Make Your Own Suet Bird Feeder

My Garden Life
January 1, 2018
Table of Contents

Insect-eating birds, such as woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees, wrens, juncos, blue jays, and nuthatches, can have trouble finding food during winter. Consequently, it’s a good idea to provide these birds with a feeder that offers high-energy suet to eat. The recipe below makes enough suet to fill multiple feeders. You can either gift the extra decorative bird feeders to your friends or freeze them to use later.

Nuthatch on Suet Bird Feeder in Snow



wooden spoon

mesh strainer

cookie cutters, at least one inch thick

string, cut to eight inch lengths

wax or parchment paper

baking sheet


2 cups beef fat or lard

2 cups cornmeal, ground

1 cups peanut butter, chunky

chopped unsalted peanuts, raisins, dried cranberries or birdseed (optional additions)

Cookie Cutter and Suet Bird Feed


1. Render the beef fat or melt the lard. To render the fat, chop it into small pieces. Next, heat and stir the small pieces of fat in a saucepan on low heat, until it liquefies. Lastly, strain the liquid fat several times through fine mesh to remove particles.

2. Now combine the remaining ingredients together with the fat or lard in a saucepan. If needed, turn on low heat to mix well.

3. Arrange the cookie cutters on a baking sheet that is lined with wax or parchment paper. Slide a length of string through the cookie cutter and tie a knot to create a hanger. Note: If you
prefer to remove the cookie cutter before hanging the suet cake,
then don’t tie the knot in the string yet. Instead, you will tie the
string after the suet hardens and you remove the cookie cutter (after step

4. Next, carefully pour the suet mixture inside each of the cookie cutters. Fill each cookie cutter to the brim with suet.

5. Slide the baking sheet into the refrigerator or freezer to cool and harden the suet.

6. Once hardened, securely attach the suet cakes to a tree outside. The types of birds that feed on suet tend to naturally cling to tree bark, so the feeder should be hung close to the trunk. To protect birds from predators, it’s best to suspend the feeder at least five feet above the ground.

7. Your extra suet cakes can remain in the freezer until you’re ready to hang them outside.

Hanging Suet Bird Feeder and Woodpecker eating Suet Bird Feeder


  1. Vera

    Hi @mygardenlife, would rodents come to eat it as well ?

    • My Garden Life

      Hi Vera,
      Unfortunately, “yes”, other wildlife could be attracted to the suet and seeds. Depending on the type of feeder you are using, you can try to protect a suet feeder on a post or pole with a baffle. Small suet cages or bags can dangle from cord or chain. Birds can cling to the mesh with their claws to feed but larger animals would likely struggle in any attempt to comfortably feed due to the swinging motion of the feeder. Although inconvenient, you could bring your suet feeder indoors at night to prevent nocturnal wildlife from getting into your birds’ food.


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