I love all the birds we have visiting our property. What I don’t like is when they decide to eat all the chickens’ food! Sure a little nibble here and there isn’t a problem, but by the end of spring, every bird in a 20 mile radius seems to have gotten the memo that our place is the place to eat. To try and cut down on the amount of chicken feed being consumed by our wild feathered friends, we put up feeding station for the wild birds. The problem is cost, bird feeders aren’t cheap if you buy them at a store. But who says you have to buy bird feeders?
We come up with all sorts of DIY feeders that don’t break the bank. Last spring we whipped up a couple DIY Bird Feeder for Under $5. And while I still like them, we decided to do some upcycling this year. What is upcycling? It is taking discarded objects or material and giving them a new life. For our discarded object, we used tennis ball containers. I know, I know, you’re are probably thinking but she is a middle aged, over weight homesteader…. Does she really play tennis? That would be a big fat NO! But I know a certain dog who loves tennis balls. And your local school or university with a tennis team probably has boxes of discarded tennis ball containers that they would be more than happy to part with! One man’s trash is another man’s bird feeder!!
These DIY upcycle feeders would also make a great project for school kids, summer campers, and heck any other large group of kiddos who want to help the local wild bird population. They are cheap (ask your local tennis team) and easy to make. They will also add hours of entertainment through backyard bird watching.
So how do you turn a tennis ball container into a bird feeder? Easy peasy! No, really! All it takes is a container, a little wire (you could use twine too), and two small pieces of wooden dowel. You can pick up four foot lengths of poplar dowel any home improvement store for less than a $1.00 and cut it into enough pieces to make a few feeders. Think about it, you can make a bunch of these for pennies a piece!
Once you have your container, you need to put holes in it. You will need two holes at the top for the wire hanger. You will need two sets of two holes across from each other for the perches. And you will need holes for the birds to peck the food out of. You can use the tips of scissors to make the holes, a knife, or a glue gun! Yup, a glue gun when warmed up will melt right through the plastic and give you nicer round holes then a knife. Melting plastic does stink however, so do this part outside. Make sure your holes for the perch are big enough for the dowel to slide through but not so big it slips out. You want a snug hole for the perches.
If you have smaller children making these, have an adult make the holes, the kids will still have fun assembling the feeder. When putting the feeder together slip the hanging wire or twine through the top two holes and twist or tie to form the hanger.
Next slip in the pieces of wooden dowel so the birds have somewhere to perch while they eat.
Next fill the tennis ball container with bird feed and put the lid back on. That was simple, wasn’t it? Now just pick the perfect spot to hang your DIY upcycle bird feeder!
Remember how I told you the wild birds like to nibble the chickens’ feed? The funny part about hanging bird feeders is that the chickens love to go pick up the fallen seeds that the wild birds drop. So I guess in the end, it all works out *wink*