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If I happen to be outside or in the garden or whatever then I do enjoy watching the birds. I'm more of a 'aww they're cute' kind of bird fan rather than a 'real' bird fan, although I can name a few birds. One thing I enjoy doing is watching them on the bird feeders in my garden. One type of bird food I have been using for some time are these RSPB Suet Balls. They are available in packs of 6, 12, buckets and even a large box of 150 balls. In the summer I tend to buy the smaller packs, but in the winter I usually buy a large box of 150 balls to help the little birdies out when there isn't that much food around. Being balls, the balls are obviously round. They are a creamy colour and contain: sunflower seeds, cereal and a premium grade suet. They have a 'fatty' scent, although strangely I kind of like the smell of them (oooh if only I was a bird...haha). Whilst they have a crumbly texture, the balls don't actually 'crumble' away in your hand which is good. They are quite greasy to the touch (although they are fat balls, so I guess that it is a fairly obvious) and so I always feel like I have to wash my hands after touching them. They are quite 'hard' - I'm sure if you smacked one hard on the floor it wouldn't break that easily and so I would say that they are quite solid. Although the birds don't seem to have any problem pecking away at them. I tend to put them in a 'fat ball feeder'; you can fit around 6 of these balls in one of these standard sized feeders. Even though I don't really get that many birds in my garden; this feeder is always more crowded than the other feeders and so if I see the birds fighting over the feeder then I may put a ball on the ground or on one of the 'mesh' feeder dishes I have. They go mad for them. I find that in the winter they can go a bit harder than usual in the cold and in the summer they tend to melt a little if it's hot; the birds do seem more keen for them in the summer when they are a bit softer. I find that the birds loves these fat balls; they really are a treat for them. They are not something I buy every week; I always feed the birds bird food, although when it comes to these fat balls I only buy them now and again as a bit of treat. Although I have to say I do buy them fairly frequently in the winter in order to 'keep the birds going' when there isn't that much food about. I find that these fat balls are enjoyed mostly by Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Robins (see I told you I knew a few birds!!). I have noticed that the Blue Tits seem to seem to love these fat balls and they go crazy for them. There is an RSPB nature reserve with a shop around half an hour away from where I live and in order to support the charity, I always buy my bird food from here as I know that it is the best of the best and gives the birds the proper nutrition they need. I know that they do seem quite expensive compared to the prices they charge in places such as Wilkinsons, however I have to stress that these RSPB Suet Balls are so much more better quality than cheaper versions. These are the real McCoy and birds love them, whereas the birds haven't exactly loved the cheaper brands I have bought them in the past. I think they are excellent value for money; they're high quality; and the birds know this too. I don't get that many birds in my garden, only the odd one or two and so I find that a pack of six of these fat balls can last me almost a week, and so what is £1.79 for the pleasure of watching these little birds. All in all, I would definitely recommend this RSPB Suet Balls. They are very popular in my garden. Thanks for reading! February 2014 Xd-o-n-z-x
Ever since I was a little girl I have loved feeding the birds in the garden. My dad used to tell me which birds were which and point them out to me when we went out walking in the fields where we lived. He used to make bird boxes for the blue tits and give them to family and friends and there was a family in every box every year! Dad also used to make bird tables for us all to and we used to spend ages watching the birds on ours. We would put out scraps and seed and the table would be full of flapping wings! Now we live here in Llandudno I only have a tiny garden so there's no room for a bird table so I have feeders instead. The ones I use are the cylindrical ones that hang on a hook or in a tree and I have them for seeds, nuts or fat balls. Since I have Mew (the cat) I have to be a bit careful about where I hang the feeders or the birds would be far too clever to even try eating the food in them. I have seen Mew in our neighbour's garden sitting watching their feeders and waiting for birds to come - I don't think he has worked out why they don't come whilst he is there! Bless him! Anyway at the front of the house there is a large established climbing rose and it is strong enough to support the small feeders which hold the fat balls and prickly enough to stop Mew climbing in it or on it! I have purchased fat balls from various places but the ones that I am reviewing here are the ones that I bought from the local RSPB centre at Conwy. The fat balls or suet fat balls to give them their correct name are made by the RSPB suppliers to a unique recipe which uses premium grade suet together with sunflower seeds and cereal. They are available in packs of 6 at a cost of £1.79 (about 30p each) or 12 at a cost of £3.25 (about 27p each). They also do a plastic reusable and recyclable bucket containing 50 balls for a cost of £11.25 (23p each). They do a 50 ball refill pack for £10.25 (about 20p each) as well if you don't want a bucket every time you order. You have to admit that's a right load of balls! All these products are also available online and UK postage costs £3.95 on all orders up to £75 and free delivery on orders over £75. The website address is https://shopping.rspb.org.uk/ The ones that I buy from the garden centre usually cost just £8 for a plastic bucket containing 50 balls so the ones from the RSPB are more expensive. The unusual thing about RSPB suet balls compared to others is that they don't enclose theirs in those little green plastic nets as most others do as the nets can be dangerous to birds and other wildlife as they may get trapped in them. A note on the website tells us that the suet balls are specially formulated for feeding the birds all the year round, but if they are positioned in direct sunlight they will become soft or even melt in very hot weather. These balls can be put in special feeders as I do, placed on a bird table or even placed directly on the floor - if you don't have a cat! LOL! The birds that will be particularly attracted to the suet balls are blackbirds, blackcaps, blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits, house sparrows, robins and starlings although I have also seen pigeons, jackdaws and even magpies on ours! The length of time that the suet balls last depends really on the time of the year. In the summer there is usually plenty of other food around for the birds so the balls last a long while but in the winter when the ground is frozen or covered with snow the birds find these a good alternative source of food and they don't last very long at all! I love to watch the birds fighting over their place hanging onto the grid of the feeders and I do keep mine topped up all the time. There was a funny thing that happened last year though - I did have a lovely sunflower growing in the flower bed beneath the bird feeders which obviously came from a rogue seed that got dropped instead of eaten! In conclusion I would say that these suet balls are very good for keeping the birds happy and healthy but they are a bit more expensive than those that I have bought from the garden centre. Having said that the money is going to help the RSPB charity so I suppose it's a case of swings and roundabouts really. I will have to knock off one star because of the price.