After our little excursion into town to buy all the supplies, Tadpole and I made bird feeder balls together. Alright, so they’re not actually balls, but you get the idea. They’re incredibly simple to make – all you need is some fat and some seeds and/or nuts, some string and something to use as molds.
We bought mixed seeds and mixed peanuts for our bird feeders. We mixed the two together and melted a block of lard (just the cheapest home brand from the local supermarket). The important thing is to heat it so that it melts, but don’t let it get too hot – if you’re using something plastic as a mold, you don’t want it to melt!
We used some silicone cupcake cases as our molds, and I couldn’t find any string so I used some scraps of yarn I had left over from various crochet projects. I made loops with the yarn and tied big knots in the ends to that the yarn would stay in the feeders once they’d hardened. Next time I think I’ll tie the yarn round a small length of stick to give it a little extra sturdiness.
We filled up the cupcake cases with our mixture of bird seed and nuts while the lard melted (Tadpole loved this part) making sure the knotted yarn was securely in the centre of each with the loops hanging out, then I poured in the melted fat right to the top. After that, it was simply a case of popping them in the fridge to set and harden up a little.
The next day we turned them all out of the cases and wrapped the individual feeders up in cellophane. We took a couple along to my sister’s place so that Tadpole and Jess could hang one each in her garden, then when we got home, we hung up another three in our own garden. We saved the last one to take to nursery school the next day with us, so that it could be hung up in the school garden.
We still have plenty of bird feeder ingredients left, so we’ll definitely be making more of these throughout the winter in the hopes of attracting some pretty birds for Tadpole to watch and identify. They’re so inexpensive to make and a lovely project to do with children (although the pouring of the fat should definitely be a grown-up job, or at least a responsible teen job!).