AB12: Supplementary winter feeding for farmland birds
- make sure the winter supplementary feeding mix must include both cereals (not maize) and other small seeds.
- make sure the other small seeds component is a minimum of 30% of the total mix by weight and contain at least 3 of the following, with no individual species being more than 50% of the total small seed component by weight:
- canary seed
- oilseed rape
- red millet
- sunflower hearts
- white millet
- spread the winter supplementary feeding mix at a rate of 25kg once a week for 20 weeks between 1 December until 30 April, at each of 2 separate feeding locations - you can vary the amount to be fed by up to 5kg per week to match demand as necessary
- select feeding areas that are firm and free-draining, such as farm tracks or hard standing areas, and in close proximity to enhanced overwinter stubbles, game cover or wild bird seed mixtures
On your annual claim you must declare that you have not carried out any activities prohibited by the option requirements.
You must keep the following records and supply them on request:
- details of the mixture used (weight of components and cost)
- dates of feeding
- method of feeding (hopper or spreading)
- amount of feed
- the location of the feeding areas
Manage how and when to supplementary feed
Having 2ha of AB9 Winter bird food in the agreement allows 1 tonne of supplementary feed to be spread each year, split equally between 2 feeding stations, so 500kg per year per feeding station. Where less than 2ha of AB9 is put into the agreement, a pro-rata amount of AB12 can be included. For example, the minimum area allowed of AB9 is 0.4ha. This would allow 200kg of AB12 to be included, spread equally between two feeding stations, so 100kg per year per feeding station.
Supplementary feeding should start before the sown winter bird food runs out. This keeps farmland birds using the areas and prevents a dip in their winter condition.
Distribute enough supplementary food to match the birds’ consumption, so that seed is not left uneaten. This will ensure that a fresh supply of food is maintained, which will keep birds healthy and reduce any rodent problems. This is particularly important when ground feeding, or if hoppers are left unprotected.
Feed twice a week so that no food is left by the second day after feeding. As well as reducing rodents this will cut down on the use of the supplementary feed areas by crows and pigeons. Feed should be well spread out on the areas chosen, rather than left in piles.
Prepare to be flexible, so that if the winter period is extended through bad weather, the amount of feeding planned can be adjusted and extended for any additional days or weeks that are needed. This ensures that birds are not left with a ‘hungry gap’ before the natural seed resources on the farm become available.
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