how to make bird suet feeders

My family loves to bird-watch. We have several feeders in our yard and one of us always watches out our front window, hoping to catch sight of a new feathered visitor to our front feeder. Although we put out seed year-round, we always make up a suet feeder (or seven) for the wild birds in the colder months. Want to be kind to your winter birds? Of course you do! So, let them eat (suet) cake!

Suet, or rendered fat, is an important supplement for most birds. In the winter, the fat helps add to the bird’s stores of energy and helps them survive the long, cold months. In the spring, the fat helps with the increased energy demands of nesting birds.

Most birds that enjoy suet feeders are clinging feeders such as nuthatches or woodpeckers. However, many birds will partake in a helping of fat every now and then when food is scarce.

Suet Feeder in a Coffee Mug for Winter Bird Feeding

After it solidified, I hung the suet feeder from a tree using a carabiner!

If I didn’t already have a carabiner, I would have just used a loop of jute twine to tie it to a branch.

If anyone is wondering whether the birds genuinely ate from the suet feeder, the answer is yes.

The takeaway: This suet feeder is a great place to start if you’ve ever wondered how to make bird suet or how to make a DIY bird feeder. It was also a very affordable option because it involved upcycling a coffee mug!

And if you like this upcycling project for a suet bird bath, you’ll also like this easy-to-make bird bath made out of a casserole dish lid!

Additionally, check out this post for a variety of upcycled projects made for birds.

How to Make Bird Suet for a Suet Feeder with Ceramic Coffee Mugs

I went to Goodwill and picked out some ceramic coffee mugs, then I brought them home and put them in the dishwasher.

Even if the materials are for the birds, I always prefer to begin a project with clean materials!

There are two ways you can turn a coffee mug into a suet feeder now:

I opted for number 2 as an experiment. It seemed fairly simple to make suet for a suet feeder, even though I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it.

I rendered some beef suet that I bought from Whole Foods. e. , melted and turned into liquid) in a pot over my stove.

I took some sticks out of the yard to make perches for my homemade bird feeders while it was rendering. I cut them so that they would protrude about 4 inches past the top of the mugs and touch the bottom.

Once that was done, I filled the coffee mugs about halfway with bird seed.

Then, I placed the “perches” into the seed. To ensure the perches stayed in place later on, I wrapped some heavier-gauge jewelry wire around each one.

At last, I filled each suet feeder with homemade bird suet or rendered beef suet!

I will admit that rendering beef fat to make bird suet smelled horrible in my kitchen, so be warned!

To allow the suet to solidify and cool down, I put my suet bird feeder in the refrigerator.

I used my stick perch to stir it occasionally to evenly re-distribute the seed during the approximately hour it took for it to solidify again.

How to Make a Suet Feeder

It only takes a few simple ingredients to make a homemade suet feeder. You probably already have most of these items at home.

how to make bird suet feeders

Gather your seeds, dried fruit, and nuts. I used equal portions of each. Mix them together in a large bowl.

Add the seed mix to the mini bundt pan. Fill it about half full. Melt the fat in a double boiler. I filled two mini bundt pans with about half a pound of lard.

how to make bird suet feeders

Transfer the liquefied fat onto the seed mixture within the small bundt pans. You can place the pan in the freezer for about an hour or allow the fat to solidify at room temperature.

After the fat solidifies, take the suet out of the mini bundt pan. To help remove the suet from the pan, you may need to run the pan under some warm water.

how to make bird suet feeders

Using a length of twine, create a loop, and then tie an overhand knot at one end. Put one end of the twine through the hole in the center of the suet and the other end through the loop on the other side.

Prepare your freshly made suet feeder and watch for some contented birds!


What holds bird suet together?

There are many different no-melt suet recipes available, and you can even tweak your own personal recipe to keep it from softening in the heat. In general, no-melt suets contain less fat and greater quantities of flour, oats, cornmeal, or other absorbent components that will help bind the fat together without melting.

Can you put suet in a regular bird feeder?

Described as the “ultimate trail mix for your wild birds,” you can combine this with your suet dough and put it out in your bird feeders to attract bluebirds, cardinals, robins, warblers, woodpeckers, and more.

How long does it take for birds to come to suet feeder?

Birds locate food purely by sight, so while birds may notice the food right away, it could still take them 3-4 weeks to eat from a new feeder. Possibly twice that long for a specialty feeder (suet, peanut, etc.).