and have heard of some awful tales about the nets. Like you I can't understand why fat balls are sold with them on.

04/09/2012 at 19:12

Higgy, I feel as if I've been very dim now. Normally I'm pretty sensible about such things but, having never heard of any problems I just didn't realise. Glad you mentioned it, thanks.

05/09/2012 at 23:30

Hi FloBear,

You haven't been "dim" at all, I didn't know about it until I read an article about it a couple of years ago. I also use the RSPB Community forum site which is also very good as they have lots about all sorts of garden wildlife and a reasonable section about gardening. It is also a friendly site so worth a visit if you haven't been on there before?

I just don't get the mentality of fat ball producers when the danger has now been highlighted to them? With all these things making a profit comes first I presume!?

So don't fret about it just pass the message on and hopefully we can all help prevent a few more unnecessary casualties!....



06/09/2012 at 12:38

Appreciate your words, Higgy. I will definitely pass the message on. Don't know if I dare join another forum as I spend too much time here already !!

Flo x

01/11/2012 at 08:55

Bird feeders are product placed outside to supply bird food. There are different type of feeders available in the market. Choose according to your need because it depends on the size. In my opinion always choose a feeder that's easy to keep clean.


bird feeders

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