Easy-to-make Suet Balls

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In winter months the birds that visit your yard need extra nourishment to keep them warm on cold nights.  Suet balls are just the answer and are very affordable and easy to make.

All you need is vegetable or beef suet or lard, plus bird seed mix.  Mix one part suet to two parts seed, transfer to a saucepan and gently heat, stirring until the fat melts.  Choose seeds that are preferred by the birds you hope to attract.  Check out this guide to bird seed distributed by the Connecticut Audubon Society.

To make fat balls, use an ice cream scoop, or mold the cooled mixture into balls with your hands.  Space apart in a plastic container or on a tray and place in the freezer to set firm.  Once the fat balls are solid, put them out in the garden, on a bird feeder or in a fat-ball feeder.

Some other inexpensive and easy ways to help keep your birds jolly and plump over the winter months:

Reuse empty pudding or yogurt cups as a mold to make hanging feeders.  Make a small hole in the bottom of each cup and thread some string or twine through the hole in the bottom and out through the top of the cup, leaving it long enough to tie the feeder to a branch.

Mix and heat fat and seed as you would for the suet balls.  Pour the mixture into the cups, with the end of the string hanging free, and leave to set overnight in the freezer. Remove the suet from the cup and it’s ready to hang in a tree!

Pine cones make great suet holders, too.  Tie ribbon or twine around the top of a pine cone or small log.  Roll pine cones in melted fat, then roll in bird seed.  Place in the freezer until the fat has hardened, then hang them in a tree.  

Kids love this kind of project.  Be sure to avoid decorating suet pine cones with glitter or anything else that is not edible to wildlife.

You’ll make birds very happy this winter and provide hours of entertainment to our squirrel friends, too!

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