The winter may not seem like an obvious time to be focused on the garden but there is still a lot going on. And if you can, it is a great time to help our wildlife.

Providing food for birds is important at any time of the year. However it is especially important when the weather is cold. If you normally provide seeds or nuts, then continue doing that. But if you can, add some fat to their food to help them through the cold months.

Making fat balls in great fun

We decided to make some fat balls. We bought a packet of lard from the supermarket but you could use suet or anything that will bind the ingredients together and provide a source of fat. You can also buy specialist seeds for birds but as ours was a bit of an impromptu activity, we simply cleared out some of the half eaten packets of nuts that were in the cupboard. We also added some porridge oats and some cereal that we no longer eat.

Check the RSPB website for a full list of ingredients which are safe to feed birds.

Make sure the lard is at room temperature so that it is nice and soft and then simply combine all the ingredients. It is great fun for little hands to squish it all together.

Once the ingredients have been combined, shape them into balls. We had some garden twine which we looped and knotted. Simply embed the knots in the middle of the balls and then hang in the garden. Ours were devoured within a couple of days – so we will be making some more soon.

If you fancy getting creative with them, you could use pine cones as the base for the food. Simply squash the mixture on to the pine cone before hanging outside. You can also shape them to make them more decorative if you like.