Bird Cake Recipe

Bird cake  / fatballs are very good all year round for birds, but especially in the winter.

It’s  easy to buy fatballs but they are easy to make as well.  It just takes a little bit of time.


With this receipe it needs to be –

  • one third fat and

  • two thirds should be the food mixture

Melt some lard.  Then add any or all of the following

  • Oatmeal

  • cheese

  • seeds

  • nuts

  • dried fruit

It very simple you just –

  • Mix fat and food mixture together

  • Put it in a container to set


A bird meal in minutes

When using fat to bind bird food it’s no good using vegetable oil.  It needs to be lard / fat.

I know there are a lot of ways to make fat balls / bird cake.  If you have a recipe let me know


13 thoughts on “Bird Cake Recipe

  1. Owlman

    Do you stick it out as a big cake? My squirrels would each most of it. I made a modified Zick doug which I then hide in woodpecker feeders.

  2. trish Post author

    Hi Owlman, I’ve just looked at your site and it’s great.

    No, I don’t stick many mixes in a big cake. I used to until, like you, squirrels came. Also rooks.

    I put them into small containers. I put some inside the meshed ground feeder. I also put one on the birdtable, if anything else gets it I’ve only lost a small amount of bird food.

    If the squirresl come they come on a morning, so I put some out in the afternoon.

    What is zick dough? Why do you hide it in a woodpecker feeder

    I have some millet which I just cover in melted fat. This is to stop the millet blowing away. I don’t turn it into a fatball. I spoon it out onto the bird table and inside the meshed feeder. It is good for two reasons – the millet does not blow away and it gives the bird some extra fat
    Good to hear from you. Trisha

  3. Oriole

    Hi Trisha,
    a new member here. Can I put Trex into my bird cake as
    I’ m a non meat eater and don’t usually have lard, although I will make an exception for the birds

  4. Trish Post author


    It’s great that you are feeding birds and care enough to ask this question. It must be difficult for you to think about using lard.

    Birds do need fat. They do not need vegetable oil.

    Lard or dripping is good.

    Lard is good for birds in winter. I often melt some lard. When it is melted I pour it over bird food and mix it together. This does not make a fatball – it just gives birds fat coated bird food.

    My daughter is vegetarian and I understand the reasons for being vegetarian.

    I am a meat eater and think that as long as an animal is looked after properly then it is OK to eat meat and use lard or dripping. There are so many hilly / upland parts of Britain that cannot grow any crops, so grazing animals is a good way to feed the Nation.

    Vegetable oil is not any good at all.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Janet Kaiser

    Hi! I would like to add that vegetable fat is not good for feeding birds (i.e. in fat balls) because when the birds preen the vegetaböle oil clogs up their feathers and the fine down loses vital insulating qualities.

    I find the best fat is hard beef suet from around the kidneys, which is easily grated as well as rendered, however it is becoming difficult to source unless you know a good butcher.

  6. Helen

    Vegetable oils that are liquid at room temperature or margarine are not suitable for feeding birds. But vegetable shortening or coconut oil, which are solid at room temperature (specially coconut oil for its high content of saturated fat) are ok. I understand there is no consensus on wether it is best to feed birds animal or vegetable fats (of the kinds I mentioned), and although animal fat is more widely accepted some believe vegetable fats would be more easily digested. So it’s up to you. As a vegan , to me the least harm is to feed birds vegetable based fat balls.And although I am by no means a bird expert or biologist, I don’t think in nature small birds such as Robins would get to eat as much beef tallow or lard.

  7. Trish Post author

    Interesting what you say about vegetable shortening or coconut oil,

    I cannot see that vegetable oil would be more easily digested, but it is very interesting and I look forward to finding out more over the weekend. I though a lot of Birds in the wild peck meat and fat from dead animals.
    Maybe both ways are OK. It will be interesting to find out more Thank you for getting in touch and for giving your knowledge and opinion

  8. Alan

    I visit Tesco’s at about nine o’clock at night and generally find two or three wholemeal uncut loaves cut in price at about 10p each.
    I reduce these to crumbs in the washing up bowl which takes a little while, add an almost equal amount of wild bird seed and mix with a pound of lard.
    After a lot of hand kneading I fashion the mixture into balls for a ball feeder and blocks for a block feeder.
    The birds know me by now because I’m no sooner back in the house than a swarm of starlings descend.
    Smaller birds, tits, robins etc get in too, pigeons and doves grab all that falls to the ground, squirrels defy all attempts to stop them but after all, they have to eat too!
    I love to watch them, even the squirrels and it doesn’t cost a great deal.
    I’ll be stepping up the quantities in the winter of course.

  9. Trish Post author

    Hi Allan, I’m not sure about feeding lentils nd cous cous t birds. If you did feed to the birds then I’m sure lentils would have to be cooked – and I don’t know if they would be nutritional. I have asked around and no one is sure. Birds do eat a varity of food and so maybe it would be best to just feed them things that we know they can eat – cheese, crumbs, bread (maybe soak the bread in water) cut up apple or pear. I’ll let you now if I find anything out.

  10. rach

    HI, Vedg oil is not good for the birds as it clogs their feathers up when they preen and stops their feathers being waterproof – animal fat is the best -sorry you non meat eating folks. Also I put chilli powder in to stop squirrels pinching it all as the birds dont have a sense of taste allegedly – well they eat it with no complaints and the squirrels leave it alone after one nibble!….so it must be true.

  11. Dawn

    Hi. I mix up oatmeal, dried fruit, peanuts, sunflower seeds
    The black ones all pressed together with crunchy peanut butter. Goes down a treat. We have a bit if a problem though!! A pair of blackbirds have begun to guard the food from any other birds, which are chased off immediately. What can I do about this?

  12. Trish Post author

    when you say blackbirds do you mean ordinary blackbirds or the larger ones such as crows and rooks?

    I have never heard of blackbirds chasing off a lot of other birds – they usually share the food in their own way.

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