Suet is the perfect bird food for the winter months, when birds’ food sources start to dwindle. Here’s how to make suet for your backyard birds!
What is Suet?
Suet is essentially a solidified mix of fats, which birds eat to stay warm. 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.
Suet Cake Recipe 1
- 2 parts melted fat (beef fat or lard)
- 2 parts yellow cornmeal
- 1 part natural peanut butter
Suet Cake Recipe 2
- 1 pound melted fat (beef fat or lard)
- 1 cup millet
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
Instructions for Both Recipes
Melt the fat in a saucepan until completely liquid. Next, remove from heat and let sit for several minutes.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook for a few minutes.
Pour into small containers (tuna fish cans are good), and refrigerate until they start to harden and then store them in the freezer until ready for use.
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.
When Should Suet Be Put Outdoors?
Homemade suet should be used only in very cold weather so that it does not melt and become rancid. If you live in a warm climate, we do not recommend using homemade suet because it will spoil too quickly. In this case, it is safer to purchase commercial suet cakes (which are treated and won’t spoil).
It’s also a good idea to hold off until at least December, as suet (and other bird food) can attract bears and other critters if put out too early.
See more wintertime bird food recipes and enjoy watching your feathered friends warm up by your window!