We love seeing birds visit the garden, swooping from branch to branch and stopping to feed or bathe. We encourage them in by offering a constant source of food and water throughout the year, particularly in the colder months when the birds' natural resources are harder to find.
Offer your feathered friends these nourishing fat balls and you will ensure that birds return to your garden.
fat balls [makes 4]
Measure the wild bird seed and place in a bowl.
Melt the lard before adding to the bird seed, the best way is to place the lard inside a jar in a bowl of boiling water (like a bain marie).
Once the lard has melted add it to the bird seed, mixing well to ensure an even spread.
Leave the seed and lard mix to cool, I like to do this on the window sill as you want the mixture to be workable, rather than solid. Once it begins to harden I separate it into 4 portions, then continue to cool.
Once the opacity has changed and the lard has turned white, shape the mixture into balls (apple size is good).
We like to use a fat ball as a substitute for an apple with our Swedish brass apple holder - but alternatively you could use some natural jute garden twine.
If you are using the brass apple holder place two skewers through the centre of each ball making a hole big enough to accommodate the brass holder.
If you are using twine - make a loop of twine and knot one end. Split a fat ball in half, insert the twine and close the ball up, sealing it around the edges.
Place the fat balls, on baking paper, in the fridge until solid.
Once done hang in the garden, and await the birds.
We tend to use one at a time, keeping the remaining balls in the fridge, in a sealed box.
We used the following when making our fat balls, click on the image for more details.