How to make fat balls bird food

Updated February 21, 2017

Fat balls are a simple way to feed birds in the garden. They provide calorie-rich food for birds in cold weather, and can attract beautiful wild birds to your home. Making fat balls is a relatively straightforward process that almost anyone can accomplish. This project works well for people of all ages and skill levels. All that's required is the ability to mix and mould.

Cut or break a craft stick to fit in the bottom of a yoghurt pot.

Tie a length of string around the middle of the stick. Knot it firmly.

Place the stick in the bottom of the yoghurt cup. Allow the string to hang outside the cup.

Place 110 to 170 grams of room temperature animal fat into a mixing bowl. Stir in bird seed, dried fruit, unsalted nuts and grain until the mixture develops the texture of stiff batter or soft dough.

Press the fat and seed mixture into the yoghurt pot, making sure the string still hangs outside the cup. Place the pot in a cool place and allow the mixture to set.

Remove the fat ball from the yoghurt pot and hang it outside from a tree, post or bird table.


Use different containers to create interesting shapes.


Never use butter, liquid oil or margarine in a fat ball, because they may not set properly and can go rancid.

Things You'll Need

  • Craft sticks
  • 170 to 225 g plastic yoghurt pots
  • String
  • Animal fat, such as lard or tallow
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Bird seed
  • Dried fruit
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Grain
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About the Author

G.D. Palmer is a freelance writer and illustrator living in Milwaukee, Wis. She has been producing print and Web content for various organizations since 1998 and has been freelancing full-time since 2007. Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and studio art from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.