Bird Suet Recipes, Best Suet Cakes and Suet Feeders

red-bellied woodpecker on suet feederBird Suet is a high energy food made from animal fat  and is particularly attractive to woodpeckers, but lots of others birds like chickadees and nuthatches enjoy it as well.

Bird Suet feeders are mesh containers which hold suet blocks and allows "clinging" birds to feed through holes. The wire cages helps keeps out squirrels and raccoons.

During the summer months, suet can go rancid and be a problem because it easily melts due to the warmer temperatures. Here is a recipe that you can use to prevent those issues:

No Melt Hot Weather Suet Recipe, Use Year-Round

bird suet recipes
  • 1 cup lard or rendered suet*
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups quick oatmeal
  • 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (optional, but gives a little calories/energy boost, especially for wintertime use)
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Melt the lard and peanut butter in the microwave or in a pan over low heat. If using a microwave, stop and give it a stir at least every 30 seconds or minute.
  3. Pour the lard and peanut butter mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture into a container for cooling that will either fit the dimensions of your suet holder or you can divide and roll the mixture into balls or any shape you wish. If using say a bread loaf pan, line it with wax paper so the loaf will be easy to lift up and remove. You can also use cupcake tins lined with cupcake holders as well. You can cool the mixture in the refrigerator.
  5. After cooling, if needed, cut your suet loaf into individual suet cakes to fit your suet feeder and enjoy the bird feast to come!
  6. Any additional suet cakes can be stored in the freezer for future use. I use one big ziploc bag and place the individual cakes between pieces of wax paper so they will be easy to separate later.

What is Suet, Tallow, and Lard?

*Suet is raw beef or mutton fat, typically from around the kidneys and loins. You can find this sometimes packaged in supermarkets or simply ask your butcher behind the meat counter for some.

Beef Tallow is the rendered suet - heated and strained liquid fat - what you would use when making your bird suet cake.

*Lard is pork fat which also comes from the loins and kidneys, but also from fatback and caul fat. You can often find rendered lard packaged in small blocks in the cooking or Mexican food aisles in your grocery store.

No To Crisco!

DO NOT USE Crisco or other hydrogenated oil (vegetable shortening) products. Hydrogenated oils are neither good for us nor the birds. Stick to using fats that are real and unaltered.

Another Simple Bird Suet Cake Recipe

Other Suet Recipes

The above recipe is a basic starter recipe for suet.

You can replace the cornmeal, oatmeal and flour with nuts, fruits, sunflower seeds, wild bird seed mixes, etc..

You just want the proportion of the lard and peanut butter mixture (wet ingredients) to be enough to hold together the dry ingredients.

If starlings are a problem at your suet feeder, discourage them by using a suet feeder with access only from the bottom or which requires birds to hang upside down. Starlings are reluctant to perch upside down.

If you want to buy bird suet online, the commercially produced suet cakes are processed in such a way to help prevent the suet from melting and going rancid, especially in hot climates.

Melting is not such as issue, of course, during winter bird feeding.

Types of Birds Attracted to Suet

Black-capped and other Chickadees, White-breasted & Red-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Creepers, Cardinals, Wrens

Related Bird Feeding Pages:

Wild Bird Food

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