#Blogmas day 5: How to make nature friendly Reindeer food and treats for garden wildlife.
Most people with kids use reindeer food on Christmas eve, but did you know just how harmful it really is to the wildlife living in your area? Birds will gobble it up in no time including glitter, which is extremely toxic. Glitter isn’t digestible and is therefore harming wildlife, such as hedgehogs.
Glitter is made from tiny pieces of plastic making it just as bad for the environment as the microbeads that have been banned from beauty products.
It consists of a layer of plastic, a thin coloured layer and a reflective layer often made of aluminium. These are bonded into a thin sheet, then cut into tiny shapes, they are not biodegradable, digestible, or good for the planet in anyway.
We live on a farm in the Scottish Countryside so we get alot of wildlife in and out of our garden, we don't want to harm them so ...
Reindeer food mix
If you are anything like me you will have a cupboard full of different bird seed and bird food, this is the perfect start to creating that magic food the reindeer need to fly!
Take a handful of wild bird seed such as sunflower hearts, dried mealworms, millet, peanuts, black sunflower seeds and obviously some oats. Reindeer love this mix! Don't forget the carrots.
You can then add in some dried fruit, like cranberries, but please remember that if you have dogs don't use grapes, currants, raisins etc
Birds love mealworms and waxworms and you can add a little cheese to the mix.
Then sprinkle it outside or alternatively you can just leave it on the doorstep in a bowl.
The wildlife will love you for this mix if you need the added sparkle you can get nature friendly glitter. You can find some plant based glitter over at Wild Glitter
We go through quite a lot of bird food and treats. The boys and I love to sit and watch the wonderful world around us and its inhabitants indulge in the treats that we leave for them.
What's more is you can have so much fun making them too.
More Ideas for wildlife treats this Christmas
Do you have an abundance of pine cones? If not a quick trip to the park (if they have pine trees) and you can find plenty. We are extremely lucky in that our local park has a few pine trees that grow the biggest pine cones I have ever seen!
A simple super easy bird treat
Thread something through the pine cone so it hangs, we have used a variety of things from ribbon to garden wire.
Roll the pine cone in in peanut butter, sprinkle on some seeds and then you can add berries, dried fruit etc. You can do this with lard instead of peanut butter or even honey.
Hang it out for the birds.
Watch them flock in the garden to feast on the special treat you have made for them.
You don't have to stop there. We have a wildlife treat tree that we place various treats in you could introduce
Popcorn garland (unseasoned)
Edible ornaments (We use honey instead of animal fat) use Santa cookie cutters to make Christmas shaped ones!
We also have visits from wildlife such as
Mice, hedgehogs, rats, stoats, shrews, weasels, squirrels, fox, badger, hare, rabbits, and we don't want to leave them out.
So we do make sure there is something for everyone in our garden. Although some (the squirrels) can be quite cheeky at times. We have even built up such a good relationship with the wildlife that a mouse even sneaked up to my strawberry plant whilst we were having a bbq and helped itself to the plants and fruits inches away from my feet.
There are a few treats that you can make and leave for all kinds of wildlife (Maybe I should make a seperate post about that!)
A great treat you can leave out could include
Crushed up dog biscuits for the hedgehogs.
Lots of nuts for the Squirrels they will eat most nuts and some fruit but make sure they are up a height away from any pets you have.
We have planted a variety of yummy scrummy plants for the animals that come looking for food. You could include Fruit plants like strawberry or veg plants like cabbage (I have two areas one raised area that rabbits can't get too and one area specifically for them to feast on veg) Everyone wins that way.
Wildlife is very important, we share our world with these fantastic creatures. It has always came natural to me to help our wildlife flourish.