Feed the birds! They need us, and we need them more than we think about when we are rushing around. There is no rushing around when we are watching birds. There is just quiet, breathing, listening, focusing. Life stands still for a minute and we can remember that it’s so beautiful. And there is something just especially satisfying about giving the birds something made with our own hands. Plus it’s easy, frugal, and it makes great gifts for bird-watching enthusiasts! Think how amazed they will be when you give them homemade suet for their birds. Wrap sliced suet in plastic and stick a bow on top. Place it in a bag with pretty tissue paper and a gift tag. Now you are a creative genius!
How to Make Your Own Wild Bird Suet:
16 ounces lard
1 cup peanut butter
crumbled leftover bread
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (not cornmeal mix)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup chopped apple
1 cup other fruit (raisins, berries, etc)
Melt lard and peanut butter in a large pan on the stove over low heat. Turn off the heat and add flour, cornmeal, and sugar.
Wow, that peanut butter looks good. I have to stop and get some crackers and eat it. Why has it been so long since I’ve had crackers with peanut butter???
Oh, yeah, back to the birds…
Chop whatever fruit you have available. Crumble leftover bread. How much crumbled bread you’ll need will vary depending on what kind of bread you use. Here, I used about 10 small rolls and half a dozen pieces of sandwich bread.
Add diced fruit and crumbled bread to the pan. You can also add whatever you have on hand, like seeds or nuts. I used crunchy peanut butter, by the way–for the nuts. Is this easy or what? Add more crumbled bread if necessary. You want to get the mixture to the point where the bread is absorbing all the liquid and you have a thicky, gooey pile of birdie goodness.
Scoop the homemade wild bird suet into a large loaf pan. If you have any leftover, put it in an additional bowl and use it first. Refrigerate overnight or stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours if you’re impatient.
Don’t be surprised when you take it out if your family tries to eat it. It looks so good. Man, those are gonna be some lucky birds!
Cut a slice as needed to place in your suet feeder while keeping the remaining suet refrigerated. (Or freeze in easy slices to take out as needed.) The birds will love you!
we put up a suet feeder just this week. The raccoons got it by the second night and it is history…
On February 17, 2008 at 7:35 am
Oh, wait…is that Mary Poppins in the background?? “Feed the birds…” Great suet recipe! We’ll have to see if we can do this project this week…I think you’re getting more bang from your buck than “tuppence a bag” on this one.
On February 17, 2008 at 9:59 am
How cool! My Mom was just talking about wanting me to stop at the feed store and pick up some more suet for her. Maybe I’ll just make some — and keep some for myself, too!
Hey, I made the Grandmother Bread — awesome! ALthough I think I cooked it too soon. I put it in when it had risen double like you said, but it’s kind of dense. It was rising so fast, I think I could have let it rise some more! But it was really good and it made AWESOME french toast this morning!
On February 17, 2008 at 10:26 am
My neighbors have a bird feeder, and a brick house. Very important thing to have when some of the birds you feed are wood peckers. We have a cedar house. I wish there were some way to just feed the little song birds I see hopping around. The last time I put up a suet feeder, it had three big woodpeckers on it fighting for the seed. When I took it down, they kept flying past the spot looking for it as if it might magically materialize if they kept ‘buzzing’ the area.
On February 17, 2008 at 10:30 am
We have 3 seed feeders and one suet feeder. All of them certainly get a work-out.
I’m going to try that suet recipe – it looks better than anything I can buy. Will it keep in warmer temps. (40 – 55 degrees) or do you think it’ll turn rancid and hurt my bird friends?
I’ve only taken one pic of our birds so far. I’ll have to take more. LOVE your picture of the cardinal – I have yet to successfully take a decent picture of one. (sigh)
Here’s the only pic I’ve done so far – scroll down a bit and you’ll see my mob of finches. Hungry little buggers!
On February 17, 2008 at 12:52 pm
Noble Pig says:
What a cute idea. I have never heard of a suet before. My kids would love to do this. Thanks for the idea.
On February 17, 2008 at 12:53 pm
Suzanne McMinn says:
Ann, I guess it depends on how long it takes your birds to go through a slice of suet? If you think it’s going to take them a week to go through a slice, maybe just put out half a slice at a time?
On February 17, 2008 at 1:04 pm
Tori Lennox says:
You are SO handy!!!
On February 17, 2008 at 1:13 pm
Our problem this year is we’ve never gotten consistently cold this year. 20 degrees for several days, 55 degrees for several days. If it were our normal winter…
I’m going to give the recipe a go anyway – it is only February!
On February 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm
Kim A. says:
I haven’t seen or heard any cardinals so far this winter and now I know why: They caught wind of your suet and have taken off for southern climes!
It’s a great idea, but I’m sticking with the bird seed in my feeder. That’s even easier, given that I hate any kind of food preparation. 😆
On February 17, 2008 at 1:44 pm
I would do this but I might attract even more bears to my house if I do!
On February 17, 2008 at 2:18 pm
Thanks for the suet recipe. I feed a lot of birds, but not many of them eat suet.
On February 17, 2008 at 3:32 pm
Alice Audrey says:
This looks almost good enough for human food. Almost because I’m not real fond of lard – in the mouth or on the butt.
On February 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm
Thanks so much for the suet recipe! I’d heard you could make your own but didn’t know how.
On February 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm
I’d do this, but we have raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, neighbours’ cats and groundhogs (but they don’t climb, do they?). Somehow I don’t think that suet would last in our in backyard. :clock:
On February 17, 2008 at 4:15 pm
If it wasn’t for the lard, I would definitely try some!! I have a feeder and the squirrels used to get it but I finally found a place they can’t get to. Plus it has to be out in the open so my ferals/strays don’t get to them.
On February 17, 2008 at 7:54 pm
Sandy Levin says:
In my part of the country (Southern California), we put out hummingbird feeders. Just a little sugar water brings up right up to my back patio
On February 17, 2008 at 8:55 pm
The pictures did look appetizing. :hungry:
I live in such a warm climate, that even though we do get some cold weather, we get too many warm days in winter to use suet. It gets melty. :fan:
On February 18, 2008 at 1:48 pm
I make my own too, but it is pretty different from this. Thanks you gave me some ideas of things to add! 🙂
On February 25, 2008 at 5:55 pm
I need this recipe! My downy woodpecker and Red Bedllied woodpecker will love this as well as my white breasted nuthatch! the darn starlings will eat it all though :rambo: :wall:
On March 11, 2008 at 8:42 pm
I tried the recipe and used it at the same time as a store bought one. First of all they have abandoned the store bought one and the woodpeckers have decided to fight World War 3 for access rights to the new treat. Hopefuly things will settle down soon but the store bought product is history. By the way, the plastic tray that came with the store bought poduct makes a great mould. … Thank you
On June 4, 2008 at 6:16 pm
I just purchased two suet feeders yesterday, we have woodpecker – YeA! Anyway, I can’t wait to try out your homemade recipe. I bet they are going to love it.
On December 10, 2008 at 7:27 am
One little comment tho that’s sooo important, once you start feeding you should keep feeding until the bugs come out in Spring again – I work at a Fish and Game office so this is coming from those with a bit of knowledge! :sheepjump:
On December 17, 2008 at 3:54 pm
kimberly adkins says:
Hi, I am looking for a quick and easy recipe to use a tour homemakers meeting tomorrow night. This is my first attempt at making bird suet. Wish us luck…..
On April 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm
Cindy Wintergerst says:
I love your website. The birds are loving the homemade suet and I am anxious to try some of your other crafts and recipes.
On December 12, 2009 at 9:08 am
Momof 7girls says:
to stop the squirrels from robbing the feeders we put the dog run line up between trees and hung the feeders from them; the birds love it and the squirrels have moved on to the neighbors!
On December 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm
Would lard be the same thing as Crisco, or is it something else? I’ve never used lard. Not sure where to buy it.
On January 8, 2010 at 11:22 pm
Suzanne McMinn says:
No, lard is animal fat whereas shortening is vegetable fat. They are interchangeable in most recipes. Lard is sold in the same section of the store where Crisco is sold.
On January 9, 2010 at 7:19 am
Just a question on the suet – how long can the suet last? I want to make them for Christmas gifts and want to know how far in advance I can make them? Love the recipe ideas for animals!!
On September 5, 2010 at 11:34 am
Suzanne McMinn says:
Chris, you can make the suet up in advance now and freeze it! I do that all the time.
On September 5, 2010 at 11:42 am
Hi Susanne, we feed the birds all year roun,my Hubby goes through nearly 100 pounds of seed a month, and a bit more in the winter, I also feed the deer, I know the pros and cons of that but I do it any way. Last year one evening we had 16 deer at one time come from the woods to eat it is the most beautiful thing, I want to run and hug them all.
Back to what I want to ask, can I add some of the bird seed mix to this mixture?
On November 10, 2010 at 6:52 am
I was searching the internet for an old fashioned recipe for Sand Tart Cookies….and somehow ended up on your page…I have been so mesmerized and enchanted for the last 2 hours, that I forgot about making the cookies!! Thank you for such wonderful stories!!
On December 22, 2010 at 7:45 pm
Connie Large says:
I enjoyed looking at your website and would like to try this recipe. Can Crisco be substitued for the suet?
On December 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm
Suzanne McMinn says:
Connie, yes, I have used Crisco for suet.
On December 30, 2010 at 12:49 pm
Ellen in DE says:
Suzanne, I’ve heard it’s better to use Crisco (vegetable shortening) than it is to use lard, which is unnatural in birds’ diets. I save old bread, whatever, cereal, etc, etc, and throw it in with Crisco and peanut butter and whatever else I have on hand. I saved a plastic form that I got with purchased suet and use that to form my cakes, then roll them in birdseed….Yummy…If you add some hot sauce (ideally, dried hot peppers but I never remember to buy them) squirrels will stay away from it. Birds can’t taste the hot spices! :sheepjump: :duck:
On January 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm