suet bird feed ingredients

For the Birds: Suet Logs

Each December the urge to create sets upon our home.  C looks forward to taking a few days off before Christmas to play in Santa’s Workshop.

This year the project idea came from a store-bought gift we’d given C’s mum this summer.  It was a bird feeder – a Suet Log to be more specific.  It’s a just like a tree branch with holes drilled & filled with a suet mixture.  The birds, especially the woodpeckers, flocked to her 3rd floor deck.  They LOVED it.

The fellow at the store said many birds find their food inside the bark of trees, so these feeders attracted more birds than those looking for seeds.  Customers had reported over 110 different varieties of birds using this feeder.

bird feeder
photo by SVSeekins

C had to make some himself.  His Santa’s Workshop project plan was in place early.

All summer & fall we put commercial  ‘bark butter’ into Mum’s feeder each time we were at her apartment.  After a while the cost added up, so I figured it was time to try making the bird feed from scratch, too.

A year or so ago Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary had given me instructions for pine cone bird feeders.  Homemade bird suet was stuffed into open pine cones.   The idea had intrigued me then, so I’d kept the instruction sheet.  I figured the suet should work just as well inside the drilled holes of C’s logs as it would inside the pine cones.  Although I’d come across those instructions this summer & put them ‘somewhere safe’, do you think I could find them now?

In the end I found a recipe from Garden Wise magazine that would do the trick.

suet bird feed ingredients
photo by SVSeekins

Procuring most of the ingredients was straight forward.  Peanut butter, dried fruit & breadcrumbs were already stocked in the kitchen.   I washed egg shells & stored them frozen until I needed them.  The sunflower seed & millet was bought in the bulk section at Buckerfields, a local feed store.

The rendered fat (suet) was a little tougher. I looked around for plain suet blocks that could be melted down & converted into this pliable recipe for the logs.  Even on sale these would not be cost-effective.

It turns out that suet is available from the butcher.  I went to a butcher that specializes in British fare.  Apparently the British use suet in spotted dick – a steamed pudding.  Who knew?

Once I’d collected the ingredients for our bird suet, it didn’t take long to put it all together.

suet bird feed in jars
photo by SVSeekins

For packaging, it was important to me not be wasteful.  So I decided on canning jars.  I had lots of them, & they can be re-used or recycled.

We’re pretty happy with the finished product.    Now we’re waiting to see what kind of bird will be the first to find the new feeder in our garden.

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© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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8 thoughts on “For the Birds: Suet Logs”

    1. First I’m looking forward to some birds FINDING the feeder. It took a few days for the one on Mum’s deck to be discovered, too. Photos of birds feeding would be nice, too. The old digital I have works fine for many things, but tight shots of movement isn’t it’s strong suit. I have my fingers crossed.

  1. Yo SV; something that I can do for my yard – and I know what you mean about the digital camera for bird shots. We have a group of about 5 blue jays that visit our backyard regularly that I would love to take some pictures of, but none of them turn out. And we also had a couple of large woodpeckers that were the size of magpies in our yard last month. Maybe your recipe will lure them back?
    ps. that pudding recipe sounds icky :)

    1. There’s a really good chance that the woodpeckers will be back – - perhaps they’ve just gone south? They stick around here year round, but I remember the flickers showing up in the spring up north…. and, Yeah, just the name of that pudding puts me off a bit, much less that rendered fat is a major ingredient :-) They’re the same cooks responsible for Haggis…

  2. Cool idea, I’m sure the birds will spread the word once they have a taste. You may have a new job to keep you busy!!

    1. let me know if you try it out…. ingredients are available & you’ve got the skills. I look forward to seeing your photos of the birds up there that enjoy it

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