Gosh it was jolly cold this morning!!! I really piled on the layers as I got out of bed to check on the hens and pigs after a very chilly night here on the farm. Armed with a torch, I briskly set off to check on Dilys, Percy and Jupiter only to find that the water supply at Pig HQ was completely frozen. After several trips back to the house with my bucket to fetch clean water I suddenly thought of my garden birds.
This morning I’ve made a temporary feeding and watering station using an old bird table. I’m completely out of fat balls so as an interim measure I’ve scattered a little of the hen’s corn on top of the bird table and have placed a saucer filled with fresh water alongside it.
If you haven’t already stocked up on fat balls and other treats now is the time to do so, or if you prefer you can easily make your own.
500g lard 100g coarse oats
100g nuts (peanuts are great but don’t use in the spring when chicks are hatching as they can choke on them)
100g dried fruit
Plus scissors, garden wire, an old tennis ball and some garden string.
Melt the lard in a saucepan over a gentle heat and in a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the lard until everything is well coated in lard. Next cut a round hole in your tennis ball to provide an opening into the hollow of the tennis ball. Insert the garden wire into the bottom of the hollow leaving 3 cm of garden wire standing proud of the tennis ball. Using a spoon insert the lard and seed mixture into the hollow tennis ball filling it around the wire. Make sure you pack in as much mixture as you can. Once the mixture has cooled slice through the outer layer of the tennis ball to reveal the circular shape of your bird feed. Finally, tie some garden string around the garden wire which you can loop, and then suspend from your favourite tree.
If the tennis ball sounds too fiddly why not fill your bird seed mixture into halved coconut shells instead.
This week Wild Bird Food are offering 10 suet filled coconut halves for £14:00 and Amazon have a wire Fat Ball Feeder at £2.79 plus a pack of 12 Wild Bird Fat balls at £2:99. Do, however, be aware of the shipping costs. It may be more cost-effective to wait until your next visit to your local supermarket, hardware store or pet shop to purchase your fat balls and seeds.
Finally, for the ultimate bird shop – what I’d really like for Christmas is an antique bird bath. The Vintage Garden Company have a beautiful assortment of antique bird baths which I adore, however for something a little more inexpensive The Worm That Turned has a great Verses Bird Bath and stand for £45:00 or a Blue Ceramic Bird Bath for £19:95.
Happy Bird Watching!