Feed your fine feathered friends with an easy to make Homemade Wild Bird Suet. Easy to make, you may never buy from the store again.
Homemade Wild Bird Suet
Good, hearty recipes aren’t just for us; our feathered friends appreciate good food too. This is especially important during the winter when it’s harder for them to find natural sources of nourishment and energy.At my house, we love catering to the birds that visit our backyard feeders. With literal flocks coming to visit, it doesn’t take long before it’s time to refill the feeders.
And when on a tight budget, it can sometimes be hard to refill as frequently as one might like. For this and other reasons, I came up with my own version of a homemade suet recipe.
Suet cakes aren’t the nicest of things to handle, let’s just be honest. They sure are convenient for popping into any of the wire feeders readily available at most hardware and outdoor living stores.
So when I decided to cook for the birds, can you believe I’m even saying this? I wanted to maintain the convenience of the store-bought cakes.
What ended up being the perfect mold for my concoction was an empty orange juice carton. Once the suet mixture had cooled and hardened in the carton, it was just a matter of tearing open the carton and voilà! I was left with a perfect suet brick!
- 1/2 c. rendered fat or lard
- 2 c. old-fashioned oats (not instant)
- 2 c. chunky peanut butter
- 2 c. beef broth
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. raisins/dried cranberries or chopped nuts (optional)
- 1-1/2 c. wild bird seed
- Squares of wax paper (to put between sliced cakes for storage)
- In a large pot, combine lard, oatmeal, peanut butter, broth and sugar, stirring frequently.
- Heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 20 mins. or so, or until mixture is the consistency of thick oatmeal.
- Stir in raisins and/or nuts.
- Remove from heat and stir in bird seed.
- Pour into mold and put in freezer, cooling until hardened.
- Once hardened, remove suet "brick" from freezer and allow it to soften slightly to ease in cutting.
- Store thawed cakes in refrigerator for up to one week or refreeze with a sheet of wax paper in between.
Note: This recipe is not practical for the hot summer months, when your cake will turn rancid quickly, but is great during the winter months when it will maintain its freshness and shape.
All the ingredients worked together really well. I knew the real test would be seeing if the birds would actually eat their homemade meal.
I sliced the bigger brick into smaller, manageable cakes. NOTE: you’ll have to thaw the brick slightly before slicing. Next, I loaded up the first feeder, anxious for its first visitor.
We’ve been feeding the birds out back for so long that they usually greet me with various forms of their tweets and chirps as soon as they notice I have food in hand. It was no surprise that I had something … they just didn’t know exactly what it was.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long for them to check out this new treat and within a few hours, they practically had a line forming for their chance to peck away at the new buffet item.
A Chickadee was the first to investigate the new addition. From what I’ve read, birds don’t have a good sense of smell, so even though I thought the cake smelled good, I knew they wouldn’t really notice.
After a few pecks at the cake, the Chickadee flew off to a higher perch to eat her fresh breakfast. I’m assuming she approved, given that she repeated this process for the better part of an hour.
A Bluebird was the next to scope it out and then a House Finch swooped in for a nibble too. SUCCESS!!!
This is a project I’ve wanted to try for a very long time. I am so happy that my little feathered friends approve and my budget is intact.
My girls were fascinated too since they weren’t convinced that the birds would like mommy’s cooking. Sorry girls, but this meal really is for the birds … and they love it!