Bird 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:
*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.
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.
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.
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