Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DIY Giant Sugar Pinecone Suet Feeder

I've made winter bird-feeders by covering the pinecones from the White Pines of my property with suet for years. It makes a cheap - natural looking - suet feeder that can be reused several times. But... the ultimate pinecone suet feeder comes from loading a pinecone from a California Giant Sugar Pine!

Carolina Chickadee
If this isn't a native tree to your area, you can occasionally find these pinecones at craft or floral stores or (as I did) order them from ebay. Expect to pay around $4 - $6 per cone, but they hold-up well through several uses and it takes a couple of weeks for the birds to finish off all the suet these pinecones can hold.

Start with a basic suet recipe:

Suet Recipe
2 cups 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.
2 cups chunky peanut butter
Melt the lard and peanut butter together, then add:
6 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
8 cups birdseed

Male Downy Woodpecker ~ Tufted Titmouse
Allow the mixture to cool until it slightly holds together. Wearing gloves - push the suet into one side of the pinecone then allow it to harden several minutes in the refrigerator. Add suet to the remaining side and return it to the fridge as before. Finish by pushing the remaining suet into the gaps and bottom of the pinecone. It takes almost the whole recipe to cover one 12" - 16" pinecone... I used what little suet I had left over to cover a couple of pinecones from my White Pine tress.

I used jute twine wrapped around the pinecone a couple of times near the top and again around the stem -  and double knotted. Then I made a loop in the jute for hanging.

Here's a few more ways to offer suet as a food source during the winter:
DIY Suet Feeders
DIY Suet Wreath

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse ~ Dark-eyed Junco

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  1. Lovely the birds and those giant pine cones.. Great shots! Happy New Years to you and your family!

  2. that's impressive. i'm sure the birds are very happy with you!

  3. Great looking feeders. Happy New Year.

  4. Hi I am susre the birds in your garden look your natural feeders, they look lovely. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU.

  5. Brilliant ides, and one that I am going to pinch off you!

    Happy 2014

  6. A lovely WBW post!
    Happy New Year to you!

  7. Love this. I'm pretty sure I'll be making these with my kids one day soon.

  8. How nice of you to share your suet recipe.No use to me in far off Australia where we don't normally need to feed our birds, just have to leave out plenty of water for them in the summer.
    Enjoy watching the feathered visitors to your soup kitchen and have a Happy New Year!

  9. Just hung my suet feeder up. Can't wait to see the woodpeckers it attracts! Thanks for the recipe. Happy New Year!

  10. I so love your idea of the pinecone suet feeder. Especially here in the Northeast with our below 0 weather and snow our feathered friends sure can use a little help with their food. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  11. I love these as they are so cute and functional. I have never made my own suet. I do buy a high quality suet that is made locally that is peanut butter and the birds love it...Michelle

  12. Fantastic! And so fun to make with kids. I would love to link to this if you didn't mind. I just found you via Green Roof.

  13. Please can eny one that uses peanut butter if it's not home made can thay buy salt free peanut butter. as I was reading a garden magazine and thay said salt is very bad for birds and to buy unsalted peanut butter hope this helps


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