Suet is the perfect bird food recipe for the winter months when birds’ food sources dwindle. Suet is loved by nuthatches, woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, cardinals, and most insect-eating birds.
Although suet is basically fat, birds birds use fat calories to stay warm, so particularly in winter, suet is a valuable bird food.
- You can use almost any seed or grain, mixed with beef fat, lard, or natural peanut butter. A basic suet combines equal parts of beef fat and assorted birdseed.
- Put it in a tuna or cat food can to chill (or freeze) until it’s hard enough to hold its shape, then release it into a wire suet cage or sturdy mesh bag.
- For a fancier suet, add natural peanut butter to the mix. You can also bind cornmeal or oatmeal with natural peanut butter and spread it into holes drilled in a post or log.
- Birds also like dried fruits, so consider adding raisins, currants, apricots, or citron.
Here is a suet recipe from our archives:
- 2 parts melted fat (beef fat or lard)
- 2 parts yellow cornmeal
- 1 part natural peanut butter
Mix all ingredients together and cook for a few minutes. Pour into small containers (tuna fish cans are good), and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Mixture can also be stuffed into 1-inch holes drilled in small logs to hang from trees. The recipe can be made all year long as long as you accumulate fat. Fasten containers securely to trees or feeders.
Note: Suet is for very cold weather so it does not become rancid. If you live in a warm climate, we do not recommend homemade suet because it will spoil quickly. In this case, it is safer to purchase commercial suet cakes (which are already treated so they won’t spoil).
Enjoy watching your feathered friends warm up by your window!