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Fat Balls and Suet Balls make ideal food for many garden birds, common and exotic, and can be fed in a number of ways and locations to attract the widest abundance of species. Fat balls for birds are widely available but the cost varies greatly. When it comes to the price of them the old adage 'you get what you pay for' really does apply. Fat balls originate from the by-product of the food industry; tallow and lard. However that's where the similarity ends. A high quality fat ball will be made from pure tallow with the addition of premium grade seeds and soluble calcium. Unfortunately many non-specialists may not realise the importance of the ingredient list, or even worse deliberately hide inferior ingredients, with little or no nutritional value to birds.
Making them yourself is also simple and can be a great home project. Use pure lard or beef suet (not left over cooking fat as this can be bad for birds), these are salt free and set solid preventing bacteria from growing. Mix about one third warmed lard/suet with about two thirds mixture of your (or the birds) favourite treats, seeds, nuts, cheese, dried fruit, etc. Use a plastic cup, or old coconut shells, or simply roll into balls and allow to cool and set before putting out in the garden. Why not spread some fat balls or fat ball mix directly into tree bark for woodpeckers and nuthatches, the only limitation is your imagination.
If you buy commercial fat balls for birds, try different types because the ingredients and quality vary greatly, for example our fat balls have a softer consistency than many reflecting the higher fat content, the vital energy giver that keeps the birds coming back for more, all mixed with premium grade seeds. As a specialist fat ball supplier for birds we only supply them without nets because we view this as unnecessary packaging and may, even worse, cause injury or death to birds if not removed before feeding.
Whether home made or purchased, can be used all around the garden throughout the year, placed on the ground for blackbirds and wrens, on the bird table for robins, and dunnocks, hang a few fat balls in trees and shrubs and see which of the tit family prefer which location; high in a branch, in thick undergrowth or hanging below a shrub. Be adventurous because fat balls are a terrific source of nutritional energy for birds and provide hours of pleasure as you watch how many birds you can attract to your garden.