Make fat balls


As well as putting out bird seed, leftovers or peanuts for your local birds, you can also give them a boost with fatty foods that are high in energy and easy to make!

While many species such as finches prefer to feed on seeds, birds such as tits, starlings, sparrows and woodpeckers love to snack on tasty round treats that have a high fat content. Birds especially appreciate these extra calories in Winter time when their usual foods may be harder to find.

If you are interested in making your own then here’s a list of ingredients: you’ll have to figure out the optimum consistency for yourself, but it’s best to start with dry ingredients and add the melted fat a little at a time, stirring continuously.

  • Melted lard (alternatively animal or vegetable suet or fat drippings from cooking)
  • Peanut flour (go for inexpensive angling supplies!)
  • Breadcrumbs and other kitchen scraps suitable for birds
  • Sunflower hearts or mixed seed (avoid cheap “bulk bags” of bird seed if you can)
  • Luxury items – mealworms or pieces of fruit

You’ll know the mixture is right when you can pick it up in your hands and shape it into firm, round balls – remember to let it cool first. If your mix is too wet, it will be a sloppy mess (which is part of the fun) so add some more dry ingredients! If the mix is too dry it will be crumbly and won’t hold a shape, so stir in a little more melted fat.

A handy tip is to use cake baking trays to hold the treats as you make them. You can make short loops of string or twine, and form the balls around these so that they can be hung from branches or hooks.  You can also buy feeders that are perfect for holding several balls at a time.  You can also use the same mixture to fill old yoghurt pots or half-coconut shells, and these can also hang up to make ready-made, re-useable feeding stations!

Do you have a better recipe that the birds enjoy? Let us know in the Comments below and inspire others to do this activity!

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