Birding in British Columbia

A starting place for birding information for British Columbia, Canada. This web site features a birders discussion forum, links to birding newsgroups, articles and book reviews, checklists, regional hotspots, photo gallery, weather reports, and visiting birder information.
It is currently Apr 21 2:40 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Homemade suet
PostPosted: Jun 13 10:16 am 
Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Mar 04 3:12 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Vancouver
Hi everyone. I'd appreciate some advice about healthy homemade suet for the birds (if you know of one that the starlings won't hog, that would be ideal :? ). I found this recipe on the net:
Quote:
To make about four suet cakes:
2 Cups of lard
2-3 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter ( the cheap stuff is fine, creamy or chunky )
2 Cups yellow cornmeal
2 Cups flower (white or wheat )
2 Cups old fashioned Oats ( You can use quick oats but the old fashioned are better as they are a natural non-processed food )
1 Cup white sugar
Bird Seed as needed.

You cook these ingredients (which is good, because I was worried about the flour). I'm wondering about the sugar, though. What animal needs refined sugar?!

Does anyone have a recipe for summer suet that is approved by ornithologists?

- Linda


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Homemade suet
PostPosted: Jun 13 2:38 pm 
Offline
Veteran Member

Joined: May 09 11:08 am
Posts: 131
i know my brain only uses sugar, it cant use any other carb source, so that might be the case for birds aswell?
when i was a kid we used butter and cornmeal, heat butter mix, and add seeds.
I cant remember wheather teh seeds al "sunk" to teh bottom of the cup (we used plastic cups as molds) but at least i had great fun watching birds in my grannys jard.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Homemade suet
PostPosted: Jun 13 9:39 pm 
Offline
Senior Member

Joined: Jan 01 4:13 pm
Posts: 576
Location: Gabriola Island BC
I have to say the sugar concerns me too. When you think of their natural diet. Although they do eat berries (to my chagrin!!!) and would certainly get sugar there but not refined sugar. It seems almost as if we would be dooming them to our lousy diet. :roll:

This is by no way an ad for anyone but I was just reading on a website of avian cuisine

They are in the States only but they criticize the use of animal fat in the suet feeders...saying basically that it is of no nutritional value and recommend vegetable fat instead. (and not sugar) Seems a valid point.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Homemade suet
PostPosted: Jun 13 9:49 pm 
Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Mar 04 3:12 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Vancouver
Yeah, I don't feel good about the refined sugar either, indy (no offence, pyrelus, but you're not a bird :wink: ). I'll continue looking for a recipe. I know Cornell University has a whole ornithology section that I should investigate.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Homemade suet
PostPosted: Jun 13 10:21 pm 
Offline
Senior Member

Joined: Jun 24 2:57 pm
Posts: 159
Location: Comox Valley
I've been making my own for about six months now. Not a real recipe --- I get about 10lbs of suet from our butcher at a time, render, strain, cool, heat and strain again. This helps the suet stay solid. I put peanuts and sunflower seeds into the food processor until smaller chunks, then leave some longer until very small crumbs. Depending on which suet feeder the blocks is going into I leave some larger chunks of peanuts, and may add organic raisins. On average I put equal parts peanuts/mixed nuts to sunflower, throw in a little corn and add the suet until its all moistened and spoon it into the molds. After they are frozen pop em out, then I put them into freezer bags and take them out as I need them. Because I have a few suet feeders that I fill manually that have tunnels in them, I put the extra suet into 1qt glass chairs either into the fridge or freezer. Then as needed I can take the jars out and pop it right into the microwave for 1 1/2 min, then mix it up in a bowl. The cakes cost about .80 each when I make them.
For starlings, not a complete cure..... I attached one of those cages to the under side of a piece of cedar that is 16x 16 inches, makes them have to work harder for it. Downy's, chickadees, nuthatches, pine siskins, juncos all hang upside on it easily, not the Flickers favourite feeder.
Hope that helps. I haven't had any complaints from the birds yet. lol lol I did read somewhere not to use prepared vegetable lard,,, if it hardens our arteries likely it clogs up bird blood vessel too. :)
cheers
Holly


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Homemade suet
PostPosted: Jun 14 10:02 am 
Offline
Senior Member

Joined: Jan 01 4:13 pm
Posts: 576
Location: Gabriola Island BC
The issue of beef fat vs vegetable fat seems to be digestibility. I am no expert but apparently veg fat is more digestible than beef fat. THere are certain veg. fats that are not appropriate though. It is a very interesting topic. THe commercial suet cakes are designed to make their customers (people) happy by attracting birds. They are not necessarily designed to be healthy for birds (just like commercially packed foods are not designed to be healthy for people...just attract them by tasting good)
The same goes for the average commercially prepared cat and dog food...taste good - animals like the taste - not great nutritionally.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Homemade suet
PostPosted: Jun 14 4:23 pm 
Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Mar 04 3:12 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Vancouver
Wow, wannabe, that's a great help - thanks! I must look up the difference between suet and lard, because I do think they're both animal products. But all the recipes I've seen so far say suet or lard. The detailed information makes me want to try your recipe.

The vegetable vs. animal issue is intriguing, indy. I rather think, though, that birds will peck at carcusses, etc. - especially crows and the like, of course. I must ask the wizards at Wild Birds Unlimited what they think of veg vs. animal for the suet; in particular, I'll ask what the good stuff they sell is based on. They're so bird savvy, I do tend to trust what they tell me (mind you, I've spent a small fortune in their store as well! :wink: - not that they discriminate when it comes to advice, because I've asked them questions over the phone when I was anonymous and they never hesitated to take the time to talk to me).

Wannabe, what did you mean by "not the Flickers favourite feeder?" I know they prefer a tail rest, but I thought they were fine with hanging upsided down. I've just devised my own upside-down-cage suet feeder by hanging it sideways with a chunk of cardboard on top. The starlings have definitely slowed down, but I saw a flicker hanging their happily earlier. Mind you he didn't tell me whether he preferred the cage tied to a trunk vs. the upside down feeder. :roll: I've just got to stop the extremely greedy starlings!

As an aside, being somewhat of a newbie, I just implemented a birdbath for the first time about 2 weeks ago. The birds are going nuts! And I'd never seen one drink before - they look like they're gargling! :D


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Homemade suet
PostPosted: Jun 14 5:03 pm 
Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Mar 04 3:12 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Vancouver
OK, now I've got some more info: WBU say their high-quality suet is indeed animal-based. They pointed out to me that most suet feeders are insect eaters; "and even chickadees will fly down and" scavenge off carcusses. [yuk! :shock: ] And I just glanced at wikipedia and saw "Suet (/ˈsuː.ɪt/) is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys."

So there we are! (Not that I consider wikipedia a trusted resource; but I needed to jog my memory and that did it.)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group