Do fat balls go out of date?
QI have recently started to put out fat balls again after a summer break but none of my garden birds will touch them, not even the Starlings. Is it possible they have gone off? They were bought in the spring in a bulk tub and have been stored in the tub in my shed. I was not aware that they had a best before date. Richard Marsh
AFat balls do have a best before date, although it’s usually pretty far in the future – depending on how they were stored, though, they could have gone off. It’s been a generally mild winter, though, so birds might be less in need of the fat than they would be otherwise. It’s also possible that they’re currently finding another good food source somewhere nearby (probably someone else’s garden feeders!). Birds can also be picky about what they eat, and when. During last year’s Create Your Garden Patch From Scratch series in Bird Watching, it was noticeable that the birds in editor Matt Merritt’s garden (including Starlings) took seed and suet pellets constantly throughout the year, but would leave the fat balls alone for weeks at a time.