bird feeding/cleaning and suet advice
For the love of starlings, who are haemorrhaging me money from all corners, I have a major problem feeding them and their chicks this summer. (And all the other birds, welcome or not.)
Currently, I feed them mealworms, suet pellets and sultanas throughout the day in a dish, and hang up about a 1kg suet for them in suet feeders. Before I fed them on the ground with crumbled suet - they loved this, preferring all their food easily accessed in one go, coming and going all day. Now they have to hang on feeders (rats, see below) which is lovely for me since I adore them, but watching all that suet fly is horrific. It's not so bad since the big crumbs gets picked up by others. But it's the small crumbs that gets stuck in the paving, the lawn and onto the raised beds. It's everywhere, and I clean every night now since the influx of chicks. Every morning, after a scrub the night before, I walk into a cleansed garden stinking of suet and some sort of rotting. Clearly something is wrong. It's worse if it's rained during the day. I have no hope of clearing up wet suet.
My routine is to sweep up as much poop/husks and crumbs as much as possible and then disinfect the patio area where I have moved all the bird feeding with a solution. I use Bio D sanitiser since I have a frog in the garden. My problem is clearing the fat/suet. I can't just disinfect since that does not deal with fat. I have resorted to hot Fairy liquid solution, a good scrub and no rinse. Then a solution of Bio D. I am not sure it's working. I could use household, chemical sprays that dissolve fats, but am hesitant using this stuff since I have bleached enough weeds, slugs, etc in the past months.
I am not sure I can continue feeding suet since the weather is hotting up despite the no-melt suet since it gets everywhere. I am not into trays attached to feeders or under the feeders, they have not worked for me. I have a problem since I love the starlings and they love mealworms, which is too expensive, and if I can't provide that in such large portions, they move onto suet. Hence, if i remove the suet, what will they eat? They are not crazy for pellets here though I make them eat it (!). They are not into bread, only croissant/brioche and cake (I am crazy buying it for them), and love their cheese. Should note, suet is great only since it's cheaper than anything I've mentioned!
It's all the more important I can clean up effectively since I have seen rats eating suet crumbs with the birds only a month ago and I have had to clean up my bird feeding routine, or would have had to stop feeding completely. Not seen one since, but if i miss a night cleaning, I come into a cold sweat if the night light in the garden gets constantly activated by possible night rats.
Sorry it's long winded, but I need serious help with feeding these beautiful ingrates and cleaning that horrid suet.
There are lovely squirrels that come who are good indicators that there is suet all over the place, since they sniff the ground all over the place.
I'd miss them like crazy. But this routine has to stop some time, and I need a summer break. Any help before I stop feeding completely?