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in Wildlife gardening
I have been trying all different types of bird food and I must say that it does vary in price. Some is so expensive. What have you found to be the best and most economical. I seem to be spending a fortune of mealworms at the moment but I do love to watch the frenzy it causes when I put them out.
The most economical was two 12.75 kg bags from B & Q-buy one get one free- with 25% off so 25kg for £13 or so-just before Christmas-and I spent over £20 on a deal and got extra discount
I think they gave me money in the end
Check out Wilkinson's on meal worms they sometimes do deals
I reckon to take advantage of all the bargains when they come round, even if I don't need them for a while.
I get the Niger seed on line; it worked out about £1. 10p per kilo. I get the sunflower hearts from a local farm/horsey shop cheaper than I can get it online. RSPB and similar are frankly a bit of a rip off. I have a container of mixed seed containing also meal worms but no one is very interested in it. No starlings this year, so the very cheap fat balls from Q.D. in Kings Lynn are just going to waste.
As well as buying bird food, I find it quite economical to supplement this with things like supermarket Value products such as oats, dried fruit and apples (especially ones past their sell by date!). In very cold weather when there is lots of demand for food I soak oats and stale bread in cheap sunflower oil and make a sort of pastry with value lard and flour. All the birds seem to love it
I also use our local farm shop/animal supplies, who buy the ingredients and then mix it themselves. No fancy packaging, but miles cheaper than the branded stuff - plus I like giving them my business !
I do the same as Chicky and also look out for bargain bird food in local stores. Making your own fat balls is a good idea, with seeds the birds are currently eating in the garden at any one time. Aldi also do a fruity muesli which goes down well here and mixes well in fat balls. You would need to check the label though if using other brands of muesli to make sure they are bird friendly.
Last year I grew sunflowers and fed the seeds to the birds over winter.
I've given up with the ordinary bird seed as most of it was chucked around the garden beds by birds with discerning tastes apparently, which resulted in 'crops' of wheat and barley in my flower beds, pots and baskets as well as a putrid mess under the bird feeders. i've changed to sunflower seeds as all the birds seem to like this, especially a flock of goldfinches who have been almost resident this year, bringing all their babies to feed too. The blackbirds and chaffinches dispose of what they drop, - which is a lot, - and so does the hedgehogs in the evening. One was around last week, (while the weather was weirdly mild here in SE Wales), having a quick snack. I get it from my local pet shop at £2 a kilo and get through a kilo a day so i might look on line to see if it's any cheaper.
I think wheat in the mix seed might just be a cheap bulk filler. It's always still on the lawn when everything else is gone. This might apply to barley as well if you're getting crops growing ceris.
Growing my own sunflowers this year. Don't think growing peanuts is an option
I buy Harrisons Premier wild bird seed, it doesn't have the big bits of corn in that seem to get wasted, that is 19.99, sunflower hearts are so expensive, the last bag was 29,49,but I prefer that to the husks dropped on the ground. I find the fat balls reasonable at 11.50 per 100. it is an expensive business, but once you start it, you cant stop, and I love to watch them.
Please make sure you take the net off the fat balls though.
The one in tesco,the big bag 2.95 .
I buy the CJ wild bird seed, no mess variety. I pay around 18 quid at my local pet store. The only mess makers I find are actually the coal tits. I've watched them constantly spitting out every single thing til they find what they want, a sunflower seed I presume, so have started buying sunflower hearts separately now. The chaffinches and collared doves I get do do a good job of clearing up the spat out bits though. I get a small bag of sunflower hearts for a quid at the local pound store, along with 100g bag of dried mealworms. The mealworms are far cheaper this way, and also fat balls / cakes. A pack of 8 balls for a quid, or 3 fat cakes for 75p. Feeding birds can be expensive so I try to save money where I can, but as Lyn above says, once you start you can't stop, and I also enjoy watching the birds feeding. The other product I get is Nyger seeds. I tend to buy these from Pet-Supermarket.com as it's the best price I could find, and with free delivery too. To hear the gold finches squabbling over the Nyger makes me smile, even if I can't always see them from the other side of the garden. I love to know that they're all getting a good feed. Peanuts I get from the local pet shop too, but they're about 36 quid for a ?12.75 / 20kg bag (I forget the weight). Peanuts are dear, so I try to scrimp on the amount I put out, but with 2 cheeky red squirrels to feed........ I also get a small bag of suet pellets (400g) for a quid from the quid shop, total bargain !
i purchased some ordinary lard from asda as i couldn't find suet then i simply mixed it with pound shop wild bird seed into balls and the birds left the original purchased fat balls and totaly scoffed the lard ones,it looks like all the birds seem to like them especialy the Starlings they love them But i think i might have a problem in summer as they will probaly melt a bit ,need to get them more solid,How im not sure,and ideas
Definitely CJ Wildbird food. I get two sacks of shelled sunflower seeds delivered twice a year. No delivery charge and a discount for buying in bulk. I tried buying other food, but the birds only ever eat the sunflower seeds and toss everything else out onto the lawn.
How about grinding up some peanuts til it's near powder to mix with your fat cakes ? I used to make fat cakes years ago, but found the same problem, that they melt in the summer (I didn't follow my own tip above though, so it may work). I'm lazy nowadays, and buy fat balls and cakes as I can get them so cheaply in the quid shops. Hope the above tip is worth a go though. Or maybe porridge oats, something dry to stabilise the fat content.
You are right flowering rose, the large bags of bird seed in Tesco are good and do not have a lot of wheat and corn which gets wasted. I found that Morrisons bird feed has too much wheat etc. In the summer Tesco reduced the big bags by 50p and I stocked up! So do keep a look out this year. I find the pet stores rather expensive. No wonder it is a multi million pound business!
Morrisons peanuts are good value I found, compared to the others.I found, though cheap, quid stores' fat balls have more SAND than fat!
Alan, I make fat balls with lard (it's going up by leaps and bounds, I noticed...went up from 39p to 45p in 3 days!! It's 49p in Tesco, what a ripoff)
I mix value oats with bird seed,sunflower seeds and peanuts to make the fat balls.The oats seem to bind the mixture together. Where do you live Alan, to get enough heat to melt them.......lucky you.
When it gets cold, I soak oats with value dried fruit and raisins with leftover cheese,rind, rice and potato and leave it all out on a pot plant saucer. I does not last very long! I find meal worms etc. rather expensive, so hope these little treats help the little darlings make up for the loss of their habitat and foraging countryside.
Ooooh, that's interesting jatnikapyar - fat balls full of Sand ???? I haven't found that yet, so will have to keep a look out, though must say that the gorgeous long tail tits that visit me regularly now scoff them down no end, I counted 8 all at once on my fat ball feeder cage on Saturday, they love the fat balls. I also like the mix of soaked oats, fruit etc that you put out for the birds. I'll try that this weekend and see what happens.
I was looking through the cupboards to see what I might offer as extras in this cold weather. There are glace cherries and mixed peel left over from the Crims cake. Would these be bad for them?
Dripping is harder than lard - would that work better? You would need to melt it first, then mix in the goodies. If you have any empty coconut feeders you could put the dripping mix in them. I keep meaning to have a go myself but not yet got round to it.
I sometimes wonder where all my bird food goes, here shows a pheasant, a pigeon and a squirrel all scoffing! and of course, they bring their mates.