Suet bird feeders are traditionally made from the fat of cattle or sheep. Some people will also use bacon fat, lard or pork fat when preparing suet feeders. The fat is cooked and rendered so it will become firm and hard when cooled. After rendering, the suet will be less likely to melt when placed outside during hot summer months. A variety of different holders can be used to hold the finished suet and can be created using recycled materials around the home.
Render beef fat or any type of fat by melting it in a large saucepan until it is liquid and then straining the fat through a wire mesh strainer. All the solids should be removed from the fat during straining. Allowing the fat to cool and then repeating the heating and straining process will create more durable suet. The fat is poured into molds, suet feeders or cupcake tins and will become hard when cooled. For variety, ingredients such as peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts or seeds can be stirred into the strained fat before pouring it into molds.
Reuse empty mesh bags that onions and potatoes are sometimes sold in by dropping a few suet chunks into the opening of the bag and tying it closed. Tie a length of twine to the knotted end of the bag and hang this simple homemade suet feeder from a tree branch for the birds to enjoy.
Melons and citrus fruit such as oranges or grapefruit can be used as molds to hold suet after it has been rendered. Cut the fruit in half and remove the edible parts of the fruit for human consumption. The hot rendered fat can then be poured directly into the melon shells or citrus peels and allowed to cool. These biodegradable suet feeders can be placed on porches or nestled in the crook of a tree branch.
Cut a section of log approximately one foot long and two to three inches in diameter. Drill four holes along the length of the log with a cordless drill and the appropriate drill bit to create a 1-inch diameter hole that extends all the way through the log. These holes should be evenly spaced, but they do not need to be located in a straight line on the log. Drill smaller holes below the large holes that should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter and approximately one inch deep. Pour a few drops of wood adhesive into the smaller holes and insert 4-inch long wooden dowels. These dowels will serve as perches for visiting birds. Spoon warm suet, which has begun to thicken, into the holes of the log and allow it to cool. Screw a small hook into the top of the log and use a length of twine to hang the homemade suet feeder from a tree branch.