are suet cakes good for birds

The word “suet” refers to a hard type of white fat that’s found near the kidneys of cattle and, to some degree, sheep. People sometimes use suet in cooking (particularly in England) and in soap and candle making. This substance is also used to form nuts, seeds, and other bits of food into a solid cake form—and that’s what people refer to when discussing suet cakes for wild birds.

Birds can metabolize animal fat and use it for energy—meaning, energy for immediate use and the type they’ll store for future needs. The second type can be especially valuable as birds are preparing for or living through the winter season with suet cakes providing them with high levels of nutrition. Suet also helps birds in springtime when they’re busy building nests, but food sources aren’t plentiful.

Suet bird food attracts numerous types of birds, particularly woodpecker species. Other bird species that enjoy suet cakes include chickadees, crows, goldfinches, jays, nuthatches, robins, sparrows, starlings, warblers, and wrens.

When choosing suet products, it’s important to consider the suet itself, as well as the feeder you’ll use to provide the food to wild birds on your property. If you have questions about purchasing wild bird supplies, stop by Decker’s Nursery; contact us online; or call (631) 261-1148.

Quick History of Bird Feeding

Henry David Thoreau describes how much he likes to feed corn to birds and watch black-capped chickadees and blue jays outside his cabin in Walden, his beloved book from 1854. By 1898, suet was widely known for its ability to draw birds. Florence Merriam Bailey, a Smith College instructor, had taught her students about the practice and observed how it attracted a remarkable variety of wild birds.

Discovering the wonders of bird suet and seed is a sensible step if you value birds and want to support their nutritional needs.

DO invest in a good suet bird feeder

For a few dollars, you can purchase a cheap suet feeder and hang it from your branches to see if the birds in your backyard are interested. But soon after, you ought to spend money on a good suet feeder. What does this mean exactly?>.

Seek out a metal feeder rather than one made of plastic. Also, invest in a feeder that is specifically squirrel proof. It will have a significant impact on keeping other animals at bay. Lastly, the best course of action when purchasing a feeder is to pick it up and give it a try.

If you’re shopping online, don’t be afraid to read the reviews or ask for recommendations in person. Are the latches easy to reach? Does it feel sturdy overall?

DO Freshen Up Your Suet If It Gets Old or Stale

When your suet ages, it’s probably time to replace it. Suet is generally good for a long time (and birds will frequently eat it before it gets old), but the weather can have an impact on the quality. It most likely needs to be refreshed if you see birds visiting your suet before departing.

Just clean your feeder, take out the old suet, and replace it with a new block or pieces. Similar to other bird food or seed, you should maintain it clean and fresh to maximize its appeal to birds.


Are suet cakes healthy for birds?

It takes lots of energy for wild birds to stay warm in winter. You can help them by serving up suet for birds, a high-fat food that provides the extra calories birds need when temperatures drop. Traditionally, suet is made of rendered beef fat, though other fats, including vegetable fat, can be used.

Is suet or seed better for birds?

Suet vs. While birdseed is the top offering in many backyard feeders, suet is actually higher in easily digestible fat and calories which provides quick energy to hungry birds. This makes suet ideal for fall and winter feeding when birds need more calories to maintain body heat.

What kind of birds like suet cakes?

Suet is a food that will attract many different species, including most woodpeckers, chickadees, flickers, nuthatches, wrens, and more. You will also see the occasional warbler, thrasher, jay, and goldfinch.

When should I stop feeding my suet?

It’s a good idea to take down suet feeders in warm weather. Raw or homemade suet should not be offered in the summer. Some suet manufacturers state that their blocks will withstand temps over 100 degrees without melting; however, these might nevertheless go rancid in short order if extreme high temperatures persist.