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I recently read a review on this Bill Oddie bird food and, although the review itself was very good and fully deserved the 'VU' rating I gave it, I didn't really agree with it, so I thought I'd give my side of the birdfood story. Mr. Nykied has become more interested in birds (the feathered variety, I hope!) of late and purchased a bird feeding station, which has hooks for hanging feeders from. These feeders need to be filled with tasty birdfeed, so the last time we were in Morrison's, we had a look down the bird seed aisle. He picked up a bag of Morrison's own brand and then saw a pack of this Bill Oddie version. It was on offer at £2 for a 2kg bag (usually £2.95), which was at least a pound cheaper than the supermarket's own brand. Bargain. The packet in nice, as it has a list of the birds you can expect to see in your garden, along with pictures. The actual bird food is 100% natural and contains English wheat, yellow millet, black and striped sunflower seeds, milo, panicum, pinhead oatmeal and flaked and cut maize. It also says that it doesn't contain any split peas or coloured dog biscuits, which apparently other bird foods sometimes have in as a filler. As soon as we arrived home, the other half filled up his bird feeders and hung them up to wait for the birds to arrive. And arrive they did. In their hundreds. Well, in their tens anyway, which kept Mr. Nykied quiet for a while as he watched them eating the food he'd so lovingly placed outside. So far so good. After a few days, however, old eagle eye Mr. Nykied noticed that there didn't seem to be any bluetits coming to the feeders any more. He monitored this carefully (as all good geeks should) and came to the definite conclusion that the blue tits were staying away. So he thought he'd try filling one of the feeders up with a different feed whilst keeping one filled with Bill Oddie's nuts, to see if the blue tits came back. They did, but the day after filling the feeders up, it was noticed that one very quickly became empty whilst the other remained almost completely full. Cue the Scientific Geek coming out! Initially, he hypothesized that, because one of the feeders was higher than the other and closer to the hedge, the birds couldn't see it as well. So he filled the empty one (with the other brand of seed in) and swapped them over, so that the untouched (Bill Oddie's bits-filled) one was now lower down and furthest away from the hedge. But no, that didn't make any difference. The next evening, the Bill Oddie one was still untouched whilst the other one was empty. Mr. Nykied decided that the feeders themselves were making the difference, so he swapped the contents over. Still no difference. Just for good measure, he swapped the feeders (complete with their swapped contents) over again. But each time, no matter which permeation was tried, the birds ate the feeder with the other brand of feed whilst completely ignoring the Bill Oddie feed. So the natural (and only) conclusion was that the birds didn't mind the feed and would eat it if there was nothing else on offer, but they prefer the other brand we offered them. That was nothing special, by the way, just Wilkinson's own brand. In conclusion, if you want to give this bird feed a try (not yourself, it specifically tells you on the bag that it's not for human consumption!), then give it a go. £2 from Morrisons at the moment. And if you find that the birds in your garden don't like it either, then it can be stored in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. As for our household, we'll be sticking with the Wilkinson one!
Being that I'm a really keen gardener, it goes without saying that I also love the birds that visit my garden, especially in the winter when they are looking for food. I make my own selection of bits and bobs for the bird table with crumbing up lots of different foods for them, but I do like to have a bag of bird food in the cupboard so I can keep their tube feeders well topped up ( especially in this cold weather that we are experiencing at the moment!). I usually buy a premium bag of seeds from my 99p shop on a weekly basis, but while out shopping recently I saw that my Poundland shop had restocked with this "Bill Oddies Really Wild Bird Food" I have bought this in the past and found that it went down really well, but suddenly they seemed to stop selling it and I wasn't going to pay £3.45 ( I know it is a bigger bag 2kg, but it is still a lot dearer!) which is what our local pet store charges ( sorry birds!). This comes in a very eye catching plastic bag which is white and purple with a picture of the man himself Bill Oddie (the little wacky man with glasses from the old classic "The Goodies" that was on many years ago!). What I particularly like about this feed is that apart from the fact that it is a good mixture that caters for all wild birds, but down one side it show's you a selection of birds ( also describes them) that will love this feed. If you have small children then it is great to keep the empty bag and show them the birds on this which then they can keep an eye out and see who can spot the most in one day!. This feed consists of Wholesome English Wheat, Striped and Black Sunflower Seeds and Yellow Millett. The yellow millett is tiny little seeds which make it perfect for birds with small beaks. This attracts a lot of different species including Great Tits, Blue Tits, Greenfinches, Blackbirds, Chaffinches, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow and Dunnocks to name just a few. I must admit I have got to move my tube feeder to a different spot as where it is now I have a cheeky pair of collared doves that have worked out that if they sit in a certain spot they are at the right height to peck into the feeder which I don't mind, but they are so greedy they can almost finish a tube in two days. I'll have to get them a different feeder and monitor what I put into it!. This food is not just for the tubes, but can be put loosely onto a bird table or simply scattered around on the ground. This can be used all year round, but now is when they seem to really need it as the trees and bushes are all bare, until all the new berries appear on them in the spring. I don't know if this is because of this particular feed, but I keep getting a family of Long Tailed Tits ( at least 6-8 in each visit!)sitting on my bird table and I must say that I think that they are one off my favourite little birds!. I also noticed that there was a selection of different Bill Oddie items for sale so I shall buy some of those next time I'm in there and let you know how I get on!. So if you are visiting your Poundland look out for this 800g bag and treat your wild birds in this cold snap!! ps.......Just noticed that Amazon are selling this for £6.59 for a 6kg bag so I might just get it from there from now on!
It is time to start stocking up on the wild bird food again in readiness for the colder weather. I have to be honest and say that when the garden is filled with plants that are seeding I tend to leave the bird table empty and let them help themselves to the wonderful collection of free seeds that they can forage. We have quite a collection of feathered visitors and we like to make them welcome, if you stand outside early in the morning their song is spectacular. Like many we have one obstacle to overcome and that is the cats that also love to pay a visit, so the positioning of our bird table is very important. Our local garden centre stocks the Bill Oddie's Really Wild bird food and when you start to feed the birds on a daily basis it can be a bit of an expensive job, a 2kg bag costs me around the £3 mark. But I tend to ration the food because we have some very greedy starlings that will take far more than their fair share. The Bill Oddie Really wild bird food is a good mixture of maize, oatmeal, millet, wheat, sunflower seeds, milo ( a small red seed ) and panicum ( a larger grain much like millet ). The mixture is reasonable colourful and most of the grains are fairly small, this makes the food a very attractive proposition for the finches and tits. On the bag it tells you that the contents offer a well balanced snack that will give the birds all of the nutrition that they need. I suppose some will say that it is an expensive way of feeding wild birds and that years ago we would just take some bread, dip it into some water to soften it and then break it up and place it on the bird table and I can understand that. But if you have regular visitors then it is worth spoiling them a little. Many a time I have rendered some suet and added seeds, nuts and dried fruit and the birds love it but the whole process is time consuming and messy ! If you have a bag of wild bird food to hand then you are always equipped and maybe the home-made fat balls etc. can be made on a day when you have little else to do . If I visit the garden centre and I am feeling flush I will always come back with a small bag of meal worm crumble ( this retails at around £5 1kg ), the blackbirds love the meal worms, if they are nesting then it is a delicacy for them to look forward to. There is a wide range of Bill Oddie bird food, suet pellets, fat balls, Niger seed, suet and mealworm bird cake and another one of my favourites, the Dawn chorus giant fat ball which offers good value at around £1.20p. Feeding the wild birds does have many advantages, you have the pleasure of seeing and hearing them and if you have children who visit it is good to be able to point out the different species of birds to them. So if you have the time just spare a thought for the wild birds, especially between the end of October until early April when they struggle to find their own food sources. The black sunflower seeds are really good for the wild birds, they are rich in essential oils although the leftover husks can be a bit of a nuisance to clear up afterwards. If you have a bird table then always be aware that it needs cleaning regularly, bird droppings harbour all manner of disease. If you or anyone else has touched the bird table then make sure that you give your hands a good scrub afterwards. But apart from that just put the wild bird food onto the table and enjoy watching the flock that will visit. If you visit the local garden centre then take a look at the Bill Oddie products for yourself.
My children have always loved seeing birds in the garden and following our recent move to a house with a bigger garden, they have become a little more pro-active in their attempts to encourage different species. I must confess, I don't really know a great deal about birds and their year round nutritional requirements, so whilst shopping I was delighted to find a bag of Bill Oddie's Really Wild Bird Food, labelled as a good general mix ideal all year round. Perfect. That took the guesswork out of buying the right food for the right season. Best of all the 800g bag only cost £1 (in Poundland - where else?). Approved by the Birdcare Standards Association, the bag contains a blend of English wheat, yellow millet, black and striped sunflower seeds perfectly balanced with milo, pancium, pinhead oatmeal and flaked and cut maize. The 100% natural ingredients contain all the nutrition birds need, with no cheap fillers like split peas or coloured dog biscuit which some bird foods contain. The heat sealed thick plastic bag containing the food is quite difficult to open, and you run the risk of exploding seed everywhere if you try to pull it apart at the seam. I recommend just snipping off the corner using scissors and pouring the seed into a resealable container. Visually, the food appears to be of good quality, containing a variety of discreetly different seed types of varying sizes, making it ideal for both large birds and birds with small beaks. It is suitable for tube feeders, bird tables and for ground feeding birds. My children filled a tube feeder and scattered some on the bird table in the hope of attracting birds other than the greedy pigeons which were regular visitors for the daily offering of bread and bits of toast. Surprisingly, several new species (well new to our garden anyway!) were drawn to the food. In addition to pigeons we now regularly attract house sparrows, great tits, blue tits, robins, blackbirds, thrushes and goldfinches. I must admit, I am only able to name these birds because the kids took photos of them and identified them using the RSPB website. It is good to see these birds as regular visitors to our garden and it is particularly rewarding to watch different species sharing the same feeding station - living proof that the food does cater for all tastes and requirements. Bill Oddie's Really Wild Bird Food is a good quality product that definitely keeps the birds coming back for more.
Garden birds fascinate me, and I have said before in other reviews it took a serious illness to make me stop and spend the time looking, rather than always rushing from A to B to appreciate them. I have made my garden over the years into a wildlife haven; the boundaries are marked by mature Morello cherry trees, which share their crimson fruit with myself and the eager beaks of hungry blackbirds. I have lilac trees in which baby birds can hide from predators, while sitting in the shelter of the foliage waiting for mum to bring home their latest treat. I have a nest box for baby great tits which I have placed on a sturdy trunk in full view of my lounge window, and every spring sees the return of the parents building their nest and raising their young. This year I witnessed and photographed 4 fledglings, as they took their fist precarious flight out of the protection of their soft, pale, apple green, down lined nest, into the world of challenges and dangers. All truly amazing. It is, however, also necessary to have a constant source of food available if you want to encourage birds into your garden, as this means they have something to visit you for. Sad but true, as they are battling for survival, especially now as so many gardens are paved over for ease of maintenance, in fact most of my neighbours have done this, and they do not get the numbers we do, or the frequency. Birds are also losing their numbers as farming becomes more intensive, and there is a consequential loss of natural habitats like woodland and hedges, where of course they need hidey holes to nest in safety. On a lighter note my three indoor Persian cats really adore the bird telly this creates, and they spend hours perched on stools watching this outside garden party. I have a bird table. It wasn't dear; in fact I picked it up for £5 at a local boot sale. It has a nice sloped roof to keep the food dry, and I also have a bird feeder for nuts and so on in other trees, which I use more in the winter. Billy Oddie has an abundant selection of bird food which you can purchase, and the great thing is it is cheaply available in Poundland. Other stores and garden centres will charge £4.95 for this high quality food. I buy many different ones, as he makes several, but the most useful is the Really Wild Bird Food. The great thing about this food is the abundance of ingredients, which makes it really suitable for many varieties of birds who visit the table. The brightly coloured packet with a photo of a very happy Bill with his binoculars adorns the front, and the lime green and purple splodges of colour help to make this stand out on the shelf. I particularly love the trouble Bill has gone to to provide pictures on the side of the packet of the most common birds who love this food so you can identify them. It contains amongst other things English wheat, millet, and black and striped sunflower seeds, and in my experience as soon as you put out the sunflower seeds you will see all kinds of finches, as this is their favourite nibble. We have the most beautiful greenfinches which come regularly to feed and bullfinches too. The black seeds are full of oil which is really good for them. The food also contains milo, and pinhead oatmeal, flaked and cut maize and Bill claims that the food only contains ingredients which humans could eat (but shouldn't). Bill also insists that cheaper foods are padded out with barley, split peas, beans, dried rice or lentils, and even pieces of dog biscuit, and none of these are suitable for wild birds, and will often lie underneath bird tables uneaten, which of course can be a health hazard attracting vermin. You really are looking to make sure all the food is eaten daily and not wasted or let to rot. The food itself is actually made by a firm called Haiths who have been making bird accessories since 1934 and you can visit their website at www.haiths.com. This website has a wealth of information about birds and how to safely feed them. The food is made by Haiths under the name Bird Food Recipes Ltd, which trades through sales in garden centres, thus giving the Haith's original food the ability to remain online as the main medium of sales, allowing bird lovers to choose and remain totally loyal to Haith's own original food if they choose to. Over half of the UK population actually feed garden birds which is an amazing fact. Encouraged in schools and on programmes like Blue Peter, I remember the snowy days when I would sit in and watch Blue Peter as a child, and watch the robin coming to the bird table in the winter garden. The main thing to remember is that whole nuts are for winter feeding only, and this food does not contain them. This is important as the young fledglings can choke on them. Nuts in the winter time are loved by great tits and other tits, but it is really important to buy from a reputable dealer as they can carry a toxin called aflatoxin which can kill them. The best thing about this food is the little chunks which are perfect for birds that have little beaks, such as the great tits and their babies, who are now in my garden with their family of 6! I think this food is brilliant value for money, and what is more it has allowed us to enjoy and witness a most amazing journey from birth to maturity of some of the most beautiful British birds. There isn't a day which goes past when I don't stop and watch a mother feeding little pieces of this food to their offspring, who sit and wait in the trees, and before too long the same young fledgling returns to feed themselves. If you find you want to encourage certain birds you like, Bill also does bags which are more suitable to certain species. For example mealworms are loved by Robins, sunflower seeds by finches and so on. He even does a food specially for young birds called spring/summer mix. Poundland have all these in stock. Storing the food after opening in a dark cool place such as the garage is perfect and don't keep for more than 6 months, three is better. With the ever increasing problems birds are facing I have enjoyed helping them on their journey to ensure survival. I know gardens like mine look cottagey and they don't conform to anything which could be described as neat and orderly. However the joy it gives me to see these birds each year surviving and flourishing makes me even more determined not to pave it over and trim it into formality. It's only a small space but it's cluttered with birds, and thanks to Bill Oddie they are dining in style! www.billoddiesbirdfoodrecipes.co.uk
A varied assortment of seeds.