To feed and water the birds in this weather?

(43 Posts)
notMarlene Sat 19-Jan-13 10:17:39

Much as I like to have birds in the garden I don't encourage then - we have cats it would be like opening a feline snack bar.

Some filthy seagull dropped a piece of bread in my garden yesterday and the poor wee birds were all over it so I've put out some fat balls and water. AIBU?

cookielove Sat 19-Jan-13 10:19:12

YANBU - birds need a bit of help in weather like this!

Put bells on your cats collars, birds need feeding esp this time of year

cozietoesie Sat 19-Jan-13 10:34:26

Try and get the food high-ish - hanging in a tree or something. That way, they'll have enough warning of a cat approach to skedaddle.

AngelWreakinHavoc Sat 19-Jan-13 10:35:26

Birds really need help in this weather yanbu!

Tee2072 Sat 19-Jan-13 10:38:32

I feed the birds all year long. Why would it BU?

Samu2 Sat 19-Jan-13 10:40:08

We feed the birds, birds die really quickly in this weather. We have hundreds in our garden, but we have so many feeders it's untrue.

Dh has to bring them in at night to stop them attracting rats which is a pain in the arse! (The feeders, not the birds ;))

Definitely get hanging feeders.

gobbin Sat 19-Jan-13 10:45:14

We have three cats, three hanging feeders and a bird table. No issues so far. The hanging feeders are best as they are away from easy cat access and the birds can get away easily if nec.

Am about to do my hour for this year's Big Garden Watch! Enjoy your birds.

ResolutelyCheeky Sat 19-Jan-13 10:49:01

I made feeders out of a milk carton yesterday and put food next to house etc where the snow wasn't so deep (we had 8 inches) I got rid of a whole tinful of stale biscuits, half a loaf and some old cereal in no time at all.

This would have only been binned anyway so didn't cost me anything and maybe kept some birds alive.

No cats out in this weather anyway. They are far too clever. Yanbu

ResolutelyCheeky Sat 19-Jan-13 10:50:11

Thought bird watch was next week 27th?

TwllBach Sat 19-Jan-13 10:53:53

I've been thinking about the birds recently, but I have a very predatory cat. I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I lured the birds in to her evil clutches <dramatic>

PolterGoose Sat 19-Jan-13 10:59:58

If you are going to feed them please commit to it and be prepared to keep topping up your feeders. One of the worst things you can do is start feeding which means the birds start to rely on you, especially in this weather, and then will start to travel to your feeders, if they arrive to nothing and there is no other food nearby, they may have expended all their energy and not have enough to seek out other food sad

And, please don't feed them bread or biscuits, because the food needs to be very energy packed, they really shouldn't be filled up on pap. Some fatballs and a peanut feeder is a good cheap way to start.

PolterGoose Sat 19-Jan-13 11:02:27

TwllBach, my cat is a ferocious hunter too, so the feeders are up high, luckily he is more interested in catching rats.

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 19-Jan-13 11:04:36

My two cats are serial killers, to put bird food out would make them bait.
They bring enough wildlife in without me encouraging the poor little birds to an almost certain death.

cantspel Sat 19-Jan-13 11:12:38

I feed the birds all year round and i have a killer cat. i have a large garden so put the food in the centre of the lawn so the cat cant creep up on them and i have a hanging feeder for the smaller birds.

All food scraps go out along with bread soaked in the old cooking fats after i have made a roast.

I also put food out for the local squirrels and foxes as this weather makes it really hard for them to find food.

MrsZoidberg Sat 19-Jan-13 11:17:11

Samu2 - we have this problem with rats. What I've done is cut a hole in the bottom of a large plastic plant pot about the size of the bird feeder poles, I've then slotted this over the pole, open side down,and taped it into place - the little buggers then can't climb up the pole and get to the feeders - only works if the pole is far enough away from any bushes they can climb up.

I know it's working as the fat balls are still there in the morning. grin The fats balls are disappearing in the day though as I have two woodpeckers visiting regularly which is fantastic grin

TwllBach Sat 19-Jan-13 11:29:15

I inherited a bird bath from the previous tenants. I suppose I could drag it to the middle of the garden so there's nothing for the car to launch herself from grin

The school where I work has robins and all sorta of other birds - I've become quite a fan of watching them! What sort of cheap things can I put out? The less money the better...

hzgreen Sat 19-Jan-13 11:35:50

It's bad enough that I have two cats, one of which is an enthusiastic hunter, but next door have seven. I'd love to feed the birds but even with bells on the collars I don't think the birds sand a chance with those odds sad

ResolutelyCheeky Sat 19-Jan-13 11:44:37

Sorry, should have said that the bread and biscuits were soaked in fat and oats and bits of fruit to make them into fat balls. Couldn't afford the bird food on sale so made my own versions with waste food. Same ingredients more or less just no cost involved.
Just about to use rind off bacon too

TwllBach Sat 19-Jan-13 11:44:40

seven cats?


Pixel Sat 19-Jan-13 17:32:27

Our feeders are up in a tree. Our evil killer cat does climb it but there is plenty of time for the birds to flee and it doesn't seem to put them off visiting. Mind you, I bought a new feeder this week as a lot had got broken and I was down to one, but they haven't touched it, just emptied out the old one. They seem to be very suspicious of anything new though you'd expect them to have seen similar feeders in other gardens (it's nothing special, just a lantern type thing from Wilkinsons).
I made porridge yesterday to warm my chickens up and they left some so I put it back out this morning for the pigeons etc, with the addition of some cheapo mixed fruit, thinking they'd go mad for it. It hasn't been touched but when my mum puts out left-over porridge in her garden the birds fight over it confused. What's wrong with my porridge? blush

Euphemia Sat 19-Jan-13 17:34:27

Birds have different tastes according to region. We moved house last year and the same species of birds here have different tastes to where we lived before. grin

Pixel Sat 19-Jan-13 17:37:46

But she only lives along the road, I've just walked there through thick snow in less than 15 mins. They are probably the same birds. Perhaps they just filled up on porridge at my mum's and didn't want any more grin.

ParsleyTheLioness Sat 19-Jan-13 17:37:49

Lol at your porridge Pixel... I have fatballs out, and go out every morning with my kettle so I can make sure the water is water and not ice. I use a round take-away container, which makes it easier.

sooperdooper Sat 19-Jan-13 17:54:39

I've been putting bird feed out for ages but they totally ignore it sad

It's in a feeder high on a side wall, I tried putting raisins in mixed with the nuts & seed mix as I read that attracts them but still nothing, there's a fat ball hung under the feeder and it's going moudly it's been there so long ignored sad

I do want to feed the birds, what am I doing wrong?

NumericalMum Sat 19-Jan-13 18:29:13

Anyone know how to get the blasted squirrels for eating it all?

invicta Sat 19-Jan-13 18:34:40

Some cheap bird food is full of fillers. I've just to Bill Oddies food from Wilkinson and put it on the ground and in a feeder. It seems quite popular.

I did by some squirrel resistant food froma garden centre. It was expensive.

gobbin Sat 19-Jan-13 18:36:55

Well bugger me, ResolutelyCheeky so it is! Should've read the bumf more carefully!

Just as well as I only saw two chaffinches and a blue tit all day today, our tree is under 6" snow with nowhere to perch.

gobbin Sat 19-Jan-13 18:40:59

I buy 12kg sacks of food and tubs of 50 fat balls from Lidl when they have it in. Cheap and lasts for ages.

PestoFrostissimos Sat 19-Jan-13 18:45:40

I think it's very important to feed our feathered friends. In the winter I turn our garden play frame into a bird feeding station by removing all the swings/trapezes etc and then using the hooks to hang up all my bird feeders. The platform at the top of the slide turns into a bird table and I also put a bowl of water up there for them. smile

IWasSara Sat 19-Jan-13 18:46:17

We feed the birds all year round too. We have a cat who likes his food to come easily to him!!

The neighbours' cats all come to salivate but the feeds are up high so I've never seen any of them catch a bird.


Pixel Sat 19-Jan-13 18:58:13

NumericalMum have a look at this. I've not tried it because I quite like watching the squirrels but it's from the RSPB so should be good advice.

Pixel Sat 19-Jan-13 19:00:45

Sorry I think that went wrong here

Pixel Sat 19-Jan-13 19:03:38

Mmm, doesn't seem to work. Anyway, they say to put chilli powder in the seed. It deters the squirrels but doesn't affect the birds in any way. You put it in a bag and shake it up to avoid it flying around and getting in your eyes or whatever. Just google 'chilli powder in bird food' and you will see the RSPB page listed. HTH

RockPaperScissorsLizardSpock Sat 19-Jan-13 19:05:20

Bird lovers, it is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch weekend 26th/27th grin

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 19-Jan-13 19:06:10

I bought my (late) housebound mum a bird table two years ago. It was a state of the art one, but she never had any birds because of the bastard crows,
When we cleared her house, I gave it to one of my neighbours and he gets hundreds of birds, I wish I could have kept it but my cats are murdering bastardssad

I buy the suet pellets - the Wilko ones are good, I find the insect ones the most popular flavour by far. They are a good source of energy for them.

I have those in a feeder and scatter some on the ground along with dried mealworms and peanut nibbles (tiny chunks of peanut) for the ground feeders.

Sooperdooper It took the birds in my garden ages to feed from mine. I was very forlorn thinking I (and my feeder) had been spurned, but they did venture over in the end.

My neighbour loves feeding them too and he has lots of trees (and therefore lots more cover) so he has about three of those enormous six-station ones and fat ball ones so I feel quite pleased they come to mine at all.(They probably wouldn't if it wasn't for the suet nibbles). We back onto open farmland/pasture so there are quite a lot of kestrels, buzzards, and the odd peregrine so they do have to be on the alert....

HopAndSkip Sun 20-Jan-13 00:48:33

I have 2 bird feeders, and no birds! sad

Starting to think the solution is to get a cat from these posts, then they'll be flocking in!!

Limnoria Sun 20-Jan-13 15:28:02

We have no birds in our (tiny) garden, but I went out and sprinkled all the left over peanuts and ground up meal worms from our previous attempts on the path near us. On my way back there were some very hungry sparrows already attacking it, so think the poor things must be really desperate.

Enfyshedd Sun 20-Jan-13 15:36:53

We've got 2 fat filled coconut halves and a fat ball holder in our yard (only 3ft deep from the kitchen window). My cat is currently having an extended holiday at my DMs following DD's arrival (cat started being sick all over the house in protest), but there's loads of cats in our street which are always on the prowl.

Our record is 7 long-tailed tits and 2 coal tits in the space of 5 minutes. Yesterday, we realised we seem to have a family of Robins (2 adults, 2 juveniles) visiting as well. It's really nice to watch them from the kitchen and even at only 8 months, DD seems to enjoy watching them smile

ratbagcatbag Sun 20-Jan-13 15:47:45

We have Niger seed, normal feed, peanuts and also a really high quality bird suet thingy.

My cat sits in the front window likes she's watching tv when they all queue up, we've had around 14 house sparrows on the little cherry blossom tree where all our feeders are on a front small scrap of grass that is the front garden. Robin has also been lots everyday too. I love it. smile

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 20-Jan-13 15:53:57

I'd love to feed the birds. Before we got the cats we practically had a little bird sanctuary in the back garden. We cut back all the bushes etc before letting the cats out to discourage the birds from hanging about too much.

One of my cats kills to eat,the other kills to play. I would feel sick if I had bird feeders up and the cats got them. It's the circle of life I know but literally turning the birds into bait isn't right.

I might scout out the garden for a high place the cats can't get to. But even then I worry the birds will sit on the wall after having a feed. Suppose bells on the cats would be helpful.

ifso Sun 20-Jan-13 16:00:46

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