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in Wildlife gardening
Hi all, I know there have been a lot of threads over the years about feeding birds but after recently buying some birdfood in bulk, I couldn't believe the difference in costs compared to buying from the supermarket (where I normally get it) so thought I'd share! These are just some examples:
20kg sunflower hearts £24 - supermarket £60, saving £3620kg wild bird seed husk free £22 - supermarket 'no mess' £80, saving £585kg dried mealworms £42 - supermarket £150 (!!!), saving £108
No doubt some stores/supermarkets have better prices than those above, but many of their prices are just unbelievable - take the meal worms for example - Asda charge £3 for just 100g, that's £30 per kg!
Hi Alan, no problem. The seed I get is 'Johnson & Jeff Superior Wild Bird Seed Husk Free' from Burnhills, the sunflower hearts are from Croston Corn Mill and mealworms from Hoof & Hound. Google will find them for you.
Thanks Bob, I'll check those out as well. There's lots for them to eat naturally in my garden but watching them on the feeders gives me a lot of pleasure.
Nut, the J&J seed mix includes quite large raisins so you may want to check they won't block your feeders - easy to pick out by hand though which I do and put those onto my bird table for the blackbirds (who love 'em. )
I always buy my sunflower hearts in bulk, usually in 25kg sacks. Some suppliers hearts have a lot of powdery husk within it, which blocks feeders. I never buy from supermarkets, but sometimes when Wilkinsons have their seed on offer I buy it.
My last sunflower heart puchase was this...
It was good quality seed without any husk or powder.
Is it wheat that the bird spit out.
I bought cheap seed before and had a big area if wild cereals taking root
I never tell my husband what it has cost when I unload the car boot. Usually a sack of sunflower hearts, a premium no waste seed and a blackbird/robin mix. I do feel guilty (but not for long) as it is just so much cheaper in the long run. The bags that the supermarkets sell wouldn't last an afternoon. Although, at the moment I'm not having to put too much out.
I tried to start a thread about this just last week here because I have found myself that buying in bulk is much cheaper:
But nobody seemed interested!
Hi Lancashire Lass, It's a bit random whether a thread gets picked-up and depends on how busy the forum is - I'm sure it's nothing to do with you!
One thing which might help is to remember to press Enter after you paste a link in, otherwise it doesn't work and readers have to copy & paste it from within the message into their browser address bar - something which some members might struggle with.
My feeders haven't been getting much attention from the birds lately (and from before I changed seed so it's not the mix) - I'm not sure whether it's because there is plenty of natural food about, the prolonged wet spell has proved fatal for many birds or I have a sparrow hawk hanging around again!
Only this morning I had a hungry flock of Goldfinch feasting on Verbena Bonineriasis seed heads in my large perennial border, which is a great spectacle to watch!
Even though there are feeders hanging up full of seed that they use every day, when the time is right they will strip out every possible seed from these plants completely ignoring the feeders! As the winter goes on they gradually work their way around all the plants but only when they are ready to eat!
This clearly demonstrates the benefit of leaving the seed heads on your perennial plants over the winter. What's even better all these plants are in full flower all summers benefiting all manner of pollinators so you win twice in my book!
I have also been buying seed in bulk for some time which makes perfect sense. For mealworms I have found some great bargains on ebay in the past but they go fast so you need to keep checking!
To make my expensive sunflower hearts go further I mix them about 60-40/70-30 with black sunflower seeds that are much cheaper to buy. I don't find this makes any difference to the birds but does offset the cost of the expensive hearts somewhat.
I'd heard somewhere that the RSPB have been phoned a lot this Winter about the lack of birds. They have said that it is because of the mild Winter, leaving birds with lots of natural foods to eat (tree berries plentiful in our garden still). The soft ground means they can get at the worms still. I suppose us gardeners have to face the fact that the food we provide our feathered friends is actually second best as far as they are concerned!
I'm a great believer in leaving perennial heads as long as possible in Winter. In fact, my rule of thumb is that unless it wilts and dies, the plant stays unpruned until new growth starts.
Thanks for the tip about hyper links Bob Here is my link for some good bulk seed mix from Amazon:
My birds queue up in the morning waiting for it to be put out and at £15.94 for 20kg delivered, it is a good price. It has been received more enthusiastically than my supermarket bought seed and none is wasted. I hope it is useful to someone on the forum.
Mine are still queuing, I'd better get out there
I note what you say about lack of birds LL. I have lots of the usual tits and finches etc but no reed buntings, bramblings or coaltits which usually turn up in winter
The birds are loving this bright weather playing in the sun jumping around on the roof of my garage it really nice to just sit a watch for 10 min
I live a short drive from a live food supplier which is where I get my live mealworms from. I usually put them out around nesting time....
Woo, the birdies are back!
It's been -2C for the last couple of nights and when I looked out for just 2 minutes this morning I saw greenfinches, sparrows, coal tits and a robin, so they do remember where the easy pickings are when it gets a bit nippy!
I had to do an afternoon refill on the feeders today. First time this winter
Higgy, I too have had the pleasure of seeing goldfinches on my verbena bonariensis. Sometime around 12 will land at once causing the whole plant to bend and bow in a most amusing but slightly alarming way. Unfortunately, due to the recent storms I've had to cut most of mine down to around 18" /0.5m ( depending if you're old school or new school) because they were suffering from wind rock. I have one left unpruned as it's in been in the ground 2 years and seems pretty solid. I get so much pleasure from the birds in my garden, not to mention the benefits of slug/ pest control, I don't mind paying for their food. When you compare it with the cost of say, a bottle of wine, or a packet of cigarettes,or a ticket for a football match/ theatre, depending on your own vices, it's not much " per day" is it?