How to Make Birdseed Balls
Surprise your friends on New Years Day with a homemade birdseed ball. Not only will you have a great time making them, but your friends will enjoy watching all the birds your gift attracts to their yard. These little gifts are simple to make. They also help keep the birds in your area healthy during the winter when food sources become scarce.
The first step in creating a birdseed ball is finding the right kind of seed. It is important to determine which types of seed are appropriate for the birds in your area. Some kinds of birds only eat certain types of seed, so make sure you get the right seed mixture. You can find out which types of seed are appropriate by looking up information about the birds you see most often in your yard or by visiting your local feed store.
For a single large ball, you will need:
A length of string or wire
2 cups of assorted birdseed
1/2 cup lard
1/4 cup suet or peanut butter
Take the string or wire and make a loop, then tie the loop to the button. The button will be the center of the ball - a sort of block so that the the bird seed ball will stay together. If you only used a string or wire, the bird seed ball would fall off the string, defeating the purpose of the bird seed ball. Buttons aren't the only way to hold the ball together; you could also use a w-shaped piece of wire, or anything that the birdseed mixture will hold on to. Make sure the string or wire is long enough so that when you add the seed mixture around the button, the loop still sticks out. The loop is needed to hang the ball from a tree or porch.
Once you have the loop ready for the ball, you can start making the seed mixture. Heat the lard and suet until they are liquid, but not boiling. If the lard and suet are cold, you will not be able to mix them with the seed. Once the lard is mixable, add the seed and peanut butter. Allow the mixture to cool enough so that you can handle it. Start forming the ball around your button and loop. Press the mixture onto the button, until you have a ball about 3 inches in diameter. Chill the ball in your freezer or outdoors (if your area is cold enough) for about 2 hours. The balls need to be chilled so the lard solidifies; otherwise the ball will fall apart.
Once your ball is made and chilled, it's ready to give away or hang outdoors. Hang it on a tree branch that you can see from inside your house, so you can watch the birds enjoy your creation. Also, if you are a bird lover and a cat lover, try to hang the ball where your cat won't be able to reach the birds. Your birdseed balls will be great gifts to bring lots of enjoyment to your friends and family as they watch all of the birds flock to their yard.