Wild Birds Love Homemade Suet Cakes
Besides providing water and shelter, one of the easiest ways to attract wild birds to your yard is to provide them with sources of food. Even if your home landscape includes native plants that serve as natural food sources, supplies will be scarce when it’s cold outside. That’s why it’s so important, especially during the harshest days of winter, to keep your birdfeeders as well as your suet holders full.
Both local and migratory birds benefit from the nutrition found in suet. Of course, premade cakes and suet balls are readily available online and at your local home and garden retailer. But, as with most foods, homemade is best.
Suet requires little time and no special skill to make. Best of all, wild birds love it! And they'll flock to your yard to get it.
More Ways to Attract Wild Birds
EASY HOMEMADE SUET CAKE RECIPE
Before You Start Cooking
If you plan to make suet cakes, select the containers you'll use before you begin. Empty tuna cans work well, as do 11 x 7 x 2 inch glass, metal, or foil baking pans. Coat the container(s) lightly with cooking spray. If you're making suet balls, no containers are required.
Next, assemble the following ingredients. For thicker suet, add more dry ingredients. If making suet balls, you may have to add up to 6 C. cornmeal.
2 C. lard*
1 cup peanut butter
3-5 C. cornmeal
1/4-1/2 C. flour
1-2 C. oats
Optional Ingredients for Homemade Suet Cakes
Also consider using at least two of these optional ingredients: 1/4 cup sugar or less, 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit, 1/2 peanuts, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, and 1/2 birdseed mix.
*Note: Most major grocery stores carry lard. Look for it in the international foods section. I use the El Mexicano brand.
MAKE SUET CAKES AT HOME
Directions for Making Suet Cakes at Home
In a regular kitchen pot, melt the lard and peanut butter over low heat, stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes. Then stir in the flour, cornmeal and oats. If you're using sugar, add it too.
Once the ingredients are well mixed, add the optional items, such as dried fruit, seeds, and nuts. When you're finished, the warm suet mixture should be thick.
If you're making cakes, scrape the suet out of the pot and spread it into your container(s). Chill it in the refrigerator or freezer. When the suet has set, unmold it or cut it into pieces with a sharp knife.
If you're making balls, allow the suet to cool to room temperature before forming them. Wetting your hands will keep the suet from sticking to your fingers.
LINKS TO OTHER SUET RECIPES
More Suet Recipes
For most, the recipe above is ideal. With the exception of lard, it’s comprised of ingredients almost everyone has in their pantry. There are lots of ways to vary it, too, depending upon the optional ingredients you choose.
However, it's not the only suet recipe available. Many more exist. Some include bacon grease. Others recommend adding baked goods, like crackers and bread, as well as ground dried meat.
ANOTHER EASY SUET RECIPE
More Comfort Food for Birds
Here's another concoction that birds love, especially during winter. It's sort of like bird granola. No special holders are necessary. Just toss it on the ground! Or, if you're feeling fancy, place it on a tray or platform feeder.
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then, over low heat, melt two cups of cooking grease or lard. Remove the melted grease from the heat, allow it to cool a bit, and then stir in the following ingredients:
5 cups cornmeal
3 cups flour
1 cup barley
2 to 3 eggs
1 cup uncooked rice
Thin the mixture with water or milk until it’s the consistency of cake batter. Spread it into a baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Once it’s cool, crumble it with your fingers. It’s ready to serve!
netster53 on January 08, 2018:
Thanks Jill. Can't wait to try this. I will let you know how it goes.
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on January 08, 2018:
Hi netster53! Thanks for stopping by. If the mix does start to crumble on you, just add more lard and peanut butter. The birds are going to love you! I made suet last week just in time for the snow, and we've had lots of hungry, feathered visitors. Best, Jill
netster53 on January 07, 2018:
I'm going to try your first recipe listed. Trying to attract Bluebirds. Can I just add mealworms, raisins, and cranberries? Will it crumble if I add too much?
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 14, 2015:
Squirrels love the suet, too, if you like feeding our furry friends! Thanks for stopping by, ilovetolearnit.
ilovetolearnit on April 14, 2015:
I am so thankful for the information! I love our feathered friends.
Thank you for the help!
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on February 27, 2015:
It's an urban myth that rice kills birds. Why would it? Check out http://coleswildbird.com/2012/12/fact-or-fiction-n... Thanks for commenting.
Samantha on February 27, 2015:
I'm not sure uncooked rice is a good ingredient for bird suet. People stopped throwing rice at weddings because it was killing birds right?
Donna Herron from USA on January 05, 2014:
We love hanging suet out for the birds in our yard. We attract a nice varying group of woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees, and others. But we are replacing the suet cake a couple of times a week! Making are own suet will definitely save us some money, and it sounds like fun too. Thanks, as always, for sharing your great knowledge! Pinned and shared.
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on March 30, 2011:
Sounds beautiful, toknowinfo. What a wonderful view!
toknowinfo on March 29, 2011:
Interesting hub. I have a pond in the front of my house. It attracts many birds who drink and bathe in it. It also has attracted big birds who have tried to eat my fish. We remade the pond, at great expense, so the fish have shelter. Most of the birds are beautiful guests.
Jill Spencer (author) from United States on February 15, 2011:
Thanks! Hope you give one of the recipes a try. I bet your cat loves to watch the birds, and homemade suet really attracts a crowd (if that's the right word).
RTalloni on February 14, 2011: