Making bird suet | Living the Country Life

Making bird suet

Cooking is for the birds and they appreciate it!

Help out your feathered friends this winter by making homemade suet cakes for them. It provides a high-energy source of fat and protein during increased energy needs in colder weather. Pure suet is the fatty tissue around a cow’s kidneys. You could also use pork lard, lamb fat, or even Crisco.

Dave Shiley is an Extension educator at the University of Illinois. He says if you choose lard or Crisco, it’s ready to go. If you use beef suet, the fat has to be rendered, or melted down first.

"You melt that down under very low temperatures in a double boiler so that you’re not going to scorch it, you’re not going to burn it," says Shiley. "You’re going to let that cool a little bit and strain out the impurities through some cheesecloth, let that cool down, and then reheat it again, and strain it a second time. That’s going to increase the shelf life when you’re actually feeding the birds that suet cake."

Make your songbird buffet with ingredients of your choice. However, don’t add sunflower seeds in the shell. Birds have more trouble opening them when their beaks are greasy.

"A typical standard recipe is to use a pound of let’s look at beef fat, that combined with one cup of corn meal, one cup of peanut butter, and then some type of bird seed, depending on what you want to feed," says Shiley. "That might be sunflower hearts or millet, or cracked corn."

Mold them in a container that’s easy to get the cakes out of. You can shape it just like the store-bought suet cakes, or offer it in crumbs on a platform feeder. If you want to be more creative, pour it into ice cube trays and serve it little squares.

Find more tips for making bird suet

Basics of bird feeding

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