The cost of feeding the birds....

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6,166
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Steve
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#1
I have 3 feeders in the garden:

Sunflower Hearts
Niger Seed
Mealworms

I've got through a 12.5kg sack of sunflower hearts in less than a month. I could do a kg of mealworms a day if I put them out, the Starlings come down in packs and just empty them out. They actually destroyed a feeder designer for smaller birds as they couldn't get to the mealworms, so managed to get it off the feeder and it crashed on the patio.

Although I have a lot of Goldfinches at the moment, they seem to be happy with both niger seed and sunflower hearts. I've just cleaned all the feeders, the patio, and the logs that I also use as feeders. When the sun has dried them all off I'll put some more out, but I bought a new sack of sunflower hearts and a big bag of niger seed today. I'm "managing" the amount of mealworms as nothing gets a look in once the Starlings arrive.

Not cheap this birds in your garden lark!!
 
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1,234
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Tony
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#2
Tell me about it.
We gave up with mealworms as we could not keep up with the demand from starlings.
We now buy cheap suet and seed balls from Tesco. The starlings don't care for them much but the sparrows and other short billed birds seem quite happy.
 
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Darran, Daz or ****
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#3
When I fill up the seeds feeders first thing in the morning by mid afternoon the starlings scoff the lot. I've also given up with mealworms as well.
I get a lot of sparrows and they don't get a look in.
I've been trying source some feeders that are too big for the starlings but not found any yet.
The same happens with fatballs and suet blocks.
 
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Dale.
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#4
One thing I've noticed at my hide, the likes of starlings and house sparrows tend not to visit my feeders most of the year, it's only around these current couple of months. Later on, it will be back to goldfinches, siskins, redpolls the odd GSW and even sparrowhawk. Obviously, the sparrowhawk isn't after the sunflower hearts. ;)

I change my feeding routine a little bit this time of year and when the sparrows et al come in, I use cheaper seeds, a more general mix and it comes in at about £5 for 12.5kg. I still put out a full feeder of hearts too but only once a day and this keeps the goldfinches etc interested but they don't visit just now like they do over the rest of the year, they're busy away sitting on eggs, feeding young etc. and whilst this happens, the sparrows etc eat most of the sunflower hearts. My main 2 feeds for most of the year are sunflower hearts and niger seed, with some peanuts, rarely mealworms, they last minutes and I bring the general mix into the equation during the nesting period. This may not work for everybody but I find it gives a good balance when the finch type birds are away. I rarely use my hide this time of year as it's mainly sparrows that come in.

I find for some reason, peanuts last forever. I only use the finer mesh feeders that the birds have to break up the nuts to eat or take away to the nest as this reduces the risk of choking young birds.

Home Bargains, B+M and The Range sell a good variety and not scarily expensive. Home bargains are currently selling 12.5kg of hearts for £12 or so, I forget the exact figure.
 
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Jelster
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6,166
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Steve
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#5
We have Goldies all year round, and at the moment, we also have young ones as they have striped backs and their head colours aren't all there yet. The rest of the birds are Robins, Blue & Great Tits, a few but not many Sparrows, too many Pigeons & Collard Doves, plus the Starlings and Magpies. We have an occasional Greenfinch, and we always have Red Kites above the garden (have never put anything out for them). We have Blackbirds in the garden but never seen them on the feeders.
 
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4,133
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Dave
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#6
We used only sunflower hearts and a few peanuts. I could be wrong but in the long run I think sunflower hearts are the most economical. They are more expensive than mixed seeds but the birds throw about half of that away; with sunflower hearts just about everything gets eaten.

However, I agree it is still not cheap. We have quite a few house sparrows, blue tits and great tits but loads of goldfinches and they can empty the feeders very quickly.

For the last few weeks we have also fed live mealworms and they disappear VERY quickly and when the the normally very wary magpies are come down, the mealworms really disappear.

The birds will also take peanuts now and again but most of the peanuts are eaten by the squirrels - I can stop them getting to the feeder but this also stops the ring necked parakeets, so the squirrels eat most of the peanuts and do their best to destroy the feeder.

Still it is a delight to watch the garden birds and we now have two robins that take mealworms from the hand.
Dave
 
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Andy
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#7
I must count myself lucky! I only bought a simple bird feeder and filled it with fat balls around 4 weeks ago, the local birds take around 2 weeks to empty it. Maybe I need to branch out into some mixed seeds too to get some more in. The main ones we see are blackbirds and a mix of blue tits and great tits, my daughter absolutely loves seeing them all having their breakfast, dinner and tea respective of time of day :LOL:
 
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Stu
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#8
Costs can be huge Steve the time that worrys me is when it's harsh mid winter and the flock that thinks this place is home is sorting 20kg of hearts in no time. I've been fortunate to be able to cope these last two winters,but know in the past I couldn't have financially. It bothers me that time might come again.

We feed peanuts SF hearts a cheep mix fatballs thank god never got into mealworms. niger I think that#s about it. Hmm starling are greedy but the magpies crows jackies and the odd squiggle are playing hell with us right now

I try and not think cost in all this Steve, rather focus on the joy of it all. The trouble is one has no control on what comes and in what numbers . i'm sure there are times here when the bird food bill would be bigger than our own food bill, which is slightly disconcerting.;)

Can't complain though one legged BB (black Bird) is at it carrying food to his kids,not from the feeders but from under them ,my lady had her(well one of) pet robiins taken while she was feeding it by a musket properly harsh but it's nature,,dad GSW got killed on our road (when it was closed????:() but another dad turns up with two kids and mum. My efforts at a woodpecker feeder( for images) have resulted in a baby great tit tree :LOL::LOL::LOL: and that's just the last few days.

I guess we get value for our money Steve:) having the time to make the most of it all is another thing !!

stu
 
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#9
The bargain store B and M are currently selling mixed seed 12.5 kg bags for £3.99 they have same size bags of hearts and nuts but I cannot remember the price.

I go through about 3 bags of 12.5kg bags a month mainly due to pigeons and the ducklings waddling in the garden

Feed the birds of prey kestrels etc day old chicks from my supply from my own owls

In the field I just use road kill for the buzzards

Alll money well spent and Mr Sparrowhawk Agrees.
 
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3,814
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Laurence
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#10
I'm very interested to see the prices of sunflower hearts quoted on here, very competitive, I'm ashamed to to tell what I've been paying.
We've been having trouble locally with rats and I've noticed them in the squirrel proof feeders most nights. After reading online about this I've started putting a little cayenne pepper in the feed.
Apparently the birds have no receptor for this and it is harmless to the birds. The last sighting I had of a rat was last week, scaled the feeder pole had a sniff and inched it's way down, not been seen at night either.

Had to dispense with the fat balls though, impossible to doctor.
 
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3,590
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Dave
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#11
The bargain store B and M are currently selling mixed seed 12.5 kg bags for £3.99 they have same size bags of hearts and nuts but I cannot remember the price.

I go through about 3 bags of 12.5kg bags a month mainly due to pigeons and the ducklings waddling in the garden

Feed the birds of prey kestrels etc day old chicks from my supply from my own owls

In the field I just use road kill for the buzzards

Alll money well spent and Mr Sparrowhawk Agrees.
I just had 12.5kg of sunflower hearts from B&M, it was £12.99 I believe. They also do 400g of mealworm for a fiver, the only place cheaper I have found for those is Wilkinsons.
 
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4,133
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Dave
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#12
The bargain store B and M are currently selling mixed seed 12.5 kg bags for £3.99 they have same size bags of hearts and nuts but I cannot remember the price.

I go through about 3 bags of 12.5kg bags a month mainly due to pigeons and the ducklings waddling in the garden

Feed the birds of prey kestrels etc day old chicks from my supply from my own owls

In the field I just use road kill for the buzzards

Alll money well spent and Mr Sparrowhawk Agrees.

I just had 12.5kg of sunflower hearts from B&M, it was £12.99 I believe. They also do 400g of mealworm for a fiver, the only place cheaper I have found for those is Wilkinsons.

Thanks for the info about B&M. This is a lot cheaper than what I pay; must have a look.

Dave
 
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Jim
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#14
Costco is the place for bird seed and peanuts
 
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#15
I put what I can only describe as a suet Swiss roll out on Wednesday. It was ignored for a day. The next day, I watched a crowd of 8-14 birds at a time on it and it was gone within a day. The last visitor (a young blackbird) appeared to kick it off its hook in a rage. Think it was from wilkos.
 
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Jeff
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#17
I put what I can only describe as a suet Swiss roll out on Wednesday. It was ignored for a day. The next day, I watched a crowd of 8-14 birds at a time on it and it was gone within a day. The last visitor (a young blackbird) appeared to kick it off its hook in a rage. Think it was from wilkos.
I bought one of these for 99p from b&m tues afternoon by thurs morning it had been totally demolished by around 200+ starlings . Plus I got a right bollocking from the wife as the squabbling over it had woken her up . Not something to have to deal with in the mornings
 
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