How to Make a Bird Feeder in 5 Simple Steps

RecklessMay 11, 2021
Feeding birds is so much fun. Not only is it enjoyable knowing you’re looking after your local wildlife, but it’s also nice to sit in the garden and watch your little feathered friends enjoying the oasis you’ve built for them, feasting on delicious wild bird seed.

But if you’re new to bird feeding, you may not quite be ready to invest in all the expensive feeders on the market. If that’s the case, we’ve put together a step by step guide to making your own homemade bird feeder. This will allow you to ensure your garden birds are well fed, without all the extra expense needed to buy the proper equipment.

Don’t forget, you can share your bird photography with us on Instagram by using the hashtag #FeedsandSeeds for 10% off your next order.

Tools You Will Need to Make Your Homemade Bird Feeder

Before you start making your DIY bird feeder, you will need to purchase or find a couple of different items. Most of these can be found around the home, in your garden or purchased from a local supermarket. You will need: 

  • 3 x Pinecones
  • 300g Lard
  • 250g Bird Feed
  • 90cm String
  • A Plate

How to Make a Homemade Bird Feeder

Step 1: Squash the Lard

Use your hands to break down 100g of lard on a plate. Mush it all up good and proper then spread it out evenly across the plate.

Step 2: Roll the Pinecone in the Lard

This step is easy. Simply take one of your pinecones and roll it in the lard. Make sure all the crevices and nooks are filled with lard.

Step 3: Roll the Pinecone in Bird Feed

Now that the pinecone is completely covered in lard, simply roll the pinecone in your choice of bird feed. Again, make sure you get bird feed into every crevice of the pinecone.

Step 4: Tie the String Around the Pinecone

Once the pinecone is covered in bird seed, simply tie a 30cm piece of string width ways around the pinecone. Push the string into one of the crevices to ensure a proper hold, then tie the string at the top.

Step 5: Choose a Spot to Hang the Pinecone

You then just need to find the perfect spot to hang your pinecone. A tree or garden shed is perfect, just make sure that it is far enough away from your house as not to frighten the bird from any noise coming from inside the house. And that’s it, repeat the process for the other two pinecones and you're done. Make sure to keep your camera handy to capture any photos of the wonderful birds now visiting your garden.

Which is the best type of bird seed mix to use with my DIY bird feeder?

Different types of bird feed will attract different types of birds. Some types of bird feed also have a higher success of attracting birds, especially if you live in a busy suburban area where you likely have lots of fellow bird feeders as competition. So, you must choose your bird feed carefully. Here's what we recommend.

1. Niger Seed

If you live in a suburban area with lots of trees and general competition from neighbours, then go for the hamburger of the bird world that is niger seed. It can be a little more expensive than other seeds, but birds adore it. Plus, exclusive birds such as Goldfinches and Pine Siskins will quickly flock to your backyard.

2. Sunflower Hearts

Sunflower hearts are the juicy fruit inside of the sunflower seed. This is the part of the seed that birds will work so hard dehulling to access. It contains all the proteins and fats birds eat to stay healthy and thrive. Your local wild birds will flock to your homemade bird feeder when sunflower hearts are on offer.

3. White Millet Bird

If you're not too concerned about the rarity of the bird you're attracting, then white millet is a good option. White millet has a high wheat content, so will attract lots of Doves, Rooks and other common birds to your garden.

4. Peanut Butter

If you're using the DIY bird feeder method above, you can always switch out lard for bird-safe peanut butter. Do not use regular peanut butter from the supermarket, this can be harmful to birds due to a toxin called Alfaloxin. But don't be put off just yet, birds love peanut butter due to its high-fat content. Just be warned that you will need to dispose of the pinecone before the peanut butter goes rank.

Which bird food should I avoid using with my DIY Bird Feeder?

It's completely up to you which bird food you use with your feeder, but if you're using homemade bird feeders such as the above, we'd avoid using peanuts as they're too large to set with the lard. Suet may also be a tad impractical, depending on the size of your pinecone, and monkey nuts will also be difficult for small birds to dehull when attached to a string feeder. You can melt suet to use as the binding between the pinecone and the bird seed, but this will go rank, so will need to be replaced quickly to protect the health of your wild birds.