Introduction: Home Made Suet Feeder
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!
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).
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.
Step 3: Break on Through to the Other Side...
In order to hang the feeder you'll need to drill a hole all the way through the timber. Unless you're using a corded drill you should expect a bit of battery drainage after this step. I was able to complete the entire project and use my drill for an additional 10 minutes of (very) light duty work on one charge but there was a noticeable lack of spunk after this part. I drilled through on two sides; once through the height (laying down) and once through the width. You don't have to go through both ways, but it opens up some more possibilities about where/how you can hang it.
Step 4: The Dirty Hands Part
This part of the Instructable is my favorite because I get to get my hands messy for a constructive reason. Anyone who has read my Quick and Easy Margherita Pizza Instructible will understand that I like to get "involved" with the project, rather than use a utensil that could get the job done :
A) More efficiently
B) Less messily (it's a word now)
Basically just take your suet cake and jam it into the holes. As you do this the cake will crumble and you'll get a fairly good sized pile of suet that you can use when you go to fill the other side. If you look at the pictures you can see a good example.
Step 5: Shoo the Dogs Away
If you're fortunate enough to have dogs then you are probably already aware of their insatiable curiosity (read: hunger) about anything even remotely resembling something they can eat. Shoo them away. I don't think that commercially bought suet would be necessarily bad for a dog, but I wouldn't want to clean up the mess if it was.
Step 6: Flip It! Flip It Good!
Using the pile of crumbled suet first, fill the holes on the other side of the timber. After that is used up go back to the cake and repeat step 4. You can use the second pile of crumbled suet to fill up the unused hole made by drilling through both ways in step three. You will probably use about 2/3 of the cake, which should be wrapped up and put into the fridge for later use.
Step 7: Hang in There
If you're a good person then you will have several different methods available to you for hanging your finished product, but my recommendations are nylon string or zip ties. I seem to be falling short in the Good Person Department of late and could not locate anything other than a length of chain. Lacking any feasible way to connect both ends of the chain together without trying some weird chain knot tying, I dug deep into my intellectual reserves and improvised by using a paper clip.It has held for over a week now so apparently it wasn't as stupid an idea as I thought it was as I hung the timber from the tree out back, lamenting my lack of zip ties. Once you've picked out a good spot for the timber just hang it up and you're done!
Step 8: Fin
One additional thing you can add to this project is a collection of little dowel rod perches for the birds to sit on while the chow down. I didn't include this because the first one I made was a big hit with woodpeckers and they had no trouble just latching themselves onto the timber. If you're in an area where you think you'll be getting mostly songbirds, or just want the wrens and finches to have easier access then this would be a good idea. Currently in my backyard there are two tray feeders, two of these timber feeders, two of the extra large sized suet cages (for cardinals, blue jays, etc.), a thistle tube and a thistle sock, and a couple of the regular, store bought suet cages. If you're more Easterly than Southern Indiana chances are you could attract orioles by filling this with apple suet or even just cramming some fresh fruit into the holes. I used peanut suet to attract the woodpeckers and have found that the hot pepper delight is great for birds and squirrels hate it. Win/Win! I hope you've enjoyed this project as much as I have.