With winter on its way, birds need to change their diets in order to survive the colder temperatures. Make it easy for them by making some homemade suet for birds using these simple recipes.
As humans, we typically adapt our diets to the seasons according to what’s available and how we feel. In the summer, we lean more towards light and fresh meals, whereas in the winter, we crave hearty comfort food. Birds operate in a similar manner – they require more fat in their diets to help keep them warm and give them energy throughout the fall and winter. That’s where suet comes in.
True suet is the hard and crumbly saturated fat located near an animal’s kidney. Traditionally, beef suet or lard is mixed with birdseed to create what is sold as suet for birds, however, animal products don’t need to be used when making your own.
Whether you’re looking for an interactive activity to do with your children, or you simply don’t want to pay the prices for store-bought suet, our homemade bird suet recipes are for you.
Homemade Peanut Butter Suet for Birds
Birds love peanut butter, as it provides a quick and easy source of protein. When combined with true suet, it can make a high-fat snack for our feathered friends. Homemade suet works best when it’s molded into specific shapes to fit into the bird feeder. You can use what you have at home to make these molds – items like old juice or milk cartons work well, as do reusable containers. We’ll explain how to make this type of homemade bird food.
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
- 2 cups quick oats
- 2 cups bird seed mix (mealworms, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet, peanuts)
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- Melt the peanut butter and lard/shortening in a saucepan over low heat.
- In a separate large bowl, combine oats, birdseed mix, cornmeal, and flour.
- Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and mix well.
- Let cool, then press into molds and pop them into the freezer.
- When they’re frozen solid, remove them and insert them into your suet bird feeder.
Note: Vegetable shortening won’t pack together as solidly as true suet.
Easy Homemade Bird Food Recipe
If you don’t want to mess around with shortening, lard, or suet, get out a food processor and create simple homemade ‘suet for birds’ using just three ingredients.
- 2 cups shelled peanuts (unsalted)
- 3 tbsp cornmeal
- ½ cup raisins
- Add the peanuts to the bowl of a food processor and blend until you’ve reached a peanut butter consistency.
- Next, add the cornmeal and blend again before adding in the raisins.
- Once you have a sticky/gritty mixture, you can remove the mixture from the bowl and press it into a mold, or a leftover yogurt, margarine, or cream cheese container.
- Allow to set in either the fridge or the freezer, and once fully hardened, place into your suet feeder.
Now it’s time to sit back, and watch all the birds flock to your yard!
Also interesting: Why Bread is Bad for Birds, and Better Foods to Feed Them
Suet for Birds: Tips & Tricks
Not every bird out there likes suet, so if you’re trying to attract a specific type of bird to your yard, it pays to do some research. You’ll typically attract birds like woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens, tits, nuthatches, robins, orioles, bluebirds, cardinals, and jays with this homemade suet recipe.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a metal suet feeder (available on Amazon**), and to make sure it’s squirrel-proof.
Tip: The more feeders you have, the more birds you are likely to attract.
Suet for birds is most effective when it’s cold outside, as this keeps the fat from melting. Plus, birds need the higher fat content mostly when the weather gets colder. That’s not to say you can’t have homemade suet for birds out year-round, just remember that suet can go rancid, and you need to keep an eye on it. If you notice birds fly to it and immediately leave, it probably needs to be changed.
- Checklist: How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter
- Water for Birds: Helping Refresh Our Feathered Friends
- Feeding Squirrels: What You Should Know
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