Friday, March 1, 2013

DIY Suet Wreath

I recently conducted a class for the Master Gardener chapter that I'm a member of on making bird-feeders utilizing natural sources, recycled materials and re-purposed items. Of course the best bird-feeder is what nature provides: nuts, seeds and fruit from native trees, shrubs and wildflowers (and native insects)... Here's my hand-out for my "bird" talk I give:  Creating a Bird Garden

But - this class was all about creating bird-feeders and I came up with a few originals and I experimented with several I found on the Internet. For this DIY suet wreath, here the link to one of the best tutorials I found: Create a Suet Bird Seed Wreath

I've been making my own suet for years and I am sure the birds prefer my homemade version over a purchased suet cake... In fact, I've never had a bluebird visit a suet feeder at my property unless it contained my homemade recipe! In addition to coating pine-cones with my suet mixture, I've been experimenting with some other options to offer this food supplement. Here's my recipe and the link to what I've came up with so far... DIY Suet Feeders


Suet Recipe
1 cup lard  ~ You can render your own suet from beef fat (it's an all day process), but I prefer purchasing lard, which is pork fat.
1 cup chunky peanut butter
Melt the lard and peanut butter together, then add:
3 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
4 cups birdseed

For the suet wreath, I added the following to the basic suet recipe:
1 package unflavored Knox gelatin dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water

Add the prepared suet mixture to a greased Bundt pan. I also picked up a helpful tip from the tutorial above and added a wire ring insert. - Place half of the suet mixture into the pan, add the wire ring, then the remaining suet. Pack the mixture down thoroughly into the pan with the back of a metal spoon. Refrigerate overnight. Allow the wreath the return to room temperature and it should be easy to remove from the pan. I added braided strips of burlap to use as a hanger. This wreath holds up much longer than you would expect and the wire ring insert helps to keep it from falling apart.

Good Housekeeping shared this tutorial.  
Here's the link: 8 DIY Bird Feeders ~ Good Housekeeping

Update! I purchased a silicone Bundt pan at a thrift shop - it makes removing the wreath from the pan much easier!

Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse

34 comments:

  1. How adorable! I love it, and thank you for your marvelous pictures and sharing your recipe for the 'birds'! I love birds, and while our winters in some parts of Calif., are not that cold, birds still need some healthy little treats! Sandy

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  2. Can you use Cisco shortening for the lard?
    Or can you get it anyplace? (Lard)
    Thanksto !!

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