How to make fat balls to feed the birds

How to make fat balls to feed the birds

With our world and climate changing at such a great rate, the habitats for many of our native and migratory birds are now fraught with challenges – food, water and a safe nesting spaces, once abundant, can now be scarce. This is why doing all we can in these colder winter months to support our birdlife is so important.

Sparrows, robins, blue tits, coal tits and starlings are some of the more common birds that can be found in our gardens at this time of year, and the colder weather can be incredibly tough for them. It is thought that on a single cold night, a robin can lose up to 10% of its body fat. Offering these birds a source of healthful sustenance and the opportunity to retain body fat is just what is needed.

These fat balls are a great way to feed the birds. They also offer a great way to use up any leftovers that might otherwise go to waste – excess fat from your Sunday roast and stale bread in particular.

Get the children involved in making them and watch as life emerges around your feeding table.



2 cups lard, suet or fat you may have collected from your own cooking

1 cup dry ingredients such as a mix of seeds, chopped unsalted nuts, dry breadcrumbs, oats and raisins


Bring your lard, suet or fat to room temperature and place in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix together until well incorporated – using your hands is often the best way to do this.

Next, take a handful of the mixture, about the size of an ice-cream scoop, and shape it by hand into a round ball. Once you have shaped all of the mixture, add the balls to a squirrel-proof bird feeder and hang it in a secure spot in the garden. Store any extra fat balls somewhere cool and dry in an airtight container.