How to keep our furry and feathered friends well looked after this winter.
One of the main things that might attract you to a garden is its wide-open space and lovely green lawn. Well, it’s the same for animals. Year-round, your back garden could be a hotspot for animal life. But from November heading into the New Year, many animals are reaching a critical and dangerous time in their calendar.
So what can you do to ensure that your garden is a safe haven for wildlife this winter?
Use natural grass for your lawn
Maintaining a natural grass lawn comes with a host of benefits. One of the most important is aiding local plants and wildlife by providing them space and even food. You might be concerned about potential aftercare for your lawn after it has been visited by animals, but don’t worry, generally, there is none needed. The only exception might be if birds have been foraging for worms and other pests, but this isn’t normally a problem, especially if you…
Provide them with food
It may seem obvious, but one of the simplest things you can do to aid your local wildlife is to make sure they’re fed and watered. They’ll need plenty of food to sustain their energy and keep warm as it gets colder.
For birds, this could mean placing a wire bird feeder in your garden in a high place to ensure it is away from cats or predators, and/or putting some dried food like dried mealworms at ground level.
The different foods you place down can attract different types of birds, so put down some small insects and you might even attract the UK’s national bird – the Robin – and get a picture-perfect holiday snap.
For expert advice on feeding birds, you can visit the RSPCA website.
Water is even more important in winter, as the natural reserves that wildlife depend on year-round may have frozen over. The best thing you can do to help is to place a shallow dish filled with water out. You could use a birdbath, but if you leave something at ground level then this will mean that other animals will be able to use it too. You may be thinking that this is will just freeze over too, but there are a couple things that you can do to combat this:
- Place a hot surface on the ice so that it melts. The best thing for this is the underside of a heated pan or something similar – Do NOT pour boiling water onto already frozen water as this can send harmful shockwaves through the water.
- Place a small ball like a tennis ball in the water. As it floats in the water it will keep it moving, and make sure at least a small section isn’t frozen.
You should also be making sure to empty out this and other water supplies, cleaning them and topping them up regularly.
Create some shelter
Whether building, buying or planting, a great way you can help care for your local wildlife is to give it a safe and warm place to stay in winter. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Use a bird box – these are particularly helpful when birds have newly hatched chicks. You could also create some space of your own for birds, from twigs in leaves.
- Plant hedges – not only do they look great. But hedges can be good nesting places for hedgehogs. Just be sure to check them before you decide to trim them, or before mowing the lawn, which you should still be doing in winter.
For other lawn care information and tips for keeping your garden at its best whatever the season, be sure to check out our other posts.
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