Suet bird food is probably the most high energy wild bird food which can be offered to our feathered friends.
It supplies not only a full belly but fuel to carry their little bodies through a bitter cold winter night.
Many food items can be added to make this almost perfect winter food even more nutritious, such as insects, fruit, nuts, cornmeal, oatmeal and more.
You may be asking these questions if you have no previous experience with using suet for birds.
Suet is made using the fat that is found around the kidneys and loin of cattle or sheep.
Used straight from the animal the bird suet is flaky and well accepted by wild birds. But all bits of meat must be removed from the fresh suet or it will spoil.
There is one drawback to using it “as is”, after the fresh meat is removed. It will go rancid quickly in warmer temperatures.
Beef fat is considered by some, to be a superior suet source along with lamb or mutton. Pork fat or lard, bacon drippings and pork roast drippings are less desirable as good substitutes or additions to beef suet bird food. But pork can be used.
Wild birds don't have the same sedentary life style as we do, so unsaturated fats are not harmful to their rapid metabolism.
Rendering beef fat makes it hard when it cools. It is then able to withstand warmer temperatures without becoming “sloppy”.
Rendered suet is the process by which beef fat is melted, strained and cooled.
This process helps the suet from turning rancid by killing microbes which cause bacterial growth.
This is also called tallow and used for other purposes too, such as candle making, leather lubricants, soap etc.
The cracklings and bits that are strained out of the fat can be spread on a table or platform feeder for the birds to eat.
In the early 1900’s, and earlier, the term “Bird stone” was used for hard beef suet that had been put through the rendering process.
Wild birds will love mealworms added to your homemade suet.
2. Heating the fat twice, will further harden the suet and help solve the problem of it going soft and rancid in summer heat.
3. It will also be very helpful to hang suet bird food in as much shade as possible, especially during the hottest part of the day.
4. A wild bird store or bird seed supplier will offer summer suet for sale, which is another good option.
More on Summer Bird Feeding.