Do fat balls go out of date?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

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.

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