Feeding peanuts in sub-zero temperatures

Discussion in 'Wildlife Corner' started by Sian in Belgium, Feb 8, 2021.

  1. Sian in Belgium

    Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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    A question for those of you who are used to these cold conditions....

    The forecast for Belgium is that we will remain with sub-zero temperatures for the next 5-6 days. Ie, the warmest we will get each day is around -1c, some days we are forecast “highs” of -4c.

    I have been doing my best to feed the birds on this, the first day of such conditions. I have peanut feeders in 4 different trees, fat-feeders in 4 different trees (problems with territorial robins defending feeding areas) seed scattered on the ground, water being defrosted/changed through the day. My problem is that the peanut feeders have frozen solid. We had freezing rain before the snow and cold, so they are big blocks of peanut ice. The tits are struggling to feed on them, although the nuthatches and woodpeckers are coping. I filled a repaired feeder just now, and it was mobbed by the birds, before I’d even closed the door behind me!

    How do you cope with this? I’m thinking of bringing the feeders into the garage overnight to defrost them, so that the nuts can move freely. Good idea? (The early birds will have to wait for me to replace them tomorrow morning...)
     
  2. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    Get up earlier in the mornings.;):biggrin:

    I've noticed the birds were not really active until about an hour after it got light this morning, so 9am was soon enough really I think.
     
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    • noisette47

      noisette47 Total Gardener

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      I soak them in anti-freeze for a couple of days before putting them out....:chicken:
       
    • Black Dog

      Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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      That is not funny @noisette47 . Well maybe a little but I wouldn't recommend doing that if you like birds. Although my grandfather always told us a story from his youth. He soaked grain in whatever spirits he found and fed them to the neighbors chickens for the fun of watching them stumble around like a full crew of sailors leaving a pub after their first leave on land for months.
      End of the story: some of them died, he couldn't sit for days after his neighbour found out and he ate chicken all week long :mute:

      Back to topic:
      I don't think the birds care... Their beaks are strong enough to eat even frozen nuts during winter. It is still a lot easier than looking for other food, so they might as well do a little work before eating.
       
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      • Spruce

        Spruce Glad to be back .....

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        JUST SO EVERYONE KNOWS THAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO THIS
        Naughty noisette
         
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        • Sian in Belgium

          Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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          I agree, @Black Dog , the birds can peck through the frozen nuts..... it’s just that the nuts are now sitting quite a way in from the frame of the feeder, so their little beaks can barely reach them! (Having said that, a family of Pom-poms aka long-tailed tits, have just arrived, and are tucking in - nope, they’ve flown on to the fat-ball feeder).

          I think I will wait until it’s gone dusk - I notice that a lot of the shyer birds feed as the final light goes - then bring in the feeders. Come the morning, I can give them a good shake-down, and refill where necessary, and put them out when I go to do the initial birdbath thaw.


          Doooh - there’s a little female chaffinch who looks so exhausted, she’s just sitting on the bird table, with hardly enough energy to peck at the seeds. Still, a brambling has now flown down, and is eating alongside her, that seems to have perked her up a little.
           
        • Sian in Belgium

          Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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          Update:
          Well, that was more difficult than I expected!

          A number of the feeders were frozen - I could not undo the clips to get them off the trees. They had frozen tight - a bit like our letter-box! Fortunately, they are on extension chains to get them from the branches to a height that I can easily reach for re-filling, so I was able to unloop the extension chains to bring them in....
           
        • noisette47

          noisette47 Total Gardener

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          :uh-oh: I didn't think for a second that anyone would take it seriously.....then again.......silly me :whistle::thud:
           
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          • Sian in Belgium

            Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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            After Trump suggesting people should drink disinfectant, and then A&E reporting cases, you have to wonder.....

            .... but you made me chuckle :heehee::loll:. Thank you!:yay:
             
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            • strongylodon

              strongylodon Old Member

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              Take them out of the feeder and leave them to thaw inside replacing them with fresh peanuts.:smile:
               
            • ARMANDII

              ARMANDII Low Flying Administrator Staff Member

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              Extra strong Blue Pills and specially strengthened Special GC Jacket in the post, Noisette.:thumbsup::heehee:
               
            • noisette47

              noisette47 Total Gardener

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              Awwww...you couldn't spare some of the little pink pills instead, this time, @ARMANDII?:biggrin: As for 'in the post'.....we'll probably all be long gone before they arrive here :roflol:
               
            • ARMANDII

              ARMANDII Low Flying Administrator Staff Member

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              No, we only use the Blue Pills, noisette, as the little pink pills are for those who have taken to drinking Anti-freeze:dunno::heehee: The man who sells the Onions in your area will deliver the Blue Pills and Special Jacket for you.
              [​IMG]
               
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              • noisette47

                noisette47 Total Gardener

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                Wow! That's an improvement on the postlady!:biggrin: His onions are a bit on the small side, though :whistle:
                 
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                • shiney

                  shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                  :heehee:

                  Could they be round shallots? :scratch:
                   
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