Please don’t pour fat, oil and grease down sinks or drains because this leads to sewer blockages. Instead, collect the fat from your roasting pan or from frying or grilling meat and mix it with seeds, nuts and raisins to make a “cake” for birds to eat. We recommend that you use as many ingredients as possible, for the health of the birds. The birds will eat everything that is put out. The shortening gives the birds energy they dearly need during cold weather.
Commercial wild bird food can be expensive. Homemade bird food is easy to make if you use up some left-overs from your green kitchen and add a few choice elements to keep the birds well fed and happy. Feeding the birds is a good way of upping your green living, especially if you are using locally sourced, organic foods and scraps for the most part.
Saving your bacon drippings and other fat from cooking will provide a good source of fats for your suet used for birds. You can also use plain suet sold in the meat department of your grocery store, or even purchase lard for a fat base. As long as you have enough fat for the recipe, you can alter the dry ingredients to suit your desires.
Fat balls and suet treats attract the following wild birds into your garden: Bluetit, Coal Tit, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, and Robin.
You can make this a family activity, and include the children. They can coat pinecones that have fallen out of the trees around your house. You can even take a butter knife and spread it on the bark of the trees. The woodpeckers and nuthatches love this.
Here is a favorite basic recipe, but many more can be found online. This recipe can easily be adjusted to the ingredients that you have on hand.
- 1 cup of fat or lard
- 1 cup of peanut butter
- 1 cup of cornmeal
- 1 cup of rolled oats
- 1 cup of wild birdseed
- 1 cup sunflower seed hearts
- 1 cup raisins
- Nuts that are not too fresh (maybe leftover from last Christmas)
- chopped dried fruit (also leftovers) can be a savings
Cream the lard and peanut butter together. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Apply to pine cone or to a wooden bird feeder. Or spoon the mixture into the paper-lined muffin tins. Allow them to harden a bit at room temperature or place them in the refrigerator. They can even be frozen until needed.
You can add any combination of sunflower seeds, raisins, chopped fruit or nuts to spice up your mixture of homemade wild bird food.
The birds absolutely love it…. They sit waiting for us to fill the feeder every day. They are sad when they eat it all. It really works!!