Reducing food waste, what's good and what's not?

Discussion in 'Wildlife Corner' started by Selleri, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. Selleri

    Selleri Super Gardener

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    We have a bird feeding station in our very urban garden visited by sparrows, starlings, tits and the lot but also magpies and rooks.

    The magpies and the rooks are brilliant, they are so intelligent and fun to watch, especially now when the young ones are finding their ways. :)

    We like to give any food scraps to them, things like old cheese, unfinished scrapings from a plate, and even off- shelf life eggs. Yesterday we had some egg left over from brushing over pastry so gave a 30s in a microwave and plopped the mess on the table- much appreciated by the rooks.

    But what is the limit of encouraging pests vs. feeding desired animals and reducing human food waste? The rooks are fun, but I'm not entirely convinced they are not pests who might create problems if encouraged.

    And another question, what do you put on your bird feeding place aside of the commercial food?
     
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    • Redwing

      Redwing Wild Gardener

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      Like like you I welcome all birds to my garden, which is in the country. I feed a range of bought food, spending far too much money. The corvids I don’t always welcome because they eat too much, but I find it’s only when it’s really cold that they come and I don’t begrudge them then. Rooks come only when the young have just fledged. There is a rookery whin sight and I love watching them. Jackdaws and Magpies can be a nuisance at times and I have been known to discourage them as they scoff everything given a chance and the small birds don’t get much.

      As regards food scraps, pretty much everything except vegetables is on the menu, old bread, chopped up cooked pasta, cooked rice, old cake and biscuits, bacon rind, old cheese.... pretty much whatever there is. When it’s really cold I add raisins, chopped apples and oats.
       
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      • Logan

        Logan Total Gardener

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        I only use the commercial foods, I don't put out scraps, mostly because i don't have any and being semi rural i don't want to attract the rats.
         
      • Fat Controller

        Fat Controller Cuddly 'NEW SHED' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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        I have to admit that we use a lot of the commercial foods too, mainly because there are a lot of foxes around here and the only way to not have them making a mess in the garden is to be very careful what you do put out for the birds. We try and stick to the good quality mixed seeds and dried blood worms, as well as buying peanut kernels in bulk which are probably the most popular thing on the wildlife menu, not least as we have a lot of squirrels and parakeets visit the garden. We do also put out fruit for them, and Mrs C makes fat balls in the winter to keep them going.

        Sadly, the layout of the gardens around here means that we never see a hedgehog - haven't seen one in years even in the surrounding area, which is a real shame.
         
      • shiney

        shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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        We use commercial food in tubular feeders (about 20kg a month) and also throw out scraps for the birds. We don't throw out anything that won't be taken by the birds and they always go out first thing in the morning. This is so the birds get them and not scavenging rats or foxes.

        The scraps are only things such as fat from the meat and bones etc. Veggie scrap goes on the compost.

        Our birdlife exists in harmony so we don't mind crows etc. We have three crows that have been daily visitors for about 14 years. They only eat from the ground so tidy up dropped seed and remove all bones (I've seen a crow take a whole leg of lamb bone in it's beak). We do throw out things such as burnt toast - which the crows seem to love

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        Pheasants will eat from the feeders as well as from the ground

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        The cat that adopted us years ago used to help look after the birds and wouldn't allow any arguments amongst them. The birds got used to him and were not the least bit bothered by him.
         
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        • Logan

          Logan Total Gardener

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          We've got our hedgehog station close to the patio doors so that we can see them, they don't bother that we're looking at them, even with the light on, but we do have a lot of blueberry plants in pots on the patio and the feeding station is in between them.
          20191110_124322.jpg We didn't think that they were visiting until i put it out.
           
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          • Fat Controller

            Fat Controller Cuddly 'NEW SHED' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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            That is a great idea @Logan - to they hide inside that upturned container?
             
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            • Logan

              Logan Total Gardener

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              No it's a feeding station to keep the food dry, the 2 bricks are about 5inc away from the opening to stop cats getting in to eat the food. Thinking of putting another one out in the spring just in case they have some babies.
               
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