Homemade Bird fat balls

Bird Feeding

Sunflower seeds are a very good high energy food source for British birds. They are easy to digest and include essential oils and proteins to help keep birds’ feathers, skin and beaks happy and healthy.

Sunflower heads can be left on the plants for the birds to enjoy the seeds at their own leisure, or the heads can be covered and dried and then shook out.

The simplest way to do this is to cover the sunflower head with a paper bag, securing it to the stem with twine. Allow the flower head to continue drying inside the bag for a few weeks. Replace the bag if it gets soggy in the rain! After a few weeks snip the bagged head away from the stem and give it a good bash to dislodge the seeds so they fall into the bag. The seeds can be placed on a bird table, in a bird feeder or added to a homemade fat ball recipe.

Both Echinops and cornflowers will self seed. They both offer brilliant pollen and nectar for pollinators during flowering. Leaving the dead flower heads on both echinops and cornflowers will provide a good source of food for birds in the winter.

To make fat balls suitable for birds:

What you will need

  • Unsalted fat, suet or lard
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Cheese scraps or cake crumbs


  1. Use 1/3 third fat to 2/3 thirds dry mix
  2. Melt the fat, suet or lard. Carefully pour into a bowl with a mixture of sunflower seeds (husks removed) unsalted nuts, dried fruit, cheese or cake crumb and stir well.
  3. Pour into an empty coconut shell, plastic tuppaware or food tray. Leave to cool and place