It’s winter in Oklahoma. We had a long very warm fall but the bottom dropped out in late December. It is flat COLD today and it’s not going to warm up for a while. I have filled our bird feeders with black oil sunflower seed. The birds and a very fat squirrel are loading up on it. When it is this cold, extra fat and protein will help birds keep warm so it’s a nice thing to offer during a cold winter. Traditionally beef suet is the fat of choice but I don’t happen to have any of that. I used to make bird food using peanut butter, bacon grease, and cornmeal, but the latest research from Cornell Ornithology seems to indicate that bacon grease isn’t the best thing for birds due to the sodium and nitrate content.
One has to be careful when feeding fat to birds. If it is not frozen solid it can get on their feathers and they lose their insulating power which can cause birds to freeze. Basically, if it’s above freezing out, pull your “suet” feed so the birds don’t get it all over them. If you put it in an old onion or fruit bag to hang, little bird feet could get tangled in the mesh. A wire feeder is a better option. Fat in an easy to access place could attract more undesirable yard visitors. If you start to notice critters you don’t want in the yard, pull that feed.
I happened to have a block of frozen beef fat left from my bone broth making and I used it to make some bacon-free bird “suet”.
1 cup peanut butter (natural preferred)
1 cup beef fat OR lard, needs to be soft enough to mix
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup raisins, optional
Mix all ingredients well…I use my Kitchenaid. I love that thing.
I pack in into old butter containers and freeze solid, then unmold and put on the platform feeder.
If the weather warms up above freezing, don’t leave it out.