Wednesday, December 7, 2022

How to Make Suet for Birds

Learn how to make suet for birds.  If you feed your backyard birds, switch to suet in the winter to give the birds more calories so they have the energy to keep warm.  Suet is easy and inexpensive to make, and it's a great way to use up food for no waste.

How to Make Suet Cakes for Birds

When we moved to the farm, the neighbor shows us how to make a simple log with holes in it to hold suet.

We used to live in an allotment, so I didn't worry about the birds.  But here, we have several beautiful birds that like to frequent the trees beside the living room.

So I started feeding them in the summer to encourage them to stay.  In the winter, I give them suet.

They eat a lot of suet, so I learned how to make suet feeders for birds to keep them fed.

For more DIY ideas for the outdoors, check out these posts:

Do Wild Birds Need Suet?

The question of whether wild birds need suet depends on your goals. Technically speaking your wild birds do not need suet, but they are much less likely to linger on your property if they do not have a consistent source of food. 


Suet is especially enticing for wild birds in the winter months when they expend more calories trying to stay warm in the cold months. This is why many are looking for a quality suet cake recipe, as it can attract all sorts of wonderful birds to your property.


When Should You Stop Putting Suet Out For Birds?

At no point in the year do you have to stop offering suet for wild birds. However, as previously mentioned, suet is a lot more attractive to wild birds during the fall and winter. 

This is because suet helps to replenish the energy that the birds will use up in keeping warm. As such, while you do not need to stop putting suet out, it is important to know when you should prioritize offering suet.


This is also why learning how to make suet cakes for birds is such a fun idea, as not only can it be fun to watch the birds, but it is also a great help for them as well.


What Holds Bird Suet Together?

There are a few different kinds of binding agents that you can use in a suet cake recipe. When you first learn how to make suet cakes for birds there are all sorts of binding agents that get recommended.


Many people use lard, vegetable shortening, or even peanut butter to hold all the ingredients of the homemade suet recipe together.Peanut butter is often used in tandem with lard or shortening, however, and not on its own. You can use any of these binding agents and expect about the same results.


It should be noted that some bird enthusiasts recommend sticking to real and unaltered fats as opposed to shortenings as they are much healthier. When learning how to make suet cakes for birds it is important to determine your intentions, as if you are trying to take care of your birds this may be the better option.


Can You Use Crisco For Bird Suet?

As previously mentioned, Crisco and other types of vegetable shortenings are not very healthy for either humans or birds. While you can use crisco, it is often recommended to use an unaltered fat product as a binding agent.


It is important to decide what your end goal is when learning how to make suet for birds. If your birds are pretty self-sustaining and you only want to provide them with the occasional sweet treat, using shortenings is fine.


However, if you want to have suet available consistently and take care of the birds that eat it, it is recommended that you seek a healthier alternative. 


Where Should You Hang A Suet Feeder?

The best place to hang a suet feeder is in a visible area around your home. It should be about ten to twelve feet from common perching spots such as trees, shrubs, and bushes.


If you are planning on keeping the suet feeder near a window, it is recommended to keep the feeder either three feet away or thirty feet away from the window so as to prevent birds from colliding with the window.


Why Are Birds Not Eating Suet?

There are a variety of reasons as to why your birds might not be eating your homemade suet cakes. One reason is that they simply have not discovered the feeder yet (see above tip for help with hanging the feeder). 


It could also be that the suet feeder is hung somewhere with lots of human, predator, or even bird activity which is turning birds away from going to it. It is important to hang your suet feeder somewhere that is both safe and visible.


What Is The Best Suet Feeder?

Many bird enthusiasts will try to learn how to make suet feeders for birds, but if you are interested you can buy one as well. There are plenty of suet feeders on the market. Choosing the right feeder is very important when learning how to make suet for birds.


This suet feeder by Kettle Moraine is one of the top rate suet feeders on Amazon, and is also Amazon’s choice for bird feeders.It features a cedar and stainless steel screw construction that is resistant to the elements. The wire mesh is made of a heavy gauge vinyl coated wire mesh as well.


It holds two suet cakes, meaning that you have to change the feeder less than you would with other suet feeders. It will work with chunk suet as well as homemade suet cakes as well.

You can also use a basic suet feeder to feed your birds.  I also have a combination feeder that holds bird seed and suet.


How Long Does Homemade Suet Last?

When learning how to make suet for birds, one of the most pertinent questions is how long it will last. Freshly made homemade suet cakes using a homemade suet recipe will last about five days if fresh and kept in the refrigerator. 

If you need to store it for longer I recommend storing it in the freezer where it will keep for about a year.

Other Additives for a Suet Cake Recipe

I like to save nuts, berries, raisins, and other things that birds will eat.  When there's a little bit left that's about to go bad, I put it in a freezer bag and stick it into the freezer for the next time I make a homemade suet recipe.

This helps reduce food waste, even though you could use the direct composting method with the food.  However, I prefer to be no waste when I can.


How to Make Suet for Birds (Four Easy Recipes)

Although the fat and binder is basically the same for these suet for birds recipes, here are four easy recipes to get you started.


No-Melt Suet For Birds

Use a no melt suet recipe in warmer climates because it won't melt in the heat.



To start, melt the peanut butter and lard together on the stove or by using the microwave. Then, combine all of the dry ingredients and add it into the melted fats mixture.

You can then add bird seed or other dry ingredients.  I didn't include an amount because it will depend on what you are adding.  Add enough that the mixture will still stick together.

I recommend putting the mixture into ziplock bags and then scooping it out to fill up a screen feeder. When making a suet for birds recipe it is important to note that often other animals try to escape with some suet, which is why chunks are often made. 

If you want to, however, you can also pour it into a square pan so it can be cut into squares to make homemade suet cakes.

Easy Homemade Bird Suet Recipe

This is a basic recipe that's easy to make with common ingredients.




Blend together the lard or rendered fat and the peanut butter until it forms a smooth liquid. Then, add the cornmeal and wheat flour.


Mix all of these ingredients well, as it makes the suet crumble easier which in turn makes it less messy in the warmer months. Plus, it makes it easier for the birds to eat which is always a plus when it comes to a suet for birds recipe.


Honey & Eggs Suet Recipe

This recipe is a little more advanced and more expensive due to the honey.  If you have your own bees, this recipe is perfect for you.



Mix together all of these ingredients into a large bowl. Then, pour the mixture into a greased nine-inch square pan. Bake the mixture at 350 degrees for thirty to forty minutes. Alternatively, bake it until you can insert a toothpick into the center and have it come out clean. 


Spreadable Suet Recipe

This is a softer suet, and you can spread it on a tree or board.  If you don't have a feeder, this is a good recipe for you.



In a mixing bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Add the water to the mixture and stir. Put the lard and peanut butter into a small bowl and microwave for two minutes. 


Add the peanut butter and lard to the dry ingredients mixture, as well as the raisins. Refrigerate for two hours before using.


This is a great suet for birds recipe, as it uses lots of ingredients you already have on hand. Plus, it is different from other recipes so your birds might like it a bit more.

Now you know how to make suet for birds!  I hope you enjoy watching your birds this winter.

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