• This topic has 37 replies, 29 voices, and was last updated 3 months ago by myti.
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  • Hungry birds empty wallet
  • kormoran
    Free Member

    My garden is full of birds as I am feeding regularly. I’m a bit skint these days so wondering where to get the best value food

    Seeds seem the favorite, plus I have fastballs and peanuts although red squirrels like them too

    There’s a sizeable bag of seed for a tenner in Tesco. Anywhere else worth looking?

    This morning a woodpecker turned up a long with goldfinch. Top stuff

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Home Bargains and B&M Bargains can be good.

    longdog
    Free Member

    We tend to get a sack mixed grain from Harbro’s, seems the cheapest option for non-fancy seed mix seed anyway and the birds haven’t complained.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    I only buy Sunflower hearts nowadays, Home bargains or online. Zero mess, loved by pretty much all birds alike, not horrifically expensive if you’re willing to buy a massive bag; it will last you a year though. The problem with mixed seeds is each breed will toss what they don’t like, and so it goes much quicker I found. Not that the sunflowers last that long once a flock of Goldfinches finds them.

    Something like https://www.bargainbirdfood.co.uk/bird-food/20kg-sunflower-hearts

    GolfChick
    Free Member

    I tend to buy a variety from BnM and then mix it all together in a big tub with a scoop, something like sunflower seeds, mealworms and a mixed seed. I then also buy a 50 ball tub of fat balls and some suet blocks as well. The suet blocks get left empty for a week or so before its filled again otherwise they destroy it and I’d be skint!

    Wilkos was the cheapest/best but that’s not an option now so I head to a huge BnM home store instead. There’s only one squirrel in our neck of the woods and if he’s ever stupid enough to try to take on the net defence I just unleash the dog.

    dlr
    Full Member

    Price of seed gone up a lot like most things, costs me a fair bit but worth it although I don’t get to see the birds now except the weekend as it’s dark when I leave for work and before I return

    Nice you get red squirrels kormoran, where abouts are you?

    mattyfez
    Full Member

    Try putting some grass seed down, it won’t make your lawn look better but the birds will be fed! 😉

    thecaptain
    Free Member

    I get sacks off eBay.

    kormoran
    Free Member

    Nice you get red squirrels kormoran, where abouts are you?

    Near dingwall, there are quite a few here as I’m by woods. They are hilarious as they can cross the garden via trees then raid the feeder although have special squirrel feeders too. But the pine marten busts them open!

    sofaman
    Full Member

    +1 for what Ben said. For years I’ve been using GW Titmuss, now littlepeckers.co.uk, for good quality sunflower hearts. At the moment bargainbirdfood is a little cheaper, even with the postage.

    Have a separate peanut feeder to tempt the (gray) squirrels away.

    If I forget to refill the sunflower seeds, then the pesky blue tits will bang on the windows!

    LimboJimbo
    Full Member

    Red Squirrels and Pine Martens, that’s just showing off. Lucky sod 😉

    kormoran
    Free Member

    Red Squirrels and Pine Martens, that’s just showing off. Lucky sod

    they are all just hooligans, they smash the feeders open and the martens curl one out on the lawn as a calling card. Bloody nature!

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I used to buy a sack of 20 kg of sunflower hearts for £20 off Ebay, now seems to be around the £30 mark.

    Get through 3-4 sacks a year!

    thelawman
    Full Member

    Price of seed gone up a lot

    It may not be the only reason, but dont forget Ukraine has historically been one of the world’s big sunflower producers, albeit mainly for cooking oils etc. They’ve got other things on their minds just lately.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    plus I have fatballs

    #humblebrag

    timba
    Free Member

    Millets?

    Failing that Home Bargains or B&M are my go to

    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Try and find your local animal feeds store (like what farmers and horsey types use) – they often do big bags of bird food at decent prices.

    kormoran
    Free Member

    Blimey I topped up the seeds just after the op and they are empty! They must lie on their backs and pour them in

    I might retire the easy feeder, it’s basically a bath full of seeds they dive into

    CountZero
    Full Member

    Red Squirrels and Pine Martens, that’s just showing off. Lucky sod. They are all just hooligans, they smash the feeders open and the martens curl one out on the lawn as a calling card. Bloody nature!

    The martens are why you’ve got red squirrels! They’re spreading down here into southern England and Wales now, as well; the Forest of Dean and the New Forest have martens, which I never thought I’d ever see, so hopefully the red squirrels will start to come back as well. We have red kites and ravens flying over my house and the surrounding area, and a couple of young beavers were found in a storm drain in Frome, and are recuperating at a wildlife sanctuary before being released.
    As far as bird food is concerned, the birds that I get are bloody fussy, like the hedgehogs, and I’ve had to throw out bags of good food because the birds won’t eat it, and it’s just gone mouldy. I tried all the usual things for the small birds, like peanuts, Niger seeds and other mixed foods, and they either got tossed onto the patio, or went mouldy! Suet pellets get the tits, sparrows and starlings, the starlings will empty a large feeder full of calciworms in about half an hour, then go after the suet pellets. They’re very fussy about fat/suet balls, I’ve only found one sort that they’ll all eat, but I could only find them locally In Wilco, and that source is now closed, so I’m going to have to hunt down a new source from somewhere. Those are the Peckish energy balls, but the birds ignore other Peckish balls!
    Drives me nuts! 😉 The calciworms I could only find in 500gm bags in Wilco’s, but I’ve found someone who sells them online in 2kg bags for roughly half the price, which is a win, considering the hedgehogs like them as well,  which is why I don’t buy mealworms anymore, they’re not good for the ‘hogs, but they’ll only eat dog meat in gravy, and crunchy kibbles with creamy centres.
    Is there a Michelin star for wild animal restaurants?

    At least the sunflower hearts consistently attract the goldfinches, although their numbers have dropped off in recent years, sadly. 🙁

    beej
    Full Member
    BigJohn
    Full Member

    Tits like coconuts

    tuboflard
    Full Member

    Tits like coconuts

    sounds like a line from a Carry On film.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    The Goodies, IIRC. Something with Bill Oddie, anyway.

    The problem with mixed seeds is each breed will toss what they don’t like, and so it goes much quicker I found.

    I fixed this. A floorful of discarded seed led to a slug invasion. I got a mesh tray to hang under the feeder to catch it all. Turns out, once the feeder is empty and there’s no choice, they’ll then eat most of what’s in the tray.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    My local hardware store does big bags of mixed seed plus fatballs, suet blocks etc pretty cheap and as it’s only a 2 min walk away it’s the most convenient option.

    Plusy neighbour tops it up sometimes as well (it’s on a shared front garden) so effectively it’s half price.

    wbo
    Free Member

    I haven’t started feeding yet.. but I guess it depends on what’s available naturally , and locally.  Do the RSPB say anything re. when and when not to feed?

    jonnyrobertson
    Full Member

    Another recommendation for sunflower hearts here.  Having tried various combos of all different seeds I found that the heart feeders were the ones that got emptied, with the niger specialist Goldfinches even preferring the hearts. I just used to grab mine from Wilkos but I’d better get searching for another supplier. I store mine in a metal bin now as my local mice were able to sniff them out and chew through whatever I had stored them in. Add squirrel proof feeders into the mix and it got quite spendy but at least the seed lasts a reasonable amount of time now. The feeders paid for themselves quite quickly.

    kormoran
    Free Member

    I have separate squirrel feeders but they are reds only here so win win

    Currently trying them on sunflower seeds, rather than peanuts. So far they seem keen, they lift the lid and scoop them out

    Northwind
    Full Member

    B&M suet pellets for me, I get the big cardboard box of em, I don’t think it can be beat on price and it seems like all my bird visitors will eat them, if not from the feeder then from the ground. Highly recommended, if I was only getting one sort of bird food it’d always be these, not even close.

    Their other stuff isn’t so good, I think the massive sack of seeds has a lot of crap in it tbh, a lot of it just goes on the ground and even the pigeons don’t eat it, only the slugs do. The sparrows and coal tits definitely like some of it but the mix isn’t good. But, it’s cheap for a massive bag And nothing seems to like the fatballs or peanuts here, I stopped peanuts entirely and just put a fatball or two inside other feeders just to have something there when the good stuff’s been eaten.

    Bunnyhop
    Full Member

    If you grow sunflowers from seed, cut off the huge seed heads at the beginning of Autumn and the birds (or in our case a badger ate the lot) will eat them.
    Luckily I get a volunteer discount from the RSPB.
    The birds went mad this morning, about 11 species emptying two feeders until a sparrowhawk came in.

    wbo – we feed the birds all year round. Also leave water out for them to drink and bath in.
    We also found sunflower hearts are the best and most birds will eat them.

    If you want cheaper bird food make your own fat balls.

    CountZero
    Full Member

    If you want cheaper bird food make your own fat balls.

    Still no guarantee that the fussy, entitled little sods will eat mine!

    A couple of days ago I filled up the wire mesh feeders with suet pellets – when I checked them lunchtime today they were 2/3 empty. And the feeder full of calciworms was emptied in about twenty minutes. The starlings are the culprits, I think I’m the only person who feeds them within a two mile radius, and their numbers are increasing every year. Not so long ago I’d get half a dozen, now there’s thirty to forty birds on occasion.

    dissonance
    Full Member

    I have a mix of sunflower hearts (cos tidying up the husks is a pain), peanuts (generally the last option) and rspb buggy nibbles.
    I don’t find it too bad cost wise outside of breeding season.
    I think most I have had is about 30-40 starlings and not a dissimilar number of sparrows but they tend to disperse once the fledglings have figured out how to fly a reasonable distance. Still have a handful pop by for snacks but at a lower level unless it gets really cold.
    For squirrels I have balanced risk from the local sparrowhawk (whilst I havent seen them in the garden I have seen evidence of their visit) vs anti squirrel measures. I have been successful after a few “bugger has got to them” looking out of thw window moments in preventing them getting to the food.
    I did have to add an anti squirrel cage to the sunflower heart feeder since otherwise the local pigeons were emptying the feeder in about a day by flying up and shaking the seeds to the floor to then eat.

    TiRed
    Full Member

    ark seed mix here in very large feeders. consumption can run at well over a kilo per week. large niger seed feeder with 8 sittings for the goldfinches. not a lot of mess. I buy 16 kilos at a time. 

    MrSalmon
    Free Member

    We have a peanut feeder and a seed feeder. The peanuts used to get emptied about three or four times quicker than the seeds when we were using some seed mix we got from Sainsbury’s. Now we’ve switched to sunflower hearts it’s the other way round – woodpeckers are still on the peanuts but everything else ignores them until that’s all that’s left!

    CountZero
    Full Member

    I’m going to have to put in a new order for a 2kg bag of calciworms, the first bag filled three of the boxes I bought mealworms and suet pellets in, and two of those are empty. 🫤

    Getting blue tits, coal tits and marsh tits around now, but no great tits, sadly.

    Bunnyhop
    Full Member

    Birds are also a great indicator of the weather to come.
    I always know if the next day will be very cold or stormy, as the birds feed up first.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    I stopped putting out calciworms for the birds, they just get eaten too fast, they’re like crack for starlings. Sorry greedy birds.

    (OT probably but while calciworms are fine, normal mealworms are bad for hedgehogs so if you dual-feed or if you have hedgehogs that clean up under the bird feeders at night, probably better not)

    TiRed
    Full Member

    Four more kilos of the last of the summer meal put out this morning. Tube is 1.5m long and has 10 sittings. A lot of tits have been busy feeding all day. And the starlings of course.

    myti
    Free Member

    I buy bags of peanuts, sunflower hearts and mealworms and make a mix and also put out some peanuts in a hanging flower pot for the squirrel but he still goes to the bird feeder. Can anyone recommend a decent squirrel/pigeon proof feeder?

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