can birds eat fat soaked oats

Knowing what not to feed wild birds will ensure they stay happy and healthy while visiting your backyard

Witnessing a familiar bird visit your backyard is one of lifes little joys – so it is only natural to encourage these creatures to return by leaving tempting treats around our outdoor spaces. However, according to BBC Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams, some popular bird foods are actually causing more harm than good.

With brighter days provoking more time in our gardens, the Welsh wildlife expert urges us to consider our bird food more carefully in a bid to promote biodiversity on our doorsteps and take care of our feathered friends.

Working alongside the British-based homes and garden retailer Homebase, Iolo Williams suggests undertaking small changes in our outdoor spaces so that, collectively, we can make a big impact and create a home for all creatures, big and small. As avid-bird lovers, were taking notes on everything he has to say about feeding birds in winter and more.

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What not to feed wild birds (Image credit: Future / Allan Pollok-Morris)

Iolos’ advice to never feed a bird bread is perhaps the most crucial yet unexpected of his suggestions. Bird feeding can be very harmful. Iolo declares that it can fill a bird’s stomach and provides very little nutrition.

Iolo goes on to say that milk is just as bad and can make garden birds sick and have diarrhea. Rather, he advises leaving some water, which is crucial for the birds and other wildlife just as much as food.

See: Eco-friendly garden ideas: professional advice for designing a sustainable backyard

What can birds eat? (Image credit: Photo by Rotem Vazan on Unsplash)

Rather, the specialist advises leaving a range of high-energy foods like sunflower hearts, peanuts, mixed seeds, and fat balls.


Can birds eat oats with grease?

Birds love energy-rich fat balls, which give them all the calories they need to get through cold winter days and nights. You can buy them in the shops but they’re easy to make at home. Simply mix kitchen scraps such as cheese, cake crumbs and dry porridge oats with melted lard or suet, and set in the fridge overnight.

Can birds eat soaked oats?

Birds can eat porridge oats provided they aren’t cooked, as doing so can be dangerous as it may lead to the food caking-up and drying around the beak of a bird. Are porridge oats good for wild birds? Porridge oats are good for birds, but it’s arguably better to feed them rolled naked oats – which will also cost less.

Can you feed oats and fat to birds?

You can scatter oats on the ground, on your bird table or put them in a feeder, just as you would with any other granular bird food. Mix with seed. Bird food mixes often come with grains added in, and there is no reason you shouldn’t mix some oats in with your seed mix. Make fat balls.

Is it OK to feed fat to birds?

The fact is fats can get on birds’ feathers and harm their ability to stay dry and warm. This lack of weatherproofing and impairment in insulation is deadly in the winter, but also the summer.