HomeBirdsHow To Make Suet for Birds: Easy Recipes for Pet Lovers

How To Make Suet for Birds: Easy Recipes for Pet Lovers

How To Make Suet for Birds: Easy Recipes for Pet Lovers

Suet is a high-fat, energy-rich food that is loved by many bird species, especially during the winter months when food sources can become scarce. Suet is an excellent source of nutrition for birds, providing them with the necessary energy and nutrients to survive the cold season.

Making suet at home is a cost-effective and simple way to attract a variety of bird species to your backyard. It also allows you to control the ingredients and avoid any additives or preservatives that may be found in store-bought suet.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of using suet to attract birds, the ingredients and equipment needed to make suet, and step-by-step instructions on how to make it.

By learning how to make suet for birds, you can create a welcoming and nourishing environment for our feathered friends, while also enjoying the beauty and entertainment they bring to your backyard. Let’s dive in and learn how to make suet for birds!

How To Make Suet for Birds: Easy Recipes for Pet LoversHow To Make Suet for Birds

Suet is a popular food for backyard birds, as it is high in fat and protein, making it an excellent source of energy. It is especially beneficial for birds during the colder months, when other food sources may be scarce. Making suet at home is a simple and fun activity for bird lovers, and it allows you to customize the ingredients to attract specific bird species to your yard. Here are three easy recipes for making suet for birds.

Recipe #1: Basic Suet Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lard or suet (can be found at your local butcher or grocery store)
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups birdseed (use a mix of seeds to attract a variety of birds)
  • Optional add-ins: dried fruit, chopped nuts, suet dough, mealworms, or sunflower seeds

Instructions:

  • In a large saucepan, melt the lard or suet over low heat.
  • Stir in the peanut butter, cornmeal, and birdseed until well combined. The mixture should be thick and gooey.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Line a baking dish or mold with parchment paper, and pour the suet mixture into the dish.
  • Let it cool completely and firm up in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  • Once firm, remove the suet cake from the mold and cut it into smaller pieces, or use cookie cutters to create fun shapes.
  • Place the suet cakes in a suet feeder or nail it to a tree branch for the birds to enjoy.

Recipe #2: Vegetarian Suet Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups dried fruit (such as raisins, cranberries, or chopped apricots)
  • 2 cups chopped nuts (such as almonds, pecans, or walnuts)
  • Optional add-ins: mealworms or sunflower seeds

Instructions:

  • In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil and peanut butter over low heat.
  • Stir in the cornmeal, dried fruit, and nuts until well combined.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Follow the same steps as above to create suet cakes and feed the birds.

Recipe #3: Sweet and Spicy Suet Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lard or suet
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups birdseed
  • 1/2 cup cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Optional add-ins: sunflower seeds or chopped nuts

Instructions:

  • In a large saucepan, melt the lard or suet over low heat.
  • Stir in the peanut butter, cornmeal, birdseed, cayenne pepper, and honey until well combined.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Follow the same steps as above to create suet cakes and feed the birds.

Note: While cayenne pepper is safe for birds, it may deter squirrels from eating the suet.

Tips:

  • Make sure to use unsalted peanut butter, as salt can be harmful to birds.
  • Do not use bacon fat or other meat drippings in your suet recipe, as they can go rancid quickly and may also attract unwanted predators.
  • Suet can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month, or frozen for longer periods of time.
  • Hang suet feeders at least 5 feet off the ground to prevent access to larger predators.

What is Suet?

Suet is a type of fat that is found in specific areas of an animal, such as the kidneys and loins. It is typically used in cooking and baking and has a high melting point, making it ideal for creating flaky pastries and crusts. It is also used in making traditional British dishes such as suet puddings and mince pies. Suet is commonly sold in solid block form or finely grated. 

Which Birds Eat Suet?

Woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, jays, and wrens are common birds that eat suet. Other species that may also eat suet include titmice, creepers, thrushes, kinglets, and sapsuckers. Suet is a high-energy food source and is especially important for birds during the winter months when insects and other food sources are scarce. 

Homemade Suet Cakes for Woodpeckerssuet 1

Making homemade suet cakes for woodpeckers is an easy and fun way to attract these beautiful birds to your yard. Suet is a high-energy food made from animal fat and can be mixed with other ingredients such as nuts, fruits, and seeds to create a nutritious and irresistible treat for woodpeckers.

SEE ALSO: What is The Rarest Bird in The World?

To make homemade suet cakes, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rendered suet or lard
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 2 cups of cornmeal or ground oats
  • 1 cup of mixed birdseed (such as sunflower seeds, millet, and safflower seeds)
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts (such as peanuts, almonds, or walnuts)
  • 1 cup of dried fruits (such as raisins, cranberries, or chopped apples)
  • Plastic container or muffin tin

Instructions:

  • Start by melting the suet or lard in a pan on low heat. Stir occasionally until it is completely melted.
  • Add the peanut butter to the melted suet and mix well until it is fully incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cornmeal or ground oats, mixed birdseed, chopped nuts, and dried fruits.
  • Slowly pour the melted suet and peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well until it forms a thick dough.
  • If using a plastic container, line it with parchment paper or plastic wrap for easy removal. If using a muffin tin, line each cup with a paper or silicone liner.
  • Press the suet mixture into the container or muffin tin, making sure to spread it evenly.
  • Place the container or muffin tin in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until the suet has solidified.
  • Once the suet cakes have hardened, remove them from the container or tin and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • To attract woodpeckers, hang the suet cakes in a wire suet feeder or simply place them on a platform feeder. You can also attach them to a tree branch using wire or string.

Homemade Bird Suet Without Lard

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening or coconut oil
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup birdseed
  • Optional mix-ins: dried fruits, nuts, seeds, suet cakes

Instructions:

  • In a large pot, melt the peanut butter and vegetable shortening or coconut oil on low heat.
  • Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the cornmeal and oats until well combined.
  • Stir in the birdseed and any optional mix-ins you prefer.
  • Let the mixture cool slightly until it thickens and is no longer runny.
  • Press the mixture into a small square or rectangular container, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top.
  • Refrigerate the suet until completely solid, at least 2 hours.
  • Cut the suet into small squares or rectangles and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Hang the suet in a mesh feeder or spread it directly on tree branches for birds to enjoy.

No Melt Bird Suet Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 cup of quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of rendered suet or lard
  • 1/2 cup of birdseed
  • Optional: dried fruits and nuts, suet feeder or shallow pan for setting the suet, twine for hanging

Instructions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, cornmeal, oats, and flour. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • In a separate microwave-safe bowl, melt the suet or lard in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted.
  • Pour the melted suet or lard into the dry mixture and mix well until all ingredients are coated.
  • If adding dried fruits and nuts, mix them in now.
  • Using your hands, form the suet mixture into small balls or press them into a shallow pan or suet feeder.
  • Let the suet cool and harden, either in the fridge or at room temperature.
  • Once hardened, if using a pan, cut the suet into squares or use a cookie cutter to create shaped suet blocks.
  • If using a suet feeder, tie the twine to the top of the suet and hang it in a tree or on a bird feeder hook.
  • Store any extra suet in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Hang the suet outside for your feathered friends to enjoy! Make sure to check on and replace the suet if it becomes moldy or spoiled.

Audubon Suet Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups quick-cook oats
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar

Step-by-Step Directions:

  • Melt the lard and peanut butter in a large pan over low heat.
  • Add in the quick-cook oats, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, and white sugar. Stir until well combined.
  • Optional: If you want to add dried fruit, chopped nuts, or seeds to the suet, mix them in at this point.
  • While the mixture is still warm, press it into a square cake pan or use cookie cutters to form shapes and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Let the suet cool and harden before removing it from the pan or cookie cutters.
  • Serve by placing the suet in a suet feeder or attaching it to a tree or bird feeding station using a suet cage.

How to Make Bird Suet With Crisco

Bird suet is a high-calorie, high-energy food for wild birds that can be easily made at home with a few simple ingredients. Crisco, a brand of solid vegetable shortening, is an excellent base for bird suet as it provides the necessary fat and stability for the mixture. Here is a basic recipe for making bird suet with Crisco:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Crisco solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup birdseed (such as black oil sunflower seeds)
  • Optional add-ins: chopped nuts, dried fruits, suet supplement pellets, peanut butter

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, mix together the Crisco, flour, and oats until well combined.
  • Stir in the birdseed and any other optional add-ins you choose.
  • Once all the ingredients are evenly mixed, pour the mixture into a large, shallow pan or tray. A 9×13-inch baking pan works well for this.
  • Use a spoon or your hands to press the mixture down firmly and compact it into the pan. This will help the suet hold together once it has cooled.
  • Place the pan in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, or until the suet has hardened.
  • Once the suet is firm, remove it from the pan and cut it into desired shapes or sizes. You can use cookie cutters to make fun shapes, or simply cut it into squares or rectangles.
  • Store the suet in an airtight container or freeze it for later use. It can be hung in a mesh bag or feeder for birds to enjoy.

Benefits of Using Suet to Attract Birdssuet 2

  1. High-energy source: Suet is a high-energy food source for birds and provides them with the necessary nutrients and calories to sustain their active lifestyles, especially during the colder months when other food sources may be scarce.
  2. Attracts a wide variety of birds: Suet is appealing to a wide range of bird species, including woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, and many others. This makes it a great food option for bird enthusiasts who want to attract a diverse group of feathered visitors to their yards.
  3. Easy to use: Suet can be easily hung in a feeder or smeared onto tree branches or suet cages, making it a convenient food option for both birds and bird watchers.
  4. Versatile: Suet can be mixed with other ingredients such as seeds, nuts, and fruits to create different flavors and attract a variety of birds. This versatility allows for customization based on the specific bird species you want to attract to your yard.
  5. Provides birds with essential nutrients: Suet is made from animal fat and contains a high amount of protein and other essential nutrients that birds need to maintain a healthy diet.
  6. Long lasting: Suet cakes can last for weeks, depending on the feeding activity of the birds in your area. This makes it a cost-effective food option for attracting and feeding birds.
  7. Helps birds retain body heat: Birds use a lot of energy to keep warm in colder temperatures. The high fat content in suet helps birds retain body heat, keeping them warm and healthy during the winter months.
  8. Easy to store: Suet does not require refrigeration and can be stored at room temperature, making it a convenient food option for bird enthusiasts.
  9. No mess: Unlike other bird foods such as seeds and nuts, suet does not create a mess or attract unwanted pests like squirrels. This makes it a clean and hassle-free food option for both birds and bird watchers.

SEE ALSO; How To Attract Bluebirds: A Guide for Pet Lovers

FAQs

Q. What can I use instead of suet for birds?

A. You can use a variety of alternatives to suet for birds, such as peanut butter, vegetable shortening, lard, rendered fat, or homemade birdseed mixes. Fruits, nuts, and dried mealworms can also be added for extra nutrition.

Q. What type of suet do birds like best?

A. It varies depending on the species of bird, but typically birds prefer a high-quality, high-fat suet with no added chemicals or preservatives. This can include options like pure beef or pork fat, as well as blends that include nuts, seeds, and fruits.

Q. What is bird suet made out of?

A. Bird suet is a high-fat mixture made of beef fat, seeds, grains, and sometimes peanut butter, dried fruits, and insects.

Q. Is it cheaper to buy suet or make it?

A. It depends on the quality and availability of suet at stores and the cost of ingredients to make it at home. In general, making suet at home may be cheaper if you have access to inexpensive ingredients and the necessary equipment. However, if you can purchase suet at a reasonable price, it may be more cost-effective to buy it rather than spending additional money on ingredients and time making it yourself. It ultimately depends on individual circumstances.

Q. What is the best fat for bird suet?

A. The best fat for bird suet is typically beef suet or lard, as they are solid at room temperature and do not melt easily, providing a steady and stable food source for birds.

Conclusion

Making suet for birds is a simple and enjoyable activity that pet lovers can engage in to provide their feathered friends with a nutritious and delicious treat. With easy and versatile recipes, such as the basic suet recipe or the Audubon suet recipe, making suet is an accessible activity for individuals of all skill levels.

Pallash
Pallash
Pet Dogs, Cat, Birds, Animals at home. Here we deliver useful tips about pets, how to maintain them and care for them.
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