Now, technically, suet cakes are made from rendered beef fat that theoretically can be purchased at a butcher or sometimes found in the meat department of the grocery store. But in Real Life I've found that when I am able to find suet, the birds don't care for it as much as what I make myself. Pre-made, pre-packaged suet cakes can be purchased at the dollar store for - guess what - a dollar each, or you can make them very frugally at home with leftovers.
For us, making our own suet cakes involves my best parenting skills, some homeschooling lessons and satisfies a portion of our entertainment budget - birdwatching.
For starters, begin to collect the following:
- "edges" off of PB&Js (<---parenting skills!)
- freebie bran cereal that gives everyone tummy aches if they eat it (coupons!)
- stale cheerios (coupons again!)
- forgotten fruit including skins and cores
- lumpy grits
- spilled oatmeal
- stale bread
- heels of bread - but only after you've made enough bread crumbs
- raisins that get spilled in the pantry and are too dirty to eat
- stale cookies
- peanuts that the 3 year old sucked the salt off of and tried to put back in the jar (!)
- mushy blueberries that no one will eat
- etc., etc.
|See? Bird stuff on the right, hot dog buns on the left.|
|Mmmm, mmmm! |
|Slice and serve!|
Store the unused portion in the freezer. Again, it would be a good idea to label the container. You don't want Daddy-o getting his hopes up for a freezer pie and then having them horribly dashed when he takes a bite of that gross stuff.
Oh, and if you look really carefully in the picture above you'll see a blue snowflake-looking sequin where the cake slice was removed. That's from where I swept up something - probably cheerios - off the floor and just dumped it in....!
Now, go take that chunk-o-suet-cake and put it in your suet feeder that is hung alongside your other bird feeders and watch the show. You'll enjoy woodpeckers, various sparrows, tufted titmice, nuthatches, and even cardinals.
|Here's a little downy woodpecker....|
|...all of 5 minutes after I put the suet into the feeder!|
Enjoy the birds!