This homemade peanut butter suet recipe feeds wild birds in the winter when food is scarce. It’s a simple way to make suet without lard and well-loved by various birds including woodpeckers and nuthatches.
How to Make Suet With Peanut Butter
Wild Bird Safety Note
During outbreaks of the highly pathogenic diseases including avian influenza, it is strongly recommended to remove bird feeders and cease any hand-feeding. This may help reduce transmission rates amongst our wild bird populations.
Ongoing, feeders should be cleaned frequently with a bleach solution and remove any debris from ground around feeders.
I was noticing a lot of nuthatches and woodpeckers living in the pine trees at the back of the yard but I could never seem to lure them to the bird feeders until I cracked open the peanut butter and made a batch of peanut butter suet.
I prefer peanut butter suet to commercial suet (made from various animal fats) due to food quality issues—some of them very serious—that have occurred over the years.
If you haven’t tried peanut butter suet at a feeder, you’re in for a surprise. As soon as I put mine out, the birds show up! It seems the scent of peanut butter travels far and wide.
The peanut butter is so alluring that birds that normally avoid each other end up feeding together in ignorant bliss. Good food can do that to you.
Be sure to use pure peanut butter (100% peanuts) with no other ingredients. It can be crunchy or smooth. Many common additives and sweeteners used in human food are either harmful to wildlife or have not been tested.
As for the peanut butter itself, be sure to mix it really thoroughly with the birdseed so there are no globs. You do not want the birds getting their beaks or feathers coated in peanut butter or peanut oil that they cannot remove.
For the seed itself, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive commercial birdseed products tend to contain various fillers that either the birds will not eat (you’ll find them on the ground below the feeder) and/or they offer little or no nutritional value.
This guide to choosing good quality birdseed will help you spend your money wisely.
To avoid food spoilage, along with keeping your feeders and suet cages clean, only offer suet (made from lard or peanut butter) when temperatures are below 40°F or 4°C.
If you want a fun way to see who visits your feeders when you’re not there, consider getting a motion-sensor camera feeder like this one or a traditional wildlife camera. You can see some favorite clips from my bird feeder camera below.
Keep reading for tips on what we can do to promote bird health, how to choose the right bird feeders including suet cages, and how to make your own peanut butter suet. Or “un-suet” as some call it.
Bird Health & Safety
Grow The Right Plants | The best thing we can do to support wildlife including birds is to grow suitable plants for food and habitat in a pesticide-free environment.
This means growing trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous annuals and perennials that attract the things birds eat like grubs, caterpillars, moths, and countless other critters and provide nesting materials and sites.
Allow Seed Production | As much as possible, any non-invasive plants should be left to produce seeds after flowering and left in place until used up. Seeds may be one of few food sources available in the winter months.
Provide Fresh Water | If there is not a fresh water source nearby, provide one.
Let The Mess Be | Fallen leaves along with dead and decaying matter are all part of the circle of life and how nature nurtures future generations.
Put Up Feeders If Safe To Do So | While bird feeders are enjoyable for us, they are not necessary for bird survival. If you do have them, keep them clean and disinfected. Remove them if there are reports or signs of any communicable diseases. And don’t put out any food if bears or other wild animals are an issue.
Choosing a Suet Feeder
Recommended Suet Feeder
If you need a suet feeder, the best ones have what are called “tail props.” These are suet feeders with a cage (for holding the food) mounted on a long piece of wood to help the bird balance while feeding. Without the tail prop, the birds waste energy trying to stay in place. You can see a suet feeder with tail prop here on Amazon.
A peanut butter suet feeder will attract nuthatches, woodpeckers, chickadees, blue jays, and more.
Should Birds Eat Peanut Butter?
According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology “In winter, especially in cold climates, peanut butter is a nutritious food to offer birds. Peanut butter sold in grocery stores is certified safe for human consumption, and is safe to offer birds when cold or cool temperatures keep it fairly hard. In warmer weather it must not be kept outside long enough to become rancid or soft.
There is some concern that soft peanut butter can stick to birds’ mouths. To make it grittier, cornmeal* can be added, but because both corn and peanuts provide excellent media for bacterial and fungal growth, make sure peanut butter feeders are cleaned out frequently. Peanut oils can separate in both pure peanut butter and in mixtures. If these oils adhere to a nesting bird’s feathers, they can be transferred to eggs, plugging the pores, so never provide peanut butter mixtures that become soft or oily.”
*Because cornmeal is a low-quality filler, I do not use it.
More Birding Inspiration
- Free Nesting Box Plans
- How to Stop Birds From Pecking or Flying Into Windows
- Bird Feeder Shopping Guide
- 10 Tips For Hand-Feeding Wild Birds
- How to Make Hummingbird Sugar Water
Bird Feeder Video
Here are some favorite clips from my bird feeder camera.
- Buy an automated bird feeder camera to take photos and video of birds at your feeder. View the footage on the phone app.
- Suet feeder with tail prop | Amazon
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
Peanut Butter Suet for Birds
Supplies & Materials
- In large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine ingredients.Peanut butter should hold everything together without excess globs. It should not be oily.If ingredients aren't sticking, gradually add small amounts of additional peanut butter.
- Spoon into suet feeder and hang up outside.
- Suitable for temperatures below 40°F or 4°C. Clean suet cage before refilling.