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Bring life back to your garden as you shake off the chill of winter by inviting some feathered friends to your garden for a snack. It’s important to know what to include and what to avoid so that they’re safe for all species.

What to include
  • Fruit is not only delicious but nutritious, so try apples grated or cut in half, as well as berries and dried fruit such as currants or sultanas. If you do opt for dried fruit, make sure you soak it overnight and then chop it up finely.
  • Birds are big fans of peanuts, but make sure you use plain unsalted and unroasted nuts. They also love peanut butter, but it’s probably best to use an organic variety to avoid added salt.
What to include
  • Suet and lard make for the ideal binding agents in home-made fat balls. Just make sure you avoid fat that has already been used to cook with.
  • While it’s best to avoid pre-made seed mixes unless they come from a specialist bird food seller, sunflower and nyjer seeds are highly nutritious to birds.
What to avoid

Milk is something that birds can’t digest, so it should be avoided entirely.

What to avoid

Stale and mouldy bread isn’t ideal for two reasons – bread offers no nutritional value to birds so there’s no benefit to them in eating it. On top of that, certain types of mould can be bad for their health.

Making wild bird food cake
  • Finely chop up 65g of dried fruit that has been soaked overnight, as well as 65g of unsalted, unroasted peanuts.
  • Add them to a bowl along with 45g of sunflower seeds, 45g of nyjer seeds and 45g of grated cheese and mix thoroughly until combined.
  • Melt 200g of lard or beef suet in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • Remove it from the heat and add it to your dry ingredients a little bit at a time, stirring as you go.
  • Divide your mixture into portions the size of your hanging bird feeder. Shape it into tightly packed balls with your hands so that they’re just smaller than the diameter allowed by your feeder.
  • Cover a tray with greaseproof paper and place them on it to allow them to cool. Once they’re cool, refrigerate them overnight.
  • They’re ready to go the next day.

More inspiration from Wickes