Really Wild Birdfood Co
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National Nest Box Week

National Nest Box Week was established and developed by the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) to provide a focus on nesting birds and to support their conservation and local biodiversity. It encourages the placement of nest boxes in your local area, at a time when small birds traditionally pair up ahead of the breeding season.

Natural nest sites such as holes in trees or old buildings are disappearing fast, so our native birds need all the help they can get to find a safe spot to breed. Birds may even use the nest box year-round, roosting cosily in it during the winter months. More...

 

I moved into my rented house last May, and of course I set about feeding the birds in my new garden straight away. I established some of the familiar faces of the garden bird world within a few months, but it was only at the beginning of this year that I started to see Starlings.  More...

 Bird with a scrap of food in its beak

Kitchen scraps make an excellent addition to your usual choice of bird foods.  By putting out the right scraps, you are helping to reduce landfill waste, as well as providing the birds with additional essential fats and carbohydrates which are especially important in the Winter and during nesting season. More...

wet weather bird feeding

With the weather forecast looking wet, wet, WET for the foreseeable future, it's worth taking a look at our bird feeding practices to ensure we give our feathered friends a fighting chance as the season changes, the temperature drops and natural food sources diminish.

Birds naturally waterproof themselves by preening their feathers, coating them with oil from glands at the base of their tail to help water run off. They also trap pockets of air in the downy under layers of feathers to keep them warm - like a duvet!

So in light showers, you may see them fluff up their feathers, but in heavy rain, they will flatten them down to help water run off. More...

hedgehog hibernation

One of our most recognisable wild animals - the humble hedgehog - is currently on a mission to fatten up before hibernating over the Winter. From roughly November to March, they will snuggle up in a pile of leaves, logs or garden debris to conserve their energy before breeding in the spring.

This loveable creature's true habitat is woodland but they also love to explore our gardens, which provide shelter, food and potential mates. Hedgehogs are often called 'the gardener's best friend' as they like to feast on pesky slugs. More...

With so many of our native bird species in sharp decline and being added to the 'Red List' - offering them highest priority for protection - it's refreshing when one bucks the trend and numbers increase. 

Buzzards have been making a huge comeback and are now Britain's most abundant bird of prey, breeding in every single county since the year 2000.

Numbers have now reached the region of 68,000 breeding pairs, as opposed to a low of 1000 in the early 1900s when they were widely culled by gamekeepers who wrongly believed they were a huge threat to their game birds; thankfully this practice is now illegal. More...

bird bathing in water

Arguably more important than providing food for our garden birds is ensuring they have access to fresh, clean water for bathing and drinking.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that their need for water is met elsewhere, particularly if you live near a river or lake, but these large bodies of water don't always suit smaller birds.

Providing a bird bath is a great way to attract birds into your garden. If you have a water feature or running water, they will thank you all the more! More...

It's the breeding season for hedgehogs, and it's as important as ever to give these loveable creatures a helping hand where possible.

Although their natural habitat is woodland, our urban gardens are also favoured by them due to the plentiful supply of food and shelter. If they are very lucky, someone might have left hedgehog food out for them, too. 

Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) between the 5th and 11th May to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and what we can do to help them. More...

Recently, a long-term customer came into the shop to make a purchase. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except she had brought with her an envelope full of old catalogues and receipts from us, wanting to know if any of it was still relevant. 

We were pleasantly surprised and delighted when she pulled out a 2009 catalogue! We thought it had long gone, and memories came flooding back for Sian who remembers very well sitting at her desk and laying out the design herself using Microsoft Publisher; not to mention the printing and stapling involved in the operation.

We sent the customer on her way with a brand new 2019 catalogue, of course, (now outsourced!) but have kept a copy of the 2009 version in the office for posterity. A lot of our seed mixes and the products we sell have remained the same, but some we had forgotten about - suet coated peanuts, anyone...? Dried earthworms...?

Have a look closely at the photos below, and you can even see how little our prices have increased in 10 years, a few pounds at most!  Some seed mixes have even come down in price as they have gained in popularity - Deluxe Robin Crumble for one.

 

 

If you have any questions about our products, or if you'd simply like to get in touch about our leaflets, don't hesitate to give us a call on 01489 896785 or email us at sales@reallywildbirdfood.co.uk.

feeding birds mealworms

The breeding season (April to July) is a great time to feed mealworms, wax worms and other live foods to your garden birds if you don't already do so!

Of the many varieties of garden bird whose numbers are in decline in the UK, it is the insectivores who have been the worst hit. The lack of mature, native trees in our gardens and ever-decreasing areas of natural woodland means that wild birds cannot find the insects they need to feed their young, resulting in fewer eggs and fewer fledgelings. This makes live foods a more conscientious choice, particularly during periods of colder weather (when insects will hide away in warm places) and especially when you consider that the birds' activity rate during the breeding season can be 100 times greater than during the winter months.

Live mealworms and wax worms are easily digestible with a high moisture content - essential for fledgelings who cannot leave the nest to drink. Other sources of moisture for them include unripe seeds, earthworms and caterpillars, but there is growing evidence to show that the peak time for earthworms and caterpillars is possibly earlier than the peak fledgeling explosion, so live mealworms and wax worms are a great option to bridge that gap.

Buy Live Mealworms & Wax Worms for Birds >

 

Feeding birds wax worms and mealworms 

It has been proven that feeding live foods can have a significant positive effect on the number of chicks reared by their parents. Wax worms and mealworms are also rich in essential protein (50.4%), very safe to feed due to their vegetarian diet (no spread of nasty diseases), and much easier to store and use than you might think.

If the wax worms come supplied in a tub, it should already have a ventilated lid and some bran inside to keep them going, so you can just keep them cool until you're ready to use them (ideal storage temperature: 8 to 10 °C). Wax worms and mealworms can go in the fridge, but this can make them a bit dormant and less wriggly - and it's the wriggling that attracts the bird's keen eye. Temperatures below 5 °C will kill the mealworms and wax worms, while temperatures above 22 degrees will make them pupate very quickly.

They do not need light - in fact, dark is good - and if you notice their food has depleted, you can add a bit of carrot, apple, oats or potato peelings. Wax worms and mealworms can be kept this way for several months at the correct temperature.

Bulk bags of live worms are more economical but need to be unpacked on arrival. They can be stored in a large open plastic container such as a cat litter tray or similar, at a maximum depth of 1 inch. There is no need for a lid as long as the sides are deep and clean and the container is placed somewhere where it won't be knocked over!

Mealworms

Want to know more about how to feed live mealworms and wax worms to birds? Here is a very informative Q&A with our founder and resident vet, Lesley:

Q. Which birds eat live worms?

A. The insect and invertebrate eaters: robins, sparrows, tits, starlings, blackbirds, wrens and thrushes.

Q. What are mealworms?

A. They are the larvae of the flour beetle (Tenebrio Molitor), a native British insect that eats flour, meal, grain and other related crops. They are vegetarian, which is important because when fresh, they don't smell!

Q. Where do your live mealworms come from?

A. Our live mealworms are grown in the UK for us and are British bred! There are many companies importing mealworms from Europe; ours will be fresher as they won't have travelled far.

Q. If I order live worms, what can I expect to receive?

A. Live mealworms are delivered by Royal Mail. They will arrive in a cardboard box, and within the box will be either some plastic tubs or larger quantities within a white polypropylene bag with a cable-tied top. Please don't worry if the plastic tubs don't have air holes punched in them - the lids are made of breathable material so the mealworms will be fine.

Q. Do the mealworms smell?

A. No! There is no smell given off by mealworms or wax worms if they are kept in the correct conditions. There will be some bran or clean newspaper in with them when they arrive. For those that are in tubs, you don't need to do anything. If you have bought a larger sack of them, we would suggest transferring them into a shallow, smooth-sided tray or tub.

Q. How long will the worms last?

A. Being larvae, their longevity is dependent on the conditions and temperature they are stored at. The cooler they are, the longer they will last. If you find that there is a lot of black poo appearing, the chances are it is too warm for them or they are too deep in their container.

Q. If I order them today, when will I receive them?

A. All live foods are sent by Royal Mail. They, therefore, take 3-5 working days and will arrive separately from the rest of your Really Wild Bird Food order (which should arrive on the next working day). Orders received before 12.00 on Monday to Thursday will be dispatched on the same day. Orders received on a Friday to Sunday will be dispatched on the following Monday. We are ultra-careful around bank holidays (especially during the warm summer months) in case they get held up in a warm sorting office somewhere, speeding up their metamorphosis. Please order a few days earlier around a bank holiday.

Q. I would like to receive a regular weekly order - can you do this?

A. Of course! We have many customers who request scheduled live mealworm deliveries, either on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Please contact us with your request.

Q. What sort of feeder should I offer live mealworms in?

A. Wax worms and mealworms need to be contained in a smooth steep-sided container (otherwise you will find they wriggle up and out and will be gone in a flash!) - ideally something with a roof or overhang to protect them from the rain and sun, and drainage holes if there is no roof. Windows feeders lend themselves to mealworms, and it's fab to get a really close-up view of your robin and other smalls birds visiting. Caged feeders are also useful since they limit access to the bigger birds which can devour a whole pot in an instant!

Would you like to purchase some live or dried mealworms for your feathered friends? Here at Really Wild Bird Food, we offer a variety of mealworms and wax worms for you to choose from! Click the link below to shop:

Live wax worms and live/dried mealworms for birds