Birds Need Fat to Stay Fit


Suet RingAt this time of year the days are short and cold, and our wild birds will be spending much of the available daylight looking for food with a high energy content. They need to find food that is so rich in calories that the surplus can be stored as fat during the day and then burnt off during the night to keep warm. Although the days are slowly getting longer they are currently around 16 hours long, leaving just 8 hours for the birds to replace the energy used. There’s usually lots of competition at the feeders so the smaller birds such as Blue Tits and Robins often have to wait until the larger birds have had their fill, further reducing the time available to feed.

Putting out energy-rich foods such as sunflower hearts is a big help to a wide range of species, but when the weather gets cold the best approach is to give the birds exactly what they need: fat. Our peanut cakes are based on a mix of high quality beef fat and peanut flour providing over 600 calories in every 100 grams, making each mouthful a vital energy boost.

Peanut cake squares weigh 300 grams and fit into a range of inexpensive feeders or can be provided loose on a bird table or the ground. Peanut cake tubes are larger at 500 grams and 1 kilo and can be hung from the integral stalk, fed loose like the squares, or used with one of the specialist peanut cake feeders. Squares and tubes can also be rubbed into the bark of trees to provide a “feeding stripe” of fat crumbs which are too small for larger birds to bother with but ideal for the smaller species like Long-tailed Tits, Treecreepers and Goldcrests which seldom dare to “mix it” with Great Tits and Starlings at the feeders.

If Starlings and Magpies tend to consume everything that is put out there is a solution in the form of the Fat Ball & Suet Feeder Guardian, a caged feeder which protects fat balls, peanut cake squares and peanut cake tubes from larger birds. Easy to refill even on a frosty morning, the feeder can be hung, pole mounted or used free standing and holds up to ten fat balls or one individual peanut cake square or tube.

Spare some food for the Starlings if you can though as they are on the Red List of birds of conservation concern, having declined massively in recent years. They are also charmingly gregarious, talented mimics and, when the wintery sunlight catches the iridescence of their feathers, surprisingly handsome. If you are going to use the Guardian feeder to secure some food for the smaller birds it’s worth considering putting out a few peanut cakes specifically produced and economically priced for the Starlings’ larger appetite.

As well as the “Starling bar”, peanut cake squares and tubes are available in seven other flavours including Very Berry, Gourmet Robin and Fruit & Nut. Try a selection pack to see which varieties your birds like the most.

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