Mon Jan 23, 2012, 07:46 PM
fadedrose (5,955 posts)
Making my own suet
Woodpeckers love it.
Bought some suet in spring and a lot of birds ate it - blue jays, rose-breasted grosbeaks, flickers, and some I just can't remember.
So I decided to make it. Lots of recipes on the web - I use melted suet, corn meal, peanut butter, peanuts, cracked corn, seeds, and whatever else I could scrounge up. It goes twice as fast as the ones I purchased.
Am using the empties from the suet I purchased to fill with the homemade, but the little plastic square ones that come in a pack fit the wire cages fairly well.
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Making my own suet (Original post)
Response to fadedrose (Original post)
Fri Feb 3, 2012, 12:15 PM
Submariner (7,363 posts)
1. Pure suet mostly for woodpeckers
I wanted something just for woodpeckers, because the other birds (Chickadees and Tufted Titmouse) would shoo off the woodpeckers to get to the suet with seeds mixed in it. The bird food lady at the local shop said that the pure suet would be most attractive to the woodpeckers, and discourage the other birds, which it did. The Chickadees and Titmouse (and the local squirrel family) still stop by for some suet, but not as often, and they don't harass the woodpeckers off those wire cages nearly as much as they used to.
If it wasn't for the other birds bullying the woodpeckers, I'd try your recipe.
I have a separate squirrel buster feeder chock full of nuts and seeds for the non- woodpeckers, even though the woodpeckers jump over for an occasional seed fest.
Response to Submariner (Reply #1)
Sat Feb 4, 2012, 01:49 AM
fadedrose (5,955 posts)
2. The only ones who keep the woodpeckers away are starlings..
Two or three times a week a hundred starlings land for about an hour or so and hang on feeders. Then they go away.
The titmice and chickadees, or the nuthatches don't bother them because the woodpeckers won't get off. We use a lot of peanuts - shelled and unshelled in the birdfeeders. I don't buy mixed bird seed because nobody eats milo. I buy in bulk at the pet store - mostly large sunflower, some small, plain millet, peanuts, some crushed corn, shelled sunflowers, and mix it all up. Expensive, but nice birds come and they eat it all.
I have 4 or 5 downy woodpeckers and at least 3 red-bellied. The downies live here - all day hanging on the homemade suet cakes - the red-bellied come off and on all day. In spring, the flickers and grosbeaks will eat the suet packets too.
1 cup of suet, (strain)
(I make more than that) When it cools, I strain and put whatever doesn't strain into a chopper. Refrigerate...
When I want to make the suet packets:
I remelt the strained suet
Add a cup of peanut butter
A cup or two of corn meal
Or masa harina (cooked corn flour) - it's cheaper than cornmeal
a cup of oatmeal
maybe a half-cup of raisins
and a couple of cups of crushed peanuts
I use very very little commercial bird seed because I seldom have it.
This is doubled or tripled to make as much to fill little plastic containers as I have empty
Regretfully just bought a box of 18 suet packs for $10.00 at Meijer's. It has been going so slow because of ALL THE DAMNED BIRD SEED IN IT. So I put 3 packets in a pot, melted and added more plain suet and about 2 cups of peanut butter, masa harina, oatmeal and PEANUTS, not mixed bird seed. The bird seed is now cut down so that the woodpeckers love the doctored ones that I bought. They never leave, all day. Have to fix the rest of the packets in the box. It made about 6-7 good packets...
Next time I melt some of the store-bought, I may put it through a strainer when it cools to remove most of the bird seed and maybe just add peanut butter.
I guess you can tell, it's kind of fun to mess around with. My husband was going to have a fit over the stuff I was doing, but now when he sees how much the woodies like it, he's happy to take the packets out.
If you melt it down and just add peanut butter, they'll appreciate it.
We also just take a jar of peanut butter and spread it here and there on branches...