How to Make Tallow/Suet Bird Seed Ornaments

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There are several different types of bird seed ornaments and other bird seed feeders that you can make at home, but these are one of our favorites because they are easy to make and they are both healthy and delicious to birds, especially in the winter months when they can use the extra fat in their diets. These suet bird feeders are only made from two ingredients, any mix of birdseed you prefer and a rendered animal fat to hold them together into a cake or ornament. The fat that is used is not only to hold the seed together but also serve as a great, high calorie source in the diet of the birds, giving them extra energy to get them through the long winter. That is why birds love these special treats!

Although you can use pretty much any mix of bird seed types you want, it is probably best to stick to beef or deer tallow/suet for the fat. I’ve heard some experts believe birds don’t digest pork lard as well and it also tends to be a bit softer at room temperature. So if your ornaments heat up at all they’d fall apart. In these bird seed ornaments pictured here we used deer tallow, left over after processing a deer and also making tallow candles. But beef tallow (rendered beef fat) works perfectly well too.


What do you need to make these bird seed ornaments?

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This is super simple: Rendered animal fat (beef or deer) - If you have raw fat you’ll have to render it first. There are simple instructions on the Tallow Candles page. Bird seed of your choice Cookie cutters of your choice (but it is best to use deep cookie cutters as pictured here) A straw or other similar implement Kitchen twine or other string

How make the bird seed feeders:

  1. After collecting your supplies, microwave or gently heat the tallow in a bowl or pan to liquify it.
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  3. Pour the liquid tallow into a bowl with the bird seed and stir to combine and completely coat the seed.
  4. Place the cookie cutters on a rimmed cookie sheet. With a spoon, carefully scoop the seed and tallow mixture into each cookie cutter to the desired thickness. I recommend filling the cookie cutters all the way so you have nice thick cakes that will hold their shape longer.
  5. Before the tallow cools too much, use the straw to poke a hole at one end of the ornament so that you can hang it by the twine later.
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  7. Put the cookie sheet into a refrigerator or, even better, the freezer to fully cool. Once they are fully cooled down to freezer temperature, the fat is hard and solid like wax and the cakes will hold their shape well. Gently push the cakes out of the cookie cutter.
  8. Tie a short length of twine through the hole so that you can hang the ornaments.

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That’s it! You can now hang your suet bird seed ornaments outside from a bush, tree, hook or wherever you’ll get a good view of your avian visitors out your window. Above you can see a cute little downy woodpecker enjoying one of our treats.

Enjoy!

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