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Long-tailed Tits using fat ball feeder

Fat balls for birds in summer

Well all types of bird food can be left out for birds all year round, often some may have priority over others in regards to protein needed in the summer mounths.

Its perfectly acceptable to feed fat balls for birds in summer months, but know that you should be keeping fat balls out of direct sunlight. During the summer, wild birds need high protein foods, so fat balls suite the bill, so do all you can to keep fat balls in shaded areas only.

As you would imagine, beef suet or lard sitting out in the sun all day long could be quite the melting mess, but don't despair, its not as bad as you'd think.

But remember, cheaper fat balls will go soft and then rot during the hot day, well higher price quality fat balls are usually formulated to be used in the summer.

In fact fat balls for wild birds contain mostly nuts and seeds, well a small quantity of lard is needed to bind it all together.

So when those fat balls in the bird feeder are sitting out in the sun, know that they're made to take direct sunshine as well as rain and cold weather all year round.

RSPB focus their attention on use of homemade fat balls; describing that they will go soft and rancid in summer months.

Home-made fat balls can go soft and rancid in warm summer weather, and should be avoided. Commercially produced fat bars are suitable for summer feeding but discard any remains after three weeks. - RSPB

The dryness of the fat balls will stop it spreading onto the mesh wiring of the bird feeders for fat balls, so come cleaning the bird feeders, there's not much to do.

Regardless, you should do all you can to keep fat balls out of direct sunlight as a precaution, as the rules vary from one brand to the next.

People don't often take notice of how to feed fat balls to birds, but rather just hang up fat balls where there's a suitable spot.

And well in some cases this is perfectly fine, others its not as the fat balls rot with bacteria germinating on the outside resulting in making the birds ill.

Where to hang fat balls

Take advice from where to site a bird box as the rules are quite similar, hang fat balls for birds in the summer months in shaded areas.

If your back or front garden is preferred by birds over the other; this could be an issue if the side they like best is in direct sunshine all day long.

So its time to use what you have in your garden as natural cover.

All tree's in the garden can offer a shaded spot well inserting fat balls into hedgerows can be quite shaded.

This also goes for long plantation but it can be sited quite low to the ground, so that's really a no-go from the start.

What about your garden shed; your shed has at least 3 or 2 sides available at worst to use for hanging fat balls in bird feeders, just use the most shaded area.

Fat ball feeders, loose or netting

Great Tit perched on fat ball feeder
Great Tit perched on fat ball bird feeder with balls in a plastic netting used within the feeder, well they would usually be removed before inserting.

There's not a lot of difference how you present wild birds fat balls out in the garden, just as long as its always in a shaded area.


We should say we don't encourage the use of the netting used to hang fat balls up in the garden; as often they're not picked after use so allowed to flow off into the wild.

You will probably have to use the netting if bought in such a way but you can put an end to buying netting fat balls from the start.

Loose in tubes

If buying fat balls use tub of loose balls that lasts for weeks on end. No plastic netting used well they could be used in bird feeders or left out loose on the side.

Stop them from rolling away well the birds can eat from it. The advantage of using loose fat balls around the garden would make it easier to locate in shaded areas.


No need to hang fat balls in bird feeders as you can quite easily leave out fat balls on walls or fencing, or even the patio or decking railing.

It really doesn't matter if you feed wild birds fat balls in the corresponding feeder as the design allows for them to breath in the hot weather.

Whereas a seed feeder kept in a plastic tube would become hot and problematic.


Fat balls can become messy while left out in the sun, so setup in shaded area well replacing the balls if they start to rot.

And that doesn't just apply to summer months,its possible fat balls can rot soon after being left out if they're the cheap kind.

Gardens can offer natural shade with the trees, bushes, sheds and even the house providing cover all day long.

But when you don't get that cover you'll need to be a bit more imaginative such as using the side of the shed to hang fat balls.

Hedgerows are perfect area to hang fat balls in, but if you have a tree available then prioritise this over all else.

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