How To DIY A Suet Block To Feed Your Outdoor Bird Friends

If you're an aspiring birder wanting to attract a variety of feathered friends to your yard, you may have contemplated buying a suet cage. This style of bird feeder appeals to many different species, and you can buy premade suet blocks to fit inside them. Avid birders, however, enjoy making their own suet blocks filled with fat-laden ingredients birds not only need for energy, but a few extra goodies they love.

One thing most homemade suet blocks have in common is animal fat. It can take the form of fat purchased from a butcher and melted on low heat (rendered fat), or you can buy premade lard at your local supermarket and melt that into a liquid. After it's poured into a suet mold or plastic container in a size appropriate for your cage feeder, you simply pop that in the fridge or freezer until it's firm enough to remove it and place it in your cage. Any unused blocks like these can be frozen for up to six months. This type of suet is enough to give birds energy, but it's also fun to add a few goodies to make it even more of a prized find in your yard.

Ingredients birds love to find in a suet block

There are several recipes you can follow to make a suet block laden with ingredients birds love to snack on. A good basic one requires 1 cup bird seed, 1/2 cup dried fruit (like raisins but other dried fruits work, too), 1/2 cup peanuts, and 1 cup of oats mixed together. You then add 1 cup melted lard or rendered fat, stir well, and press the mixture firmly into a mold or square plastic container. Once it thoroughly cools in the fridge or freezer, remove the block from the mold and place it in your suet cage.

Some suet recipes even suggest adding dried mealworms or crickets, which may sound repulsive to you but the birds you're feeding should feel quite differently if you decide to go that route. You can also sub coconut oil and peanut butter to replace lard if you want a plant-based alternative (via Fine Gardening). Doing a bit of research to learn about which of these snacks are most attractive to the birds you want to draw into your yard can also help you decide what to add to your homemade suet blocks.