Instructables
Most people would agree that to have a great variety of birds in your backyard it behooves you to have a wide variety of feeders and feed to attract avian diversity. Feeders range from tubes filled with seed, cages filled with suet, bottles filled with sugar water, and even just a shallow box placed on a pedestal filled with bread crumbs. There are countless different ways to feed birds in your backyard and I just knew the world wouldn't be able to properly function if I didn't throw out my own idea. :-) This project is easy to build, won't take up very much time, and if you're like a lot of Instructables Users you already have everything you need to complete it!
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What You WIll Need

The tools needed for this are very easy to come by and like I already have said, you probably have everything you need.

One Landscape Timber about 18-24 inches long (46-61 centimeters for my Rest-Of-The-Planet friends).

Drill

3 different sizes of spade bits (also known as a paddle bit) I used a 1/2 inch (1.3cm), 5/8 inch (1.6cm), and a 3/4 inch (1.9cm).

Some means of hanging the finished product from a tree or shepherd's hook. Somehow or another I couldn't find any zip ties (I know, I know!) so I used a length of chain I had lying around.

Suet to put into your finished feeder.

Step 2: Drill Hole. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat...

This part is very simple. Bore a hole into the wood at whatever depth you'd like (be careful not to go all the way through here). After you've made several holes with your starting bit, switch to a second size and repeat the process. Once bit number two has been utilized, go to bit number three. Once you're done with that, turn it over and start the process all over again. Very easy, nigh on impossible to screw up.
HelenaTroy9 days ago

I need something like this! - an entire suet cage disappeared from a hook about 18" above the ground - possibly squirrels; it had completely vanished, so it must have been taken right over the fence. next time I need something the **@@! can't move!

I also make my own suet to put in a suet cage. Its really good. It uses mostly lard, cornmeal, flour and rasins. Ask me if you wish the get the recipie
Am having trouble finding kidney fat (best suet). No butchers here. Grocery stores sell prepackaged meats (and most employees have no idea what suet is).

They only offer beef fat trimmings. Not really suitable for Tallahassee winters (much less summers).

SUGGESTIONS?

Please send me or post your SUET CAKE RECIPE.
Frmeyers3 months ago
Commercially sold "landscape timber" sold in the East (I have lived in Boston, Baltimore and Tallahassee) is almost always treated chemically to kill termites.

This poison MAY leach into the suet.

If possible use untreated lumber or be on the lookout for a suitable tree being taken down. Select the diameter limb and cut to length.

For a buck or two tip, the guy taking down the tree will likely cut the limb for you.
I use to make something similar. I used peanut butter and bird seed as the energy food. The birds loved it, but so do the squirrels.
Sunkicked (author)  alaskanbychoice6 years ago
Yeah, peanut butter attracts all kinds of things here in the Midwest. At my old house I lived near a fairly large wooded area and all kinds of critters would sneak into the yard for their suet fix. You've not lived until you unwittingly walk within 3 feet of a hungry raccoon sitting in a tree branch trying to abscond with your suet feeder filled with your homemade peanut butter suet. Interesting morning that was. That's the main reason I don't make suet any more and I'm hoping someone here will come up with a decent recipe for me to try that emulates the store bought stuff (non-avian critters don't seem to care for it quite as much).
I know what you are saying about peanut butter. Peanut Butter is the crack cocaine of the animal world.
A thought, you'd have to be very dedicated to clean the residue of old peanut butter from the feeder before replenishing it with more. Unfortunately rancid peanut can harbour a mold/fungus that is harmful to birds.
fake_faux6 years ago
I'm with leebryuk, suet is the hard white fat found around kidneys and loin cuts of meat. You could get it as off cuts from your local butcher or if you can't face handling the real stuff (and in the UK) you can get lard (reduced, pure suet) in block form from your local supermarket - peeps traditionally use it as shortening for pie crusts. That way you know that the suet you are using is fit for human consumption and therefore fit for avian consumption. To add the wild bird seed: cut the lard (suet) in chunks and place in saucepan on a low heat until it softens. It is important to do this process slowly so that you don't overheat it and change the nature of the fat in any way. The fat doesn't have to become completely liquid, at the point at which it is the consistency of a paste you can take the pan off the stove & stir in the wild bird seed (sunflowerseeds, millet, kibbled maize, pin head oats, red dari, whole wheat). Let the mix cool until it is of a consistency suitable to spoon into whatever feeder or mould / form you choose. I put out suet cake in winter when it is gobbled by squabbling hoards of starlings and a band of blackbirds who are known to take advantage of their size & therefore ranking in the pecking order.
implaxis6 years ago
Be aware that some landscape timbers are treated in order to prevent deterioration when in contact with soil. The last batch I bought even had a warning about handling with bare hands. You might want to insure that you get an untreated timber so you are actually feeding the birds rather than killing them. It might not weather as well but will be more friendly to the wildlife!
Sunkicked (author)  implaxis6 years ago
A very good point, and one that should be taken very seriously. The timber in my Instructable was made from untreated wood about 5 years ago (as you can tell from some of the close ups...) so no harm there,but thank you very much for pointing that out to the readers. Good call.
leebryuk6 years ago
Isn't suet the edible fat around kidneys and such? If so, suet is some sort of seed cake bound by fat?
Sunkicked (author)  leebryuk6 years ago
Suet cakes are typically comprised of crude fats and a mixture of seeds, yes. A quick and easy way to make your own, however, is to use peanut butter as it is high in fat and calories and is also pretty sticky. The downside is every creature in the forest will ravenously attack peanut butter in any form, leaving little for the birds (and causing me to empty out my wallet for more supplies).