Make your own suet to feed the birds
Suet cakes are easy to make and provide insect-eating birds something to eat in winter when they can't eat the berries and seeds in your garden. Of course you can buy suet cakes prepackaged at almost any grocery or hardware store. But it’s fun and satisfying to make your birds some homemade treats. And did you know that different birds enjoy different ingredients? Customize your recipe to feed your favorites! We’ll start by showing you the basic process, then scroll down for three different recipes below.
What is suet?
Suet is rendered beef fat and is the ingredient that holds all suet cakes together. You can find it at the meat counter of your local grocery store. (If you can’t find it, lard is a good substitute.)
How to make a basic suet cake
Making a basic suet cake is easy and a great way to feed your bird friends. Look below for materials and tools you will need as well as a simple step-by-step process!
Materials (makes one 4x4x2 in. suet cake):
- 1 lb. suet or lard
- 1 cup oatmeal or cornmeal
- 1 cup peanut butter
- Cutting board
- Saucepan or double boiler
- Wooden spoon or spatula spoon
- Measuring cups
- Milk carton, plastic food storage container or an ice cube tray to use as a form for the suet cake
Step 1: Combine suet ingredients
Melt suet in a double boiler over low heat until it’s clear. Using a double boiler will prevent smoking or scorching. Then stir in additional ingredients until well combined. Make sure your ingredients are chopped into small pieces — it’s much easier for the birds to enjoy.
Step 2: Add suet to a form
Scoop the mixture into a form — the bottom of a wax lined milk carton, a plastic food storage container or an ice cube tray all work well. If you’re concerned that the mixture will stick to the container, line the container with some wax paper first. And don’t forget that the mixture will be hot! Use caution to avoid any burns.
Step 3: Let the suet cake cool
Let the cake cool in the refrigerator for a few hours before you put it outside or store it in the freezer until you’re ready to put it outside.
Suet cake recipes for specific birds
Want to attract a certain type of bird to your garden? Check out the three easy recipes in the slideshow below that you can make and the type of bird it will attract.