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Cooking is for the Birds

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Cooking is for the Birds
I have several bird feeders setup in my front yard. They are entertainment for my 87 year old mom. She can’t get outside by herself so this way she can enjoy the birds during the cold weather. She told me they are going crazy on the feeders especially whatever I have in the square cage thing (suet).

I was talking with one of my volunteers here at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening  about how hard it is to keep up with the bird feed not to mention the suet. I can’t seem to remember to stop by the feed store when I’m low. She gave me an easy suet recipe using ingredients around the house, freezes well and the birds love it. She was right! So now I make a large batch, cut into 4” squares or whatever size you want, and store them in freezer bags. When the feeder is getting low, take out a square and let it thaw for about 10 – 20 minutes.

Bon Appetite!

Basic Suet Recipe:


1 cup solid lard                
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)    
1 cup flour
2 cups oatmeal
1/3 cup sugar    
2 cups cornmeal
            
Melt lard and peanut butter in microwave for 2 minutes or on low heat until thoroughly melted.  Combine all other ingredients thoroughly. Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with plastic wrap. Empty the mix into the dish, patting down smoothly. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Cut into bars or squares that will fit into your feeder. Individually wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store in freezer.

Use this basic suet recipe or add other treats for the birds....
Nyjer seed, sunflower seeds, wild bird seed, chopped peanuts, finch seed, saffron seed, raisins, or sand (for grit)

I found this group of recipes in Bird and Blooms  magazine:

Easy Suet Recipe

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups lard
½ cup each of flour, old-fashioned oats, Spanish peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds and chopped corn.

Melt peanut butter and lard. Mix all ingredients in a large cake pan and refrigerate until hardened. Cut and place in suet feeders.

Attracts Wide Variety of Birds
(including sparrows, juncos, blue jays, chickadees and woodpeckers)

1 cup lard                
1 cup crunchy peanut butter        
1/3 cup sugar                
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup birdseed
1 cup flour
2 cups cornmeal

Melt lard and peanut butter. Add sugar to the melted mix. Combine remaining ingredients. Form blocks and freeze.

Out on a Limb
(spread on tree limbs so more birds can get to it at one time)

1 cup cornmeal            
1 cup sugar                
½ cup flour                
¾ cup water
1 cup raisins
1 cup lard
1 cup peanut butter

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Then add the water, and mix. Put peanut butter and lard in a small bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Add to the cornmeal mixture along with the raisins. Refrigerate for about two hours.

Tropical Treat
(attracts woodpeckers, as well as chickadees and nuthatches; won’t melt when it’s warm outside)

1 cup lard                
1 cup peanut butter            
1 ½ cups flour
2 ½ cups cornmeal    
2 ½ cups oats
1/3 cup coconut
Raisins, nuts or birdseed (optional)

Melt lard and peanut butter. Stir in flour, coconut, oats and cornmeal. Add optional ingredients. Pour the mixture into a pan and chill in refrigerate over-night. Cut into squares and wrap in plastic for easy storage.

Recipe for Hanging Suet Cakes
(hang this ‘bird cake’ from trees or bird feeders in mesh bags)

1 cup lard                
1 cup crunchy peanut butter        
1 cup honey                
2 eggs
1 cup oats
2 cups whole wheat flour

Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 40 minutes.

Another way to attract birds is to plant Missouri Native Plants  that attract them to your yard. Providing native plants along with bird feed is a recipe for happy birds.

A good garden resource is the Advice, Tips and Resources  page found in Gardening Help. It has detailed information on gardening problems, plant suggestions, helpful hints, and FAQ.

Debbie Kirkpatrick, Kemper Horticulture Assistant
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