Does anyone else make their own suet cakes for the birds?
Just wondering since from time to time, I see statements from backyard bird feeder people about buying suet cakes in various "flavors" and components. Apparently the store bought varieties are quite popular among their local birdy populations and to be sure, the price is usually quite cheap, especially if bought in bulk.
Tried it, birds didn't like it and regardless of which type cake I put out, nary a nibble so... looked up the components and make the cakes myself using the same seeds and peanuts that I typically feed anyway. The only difference is that after trying different stores and markets, honest to goodness suet is very hard to find so I use regular lard instead. Spoke with someone once who used bacon fat but I decided against that since it probably still contains all the nitrates/nitrites, additives, etc. that the health community tells us humans to stay away from. Besides, even though I love bacon, it would take years for me to accumulate enough bacon fat to make more than one suet cake knockoff.
Just as information in case you have nothing else to do and want to mess up your kitchen a bit, the main ingredients are as follows:
1# plain lard (cooking aisle with the oils, Crisco and such)
1 small container of chunky peanut butter (cheapest brand works fine, improves the texture and "stickiness")
plain bird seed mixed with BOSS seeds
peanuts (halves or if whole, whizzed in a food processer a few times works best)
corn meal (binder)
Melt, mix and pour into a suitable container. Cut sections before the mix cools completely or you'll have to use a serrated knife to section it out.
Birds gobble it down and after observing for many hours over the course of several years, have found no species that won't eat it. The only issue with this method is that by using lard instead of actual suet, this mixture will not hold up to warm ambient temperatures so is usable only in cold weather.