Shelf life of grease balls for birds

Does anyone know how long you can keep grease balls for? I have just found a plastic box full from last year that I hadn't used. Are they any good to feed the birds?

By the way, I take the netting off and put them into a hanging container, in case anyone is worried about birds getting their feet caught.

Dordogne and Norfolk


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 52,168

    I'd put them out and see if the birds are interested in them - if not get them in and replace with fresh. Some birds are fussier than others image

    Last edited: 03 December 2016 13:34:32

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 14,118


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 720

    I got carried away with a bulk order last year and ordered far more than I usually do which meant I was still using them more than a year later. The birds seemed absolutely fine with them!

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,260

    Thank you. I've put them out, seen 1 blue tit so far, but last year it took a few days of suspicion first!

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 23,012

    My birds seem to be very fussy (or the fat balls could be rubbish) but they avoid them completely and eventually I have to consign the blackened horrors to the bin.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 720

    I changed suppliers because the people I first used stopped supplying to individual customers. The original ones were only eaten reluctantly by the birds when everything else had run out but the new ones are always the first thing to go so I think there are big differences between different suppliers.

  • Guernsey Donkey2Guernsey Donkey2 Posts: 5,482

    A couple of years ago we had three batches of these fat balls that had mould on them - so returned them to the shop - goodness knows how old they were.

    I have decided not to buy them any more because the rain causes the fat balls to disintegrate when they are hanging in their special fat ball feeder.  We used to hang them on the branch of a willow tree, but they disintegrated even quicker there.i.e. we had to completely refill every couple of weeks or whenever it rained heavily.  Has anyone else noticed this?

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,260

    Refill every couple of weeks GD? Once my birds get used to them they are gone in 2-3 days in winter, 8 of them.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Guernsey Donkey2Guernsey Donkey2 Posts: 5,482

    Busy - our birds don't seem so keen on them here - although when they were hanging from the willow tree there seemed to be more action, but we moved the fat ball feeder so we could watch them from the window, but there wasn't so much to watch after all. At the moment we have blackbirds tucking into the fallen cooking apples on the lawn, but the fat balls didn't seem to attract too much attention here. Pigeons eating bird seed off the table - now that is our busiest station, but that's another story.

  • Muddle-UpMuddle-Up Posts: 13,528

    Odd, isn't it?  Some birds seem to love them, others not.  We buy the big tubs of 50 from 'Pets At Home' which are £5 per tub.  We're on tub number 3, this winter, and everyone loves them!  

    The hedge and tree sparrows, great, blue and coal tits, dunnocks, robins, blackbirds, 2 greater spotted woodpeckers and a magpie.....we put out seed and peanut feeders too, and half-coconut shells but it's the fatballs that are forever needing to be replaced.

    May be the quality that varies from brand to brand?

    Aberdeenshire, NE Scotland 🌞
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