If you enjoy the company of wild birds in your backyard you can attract more species by offering a variety of foods. Suet is one type of bird food that will attract woodpeckers, mocking birds, cardinals, and more. You can use suet bought from a local pet store, but I have found making my own attracts more birds and they tend to visit more often because they prefer the taste of suet made at home. You should only use this suet when the temp is 80 degrees or below due to the risk of the lard spoiling and going rancid. You can make this recipe in about 15 minutes and you can make as much as you want by multiplying the recipe. Just simply store the extra suet in your refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Recipe to make about four suet cakes:
- 2 Cups of lard ( you can get this at any grocery store and it’s cheap )
- 2-3 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter ( the cheap stuff is fine, creamy or chunky )
- 2 Cups yellow cornmeal
- 2 Cups flower (white or wheat )
- 2 Cups old fashioned Oats ( You can use quick oats but the old fashioned are better as they are a natural non-processed food )
- 1 Cup white sugar
- Bird Seed as needed.
Start by melting lard and peanut butter in a large pan. After it liquefies add sugar, oats, cornmeal, and flower. Be sure to mix each ingredient well as you add them. You can then add any or all of the following: bird seed, sunflower seeds, raisins, or nuts. You don’t have to add the additional items and the birds will enjoy it just as well. The sugar is a great addition in the winter to give your wild birds extra energy to keep warm, however it can be omitted.
The end result after cooking should be very liquid, but hard to stir. After everything is mixed, pour into a disposable aluminum pan or, if you plan to make this often, you can purchase a square silicone baking pan. You can find them at most any store that carries cooking supplies and they work really well as the suet doesn’t stick to the pan and is easy to remove. The square silicone baking pan is perfect to make 4 standard sized suet cakes that will work well with any standard suet feeder. Leave the suet sitting on the counter until it is mostly hard. Use a knife and cut it into 4 squares, cover with plastic wrap and put in your refrigerator. At this point it’s ready to use and your wild birds will be very happy.
You should play with this recipe and change it around. I have found you can omit and exchange many items and the birds still love it. I have made suet before without having all of the ingredients or the right amount. I simply omitted the missing ingredient and exchanged it by adding more of another ingredient. You will see that it’s fun to play around with and watch how different birds respond to the different tastes you will create for them. Good luck and happy bird watching!