Advice about suet mess near feeders


I've fairly recently installed a bird feeding station and each day I hang 2 seed feeders (one mixed seed, one sunflower hearts), peanuts, a half coconut shell filled with a suet mix, and a suet block in a metal block feeder. I mostly get loads of starlings but also quite a few sparrows, 2 collared doves and a wood pigeon, and the odd blackbird and robin, plus once only, a couple of goldfinches.

The feeding station is on the lawn and I had a flat circular stone put down around it for ease of cleaning. However the stone isn't big enough so spilt seed and suet is collecting round the edges and as it's been so wet recently, I haven't been able to get out so regularly to clean up so there's a smelly mush of mostly suet bedded into the grass. I've cleaned up as much as I can, which involved digging out the worst of the smelly grass, but I'm wondering what I can do to prevent this. For now I've swapped the suet block and the seed around on the feeder so at least the suet bits will fall in a different place for a while. I don't want to stop putting out the suet as the birds love it, and am worried that they depend on it now so I can't stop!

Other than paying out to have some more stone put down around the existing stone, I can't think of what to do. I struggle to clean up every single day as I'm a full time carer for my husband, but even if I did it every day, the suet's hard to get out of the grass. 

Any advice would be most welcome! Thanks. 

  • Hello Yvonne, welcome to the community. Things that come to mind are.

    You could stop feeding the suet blocks and coconut shells and just feed the seeds, nuts and sunflower hearts, that way any spilled seed that grows can be either swept or cleaned up or if seed grows in the grass, they can be mowed over.

    You could if able or get someone to help, dig up some of the surrounding lawn, you would not need to remove too much, just enough so that the area under the feeders is just soil, that way all you would have to do is turn over the soil with a hoe or fork, also the ground feeding birds would be able to feed from there as well.

    Do you have another area where you could hang the coconut and fat cakes, that has soli or paving underneath, or again if there is grass, remove a small area and it can be forked over.

    If you wanted you could pet down some plastic covering underneath the area that gets messy and then just sweep and hose it down, but you may think that is unsightly.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • I feed just sunflower hearts & suet pellets & abandoned hanging feeders last winter in favour of heavy glass dishes on garden table (easier to wash) but was still mess srewn all around so now they have their seed on the paving in an oblong shallow tray, still messy but much less so & easy to sweep or hose down ... birds like it, less squabbling as feeding area roomy!   Always a pain when suet gets rained on, have a small chicken pellet feeder for sunflower hearts, keeps majority dry but no good for suet pellets which just don't flow ... simply feed small amounts of suet more frequently to cut down on mess & waste!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Thanks, you've given me a few things to ponder!
  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    Thanks, I'll have to think it over.