Feeding Birds in the winter
How to Feed Your Garden Visitors in the Winter
Just because it's winter and you're tucked up nice and warm in your home doesn't mean there aren't going to be visitors to your garden. In fact, with you staying inside most of the time there might actually be more than in the summer. So what can you do for those wild creatures that are taking a wander round your garden? Let's share some tips to keep them fed, warm and watered.
Top Tips to Help You Care for Your Garden Visitors
If you think your garden is bereft of visitors there are a few things you can do to bring them in. Winter time is a time when food is a little thin on the ground so a great way to bring in the wildlife is to put out small amounts of their favourite treats. Be careful not to put out too much as you'll soon have visitors you'd rather not have. Rats, for example. So what are favourite treats? Foxes like cheese, bread, fat scraps, boiled potatoes and chicken bones. These are best put out at dusk. Squirrels, of course it's got to be nuts and they also like small chunks of apple, carrots, spinach or beans. Badgers can be helped with meat that's been lightly cooked, fruit, peanuts and cheese. That's the food taken care of. So what else is there you can do?
Supply of Fresh Water
clean water will encourage in hedgehogs as well as other wild animals. If you're thinking about putting milk out for the hedgehogs don't because it can upset the stomachs of young hedgehogs. Water is a much better option. If you've got a pond, break the ice to prevent toxic gases building up in the water. And use a hot pan on the surface to melt a section of the ice rather than pouring in boiling water.
Feed the Birds
birds find it very difficult to feed themselves with natural foods during the winter. There aren't a lot of berries, worms, fruit, seeds and insects around when temperatures drop. Providing them with extra food will be a great help You can buy specialist foods such as dried mealworms or waxworms. But you can also feed them table scraps, such as apples, pears and cheese. Also put out a range of different seeds and fresh unsalted peanuts. These and many more items to feed garden animals are available from Pets at Home
Don't worry too much about clearing up
it will be a good idea to leave some areas of your garden unattended. Undisturbed piles of leaves or brushwood are the perfect environment for animals to hide and take a rest. You might even find you've got your own hibernators. Leaving the tidying of your borders and shrubs until spring will also provide shelter for the insects until the weather warms up. A compost heap is a warm spot that can be used by toads, slow-worms and possibly even grass snakes.
One final tip
One final tip is to not leave out too much food every evening. As well as encouraging unwanted visitors it will also make your visitors dependant on your handouts. This isn't the reason for feeding wild animals. It should be to supplement the natural food they can find.