Monday, November 7, 2011

Feeding the Birds

Cute Chickadee Bird, Nature, Wildlife photosculpture

My husband and I agreed that it was time to stop feeding the birds.  I've seen numerous posts on the internet about the increasing cost of bird food. Without expensive seed like Niger, I was mostly feeding sparrows and chickadees, magpies and a few quail and in spring, a duck family.
Cute Curious Duck, Farm Bird, Garden photosculpture

So last spring, I decided to quit at a time when they could find their own but they never went away.  They sat out in the hedge calling and cheeping. What could I do? I had some cereal no one wanted to eat, one of those healthy ones that tastes like bird food.  They loved it.  Then I had some stale wholegrain bread and healthy muffins with peanut butter, a little bit of oatmeal, stale raisin bran, 9 grain cereal.  The magpies came by so I added fat scraps from the ham and leftovers.  Nothing like seeing a magpie try to balance on a line with half a muffin in his beak or a couple strings of spaghetti.

Curious Magpie, Looking at you, Humor Bird photosculpture
As cold weather arrived, I realized the birds weren't going anywhere so I went to the farm supply and asked what the cheapest edible food they had.  The cashier laughed and said chick scratch.  She said a lot of people feeding birds were switching since it was cheaper.  It's a mixture of chopped corn and wheat, half the price of sunflower seed and with absolutely no waste.

I've been feeding it for two months now and I think I have every sparrow in the neighborhood including a few song sparrows.  The flock of California quail has tripled and I don't think they'd leave the yard except for the neighborhood cat.  The magpie family is up to 8 or 9 now and they call if I forget to put it out or sleep in.
Cute Chickadee and Snowman, Christmas Winter Birds photosculpture

The good news is I've cut down my cost of feeding the birds to about half and am recycling leftovers too


  1. Maybe you should have just stuck with the left-overs!

  2. A great way to keep the birds happy and save a little money at the same time. I wonder if humans can eat chick scratch? Just a thought :-)

  3. Glad your feathered flock is still getting handouts! I hadn't thought of using Chicken scratch. Great Idea!

  4. Interesting. I'll have to see if they have that here at our local mill. The stuff I've been buying has gotten pretty expensive

  5. I'm glad you're still able to feed the birds while making it cheaper. And having birds around is always so much fun.

  6. Sounds like a great idea.

    I put food out for the birds everyday
    but the dog Charlie is somehow always
    able to get to the feeder before the poor birds!

    Your pictures are great.

  7. Oh dear, I commented and now it has gone..

  8. i use hen scratch too for the ducks and turtles here.

  9. I'm glad you found a way to continue without breaking the bank!

    I leave all my fallen apples on the ground (they don't taste particularly nice!) and the blackbirds love them though last year they didn't appear until it snowed and then they ferreted them out from under the snow! I don't know why, but they don't seem to like the pears - of which there are far more!

  10. Thats something I never heard about. It sound like a great idea - have to see if I can find it around here. The winte birds will be here soon. ATB!

  11. Oh my. I was going to say "You're killing 2 birds with one stone" here...but I guess it wouldn't be a good saying to use in this situation;)
    My kiddos used to buy the bird feed but stopped when their income wouldn't allow them to support the increase in bird feed prices. Healthy scraps are a GOOD idea:)

  12. Abe thinks only sunflower chips are good enough for his birds, but today we bought a 50 pound bag and it cost us almost %59.00. They go through it very quickly in the winter, he feeds them all summer, just not as often as winter time. And we sometimes get a crafty squirrel that can figure out how to get under the lid that's suppose to keep the squirrels out and they either eat it all or knock it down and then it's a free for all. You would think Abe thinks we're the only ones that feed them, I've tried telling him, let them eat bugs and things in warmer weather, but he doesn't listen, so I've given up. When it gets so bad it's the birds or us eating, then perhaps he'll understand. LOL Have a great week-end. Rather cool here.

  13. Hi Carole, I read this post too late after buying more bird seed and some sunflower seeds today. There is a livestock supply place not too far from our home and the next time, I'm going to see if have chicken scratch and try it. I agree feeding the birds is great, but getting more costly. Please email your name and address to me and I can send you a holiday greeting. Glad you enjoy sending and getting them too!

  14. I love feeding birds too, even if the cost has gone up. I notice birds do let you know if they want fed, all the birds I fed did that too.


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