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Hungry Gap Stewardship

Supplementary Winter Feeding for Farmland Birds

Farmers Hungry Gap Mixes, For Farmland Birds

Embracing the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme AB12

The phenomenon known as the "Hungry Gap" ie December to April poses a significant challenge for our British countryside, impacting both the extreme shortage of natural food sources and designated sown bird food areas. Every year the UK witnesses a surge in bird populations during the winter months, as migratory birds arrive from colder regions seeking food.

In the past, winter sustenance was sourced from open grain stores, which were common on livestock farms across the nation. The upkeep of these farms demanded the provision of feed concentrates, hay, silage, and other nourishment for cattle. Additionally, there were more weedy crops and stubbles that served as supplementary food sources for our feathered friends. However, the modern landscape has evolved, with stricter regulations on grain storage and significant changes in farming practices. Consequently, we now confront a scarcity of readily available food resources for birds during the hungry gap.

Despite our continuous efforts, identifying a suitable mix of plant species to bridge the hungry gap, typically spanning from December to April, has remained elusive. Most plants naturally release their seeds, a mechanism ingrained in their design, and those that don't, such as fodder radish, are often opened by hungry birds. These plants tend to deplete their seed supplies by December or January, and the arrival of new natural spring food isn't expected until around April.

Gamekeepers are well-versed in the concept of supplementary wild bird feeding, and this fundamental principle is gaining traction within stewardship schemes. Research conducted by respected institutions like the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and the Wildlife Farming Company (WFC) has paved the way for innovative options under Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) and Higher Level Stewardship (HLS).

In collaboration with the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme AB12, British farmers have a valuable opportunity to address the hungry gap and make a positive impact on the well-being of our wild bird populations. Join us in this endeavour to preserve our precious wild birds for generations to come.

We take pride in offering tailor-made, compliant AB12 wild bird seed mixtures to farms across the nation. Below, we present a selection of available mixtures to help you support birds throughout the hungry gap.

Our Hungry Gap Mixes

Words From Some of Our Farmers

Growing bird seed mixes together with supplementary feeding over the winter "Hungry Gap" (Jan-Apr) is arguably the best way to support farmland birds during the colder months, providing a regular constant source of food.

Well Fed Bird's Hungry Gap mixtures are highly recommended. John and the team are friendly and helpful, and their service is quick and efficient.

Cotswold Grass Seeds Direct are happy to recommend Well Fed Bird's Hungry Gap Mixes.

Cotswold Seeds Direct

I would recommend using Well Fed Birds mix . Our HLS project advisor was happy with the choice of mixes. The feed comes in easy to manage Bags which aids managing.

I am always far busier than I anticipate with the cattle in December and having done the sourcing of individual seeds and liaised with the project officer to the correct mix. Well Fed Birds mix saves me a lot of time and energy, and makes this job much easier.

Bird population has gone up noticeably since started supplementary feeding, Well Fed Bird’s different mixes target what is needed.

Andrew Jones - Beef and Arable Farmer

Just to say that we are delighted with your service, and seed we have bought from you over the last few years.

Because we need to buy large quantities for our winter bird feeding commitment on the farm, it has been great to have someone to give us expert advice on the best mixes, and bag sizes for our needs. 

The birds seem very happy about the service too!

F W Jones & Son

Find out More

Please note that it is not possible to order Hungry Gap mixes directly from this website. For all enquiries please call John on 07817 463392 / 01454 310844 or use the button below to get in touch.