Last Updated on January 16, 2020 by Ellen Christian
Making homemade suet for birds is one way that you can encourage birds to visit your yard. We love watching the birds outside so we make sure to offer them food, water, and shelter.
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Homemade Suet For Birds
In the hotter months, we offer birdseed for food. During the winter and early spring, it’s very cold in Vermont. Birds need a little something extra to give them more energy. You can purchase suet cakes at the store, but it is really very easy to make your own.
What’s a good substitute for suet?
Finding real suet can be a challenge at my store. It also tends to smoke and leave a funky smell behind when I use it. For this reason, I use shortening as a base instead of suet. A mixture of lard and peanut butter works very well to hold the flour, seeds, nuts, raisins, etc. together.
Can I make my own suet?
If you want to make your own homemade suet for birds, you will need to render animal fat. You can find animal fat at your local grocery store in the meat department. If it’s not there, try asking your butcher to set some aside for you. Then, check out my post on how to render suet.
Does suet go bad?
Yes, suet can go rancid at high temperatures which is why I generally only set it out in the colder months. During the winter months, birds need suet for extra energy to stay warm. In the summer, it is enough to set them out bird food and the occasional treat or dried fruits and nuts. Suet can also damage the natural waterproofing on birds’ feathers. So, when should I put suet out? Put it out when your temperatures are closest to freezing or below.
Will squirrels eat suet?
Squirrels won’t necessarily be attracted to the homemade suet for birds. However, if you add things like seeds, nuts, or dried fruit, the squirrels will eat the suet to get the treats in it. If you have a squirrel problem, you can set out plain suet without any additions of nuts, seeds or fruit.
Materials to make homemade suet for birds
- 1 cup of shortening or lard
- 1 cup of peanut butter. I like chunky style.
- 1 cup of flour
- 3 cups of yellow cornmeal
- sunflower seeds, raisins, oats, dried fruit, small nuts, breadcrumbs, etc.
- non-stick spray
- 8″ square baking pan or dish
Winter bird suet recipe
If you want to try making homemade suet for birds, try this simple recipe below. You can easily have the kids help you with this since you don’t need to use the stove to make it. It’s a fun way to teach the kids more about the different types of birds that visit your feeders.
- Over very low heat, melt the shortening and the peanut butter. This forms the base of your homemade suet for birds and will hold all the nuts and seeds together.
- Stir in the flour and the cornmeal.
- Add seeds, raisins, oats, dried fruit, small nuts, breadcrumbs, etc. Your homemade suet for birds will have the consistency of putty.
- Spray an 8″ square baking pan or dish with non-stick spray. I use 100% extra virgin olive oil spray to avoid artificial ingredients.
- Spread the homemade suet for birds into the 8″ square baking pan or dish.
- Refrigerate until the mixture is solid.
- Cut the homemade suet for birds into squares so that it fits into a suet cage. You can find these at most garden stores or hardware stores.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.
Now that you know how to make homemade suet for birds, will you be trying it? This would make a great Earth Day activity. Do you enjoy watching birds outside in your garden?
More bird-related reading
My husband and I love to watch and feed the birds. So, if that’s a topic you enjoy as well, you might want to read a few of these articles.
- How to attract birds to your backyard
- Wild bird treats for winter energy
- Fall bird feeding tips for your backyard
- Simple bird feeder to make
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.