Are Fatballs Safe for Birds? Yes and no - petsitterbank

Are Fatballs Safe for Birds? Yes and no

A Hinckley resident has spoken of his fears that a commonly used type of bird seed could result in the deaths of many small birds.

Jim Andrews contacted LeicestershireLive to express his concern about fatballs – bundles of seeds, nuts and hard tallow fat – which are often laid out in feeders. The high-energy food source attracts many wild birds, including starlings, robins and tits.

Experts told LeicestershireLive that while the food guy is safe, he has concerns about the nets that often contain the balls.

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Mr Andrews said he feared the balls could be harmful to a bird’s digestion by affecting its ability to absorb nutrients.

“In my opinion, fatballs are responsible for many of our small birds dying in the winter and early spring,” he said.

“The problem is gaining momentum year after year. Huge amounts of fat enter the birds’ food chain.

“You might be wondering, does it matter if the birds eat fat? I would say a small amount every now and then doesn’t matter, large amounts will end up killing, sorry to say that.”

LeicestershireLive contacted the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) about its concerns, and the group said the nutrients found in the fat balls were healthy and part of the varied diet wild birds needed.

However, there was a word of warning about using fat balls.

A spokesman said: “We encourage people not to hang fat balls in nets as bird feet can get caught in the nets.”

They also warned against laying out food that contains cooking fats, as these can get into the birds’ feathers and damage them. Hard fats such as lard or tallow are better suited, it said.

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