Making bird suet is a great thing to do for the wild birds in winter when they need the energy. It requires just a few basic ingredients and you can make a big batch in under two hours. The following recipe can be modified in many ways. Basically you need a fat, a binder like flour to keep the consistency solid and seeds and other things wild birds will eat.
Things You'll Need
- 1 lb. suet, lard or shortening
- 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 2 cups, a variety of bird seeds
- 1 cup flour or corn meal
Buy real suet, rendered beef fat, from a butcher or get some lard or shortening at the grocery store. You can use already mixed bird seed, or make your own mix using sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet and chopped nuts. If you have a farm and feed store nearby, they should carry all kinds of seeds for both wild birds and domestic fowl.
Melt the fat or lard slowly in a large saucepan until liquid. Stir in the peanut butter and heat on low until both are blended together. Let it cool for about 20 minutes or until it just starts to solidify.
Slowly mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch pan and allow to cool completely. It can now be cut into pieces to fit into suet cages.
Don't limit yourself to the commercial suet cages. Bird suet can be given to the birds in many different ways. It can be smeared onto tree trunks or branches. The birds will peck the tree clean. Woodpeckers and creepers especially like this because it allows them to eat in the way most natural for them.
Attach some sturdy string or wire to corn cobs or pinecones. Cover these with the suet and hang from a tree or your birdfeeder.
Add some cooked meat, fresh or dried fruits, unsweetened cereal or oatmeal to the mix. You can be quite flexible with this recipe. Experiment with different ingredients and you will attract a wide variety of birds.
Tips & Warnings
- Only put out suet in cold weather. In warm climates, the suet turns soft and rancid quite quickly. This food is only perfect for cold snowy months.
- Hang it as high as you can and be aware that this may attract other wildlife. If bears are a concern where you live, don't put out suet because the smell will attract them.