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Bird Watching: Hello! A question about Suet please

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darkmoondreamer
(Karen) Frankston, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 23, 2008
1:45 AM

Post #5820985

Hello, I am Karen. I am a real novice concerning birds compared to you guys, but popped in to see if any of you could answer a question that I can't get solved by Googling...

The suet I put out in my yard goes untouched, like forever! I put some out last year and it wasn't touched. I have many, many birds that feed in my yard, although I am not familiar with the varieties other than Cardinals and Bluebirds. The suet stayed through the winter untouched, went through the summer untouched, melted and then had to be thrown away.

3 months ago, I bought more suet. The blocks came from a Wild Bird store, so they are better quality than WM I think. I bought peanut butter, hot pepper and some with fruit and nuts in it. I thought I was really providing a treat for them, and am very disappointed that not one nibble has ever been eaten. I feel like I'm wasting my money. Why won't my birds touch the suet? Thank you very much for any advice!
Methodical
Clinton, MD
(Zone 7a)

November 23, 2008
1:56 AM

Post #5821017

for one the 2 birds you mentioned don't eat suet - Cardinal (seeds, insects) and the Blure bird (insects). Do you have a feeder with seeds (i.e blackoil sunflower, safflower etc.)? If you put those out the birds may come and then notice the suet.

For me as it's getting colder the birds don't come like they use to but I do get some and when the seeds are gone they began eating the suet.

This message was edited Nov 22, 2008 8:57 PM
darkmoondreamer
(Karen) Frankston, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 23, 2008
2:33 AM

Post #5821140

Thank you Methodical! I had heard somewhere that the Bluebird and Cardinals are not suet eaters...I have many other varieties in my yard, but unfortunately do not know enough about birds to even guess what they are. I do keep sunflower seed out as well as a wild bird mix from the Wild bird store. I always thought that birds would need seed more in the winter, but it seems to be the opposite here. Birds eat like pigs in the summer, winter it goes untouched.

I have heard that woodpeckers eat suet but haven't seen or heard one around here in several years...I will keep trying, I thought perhaps it was the brand/quality of the suet. I am buying a beautiful pole next Friday with multiple arms to hold about 6 different bird feeders. This will be my "feeding center"...I will put several types out as well as suet and thistle seeds (never fed these before!). I live in East Texas in zone 7b...I appreciate your help ☺

wren107

wren107
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

November 23, 2008
2:39 AM

Post #5821160

I find peanut butter is a better at attracting bird. You can either put it thickly on bread or make up am mix using corn meal mix. Woodpecker, wrens, some wablers, mockingbirds, chickadees, tuffted titmouse, are some of the peanut butter eaters in my yard
irisloverdee
Lebanon, OR

November 23, 2008
2:43 AM

Post #5821174

Most birds only like the suet if you hang it on its side. I am lucky not as many birds in the winter but the ones that come eat like pigs. Must fill all the feeders and the suet cake.

D
irisloverdee
Lebanon, OR

November 23, 2008
2:45 AM

Post #5821181

also this time of the year, I like to take the pinecones and put peanut butter on them and roll in birdseed and they will come.

D
darkmoondreamer
(Karen) Frankston, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 23, 2008
2:50 AM

Post #5821199

Thank you Wren! I'll bet alot of birds would like that! I found a website with a bird expert that makes his suet fresh, with basically ground fat and peanut butter and some seed, and lets it dry in used suet containers. I think a homemade approach would be more appealing to my birds. I appreciate your help! IrisloverDee I do have a suet "cage" that holds 2 squares...

This message was edited Nov 22, 2008 8:50 PM

wren107

wren107
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

November 23, 2008
2:55 AM

Post #5821214

I make up the peanut butter and cornmeal , cut it into squares and freeze it. The peanut butter is better for use in summer to, as suet melts!!!!!! You can add seeds and fruit to the peanut butter mix. It also stays fresh a little larger than the suet.
Texasgrower
Palestine, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 23, 2008
2:55 AM

Post #5821217

Hey Karen, I feed birds year round. I make a suet like treat from peanut butter and cornmeal with or without raisins. I have tried the WM brand and the birds will eat it when freezes are coming. The titmice, chirping sparrows, nuthatches, chickadees and goldfinches and wrens will eat the suet and peanut butter. I buy sunflower and millet from the Iron Gate feed store here in town ,25lb and 50lb respectively. Most all the birds love the sunflower and the sparrows, dove and cardinals like the millet too. The goldfinches love thistle aka nyger seed. They too will eat sunflower. The wrens love meal worms which I get at Rubicon's in Noonday. Bluebirds love them too. Keep a birdbath full of water and you will keep them happy.

Birds tend to visit the feeders less in the fall because of all the natural food available now. They will be back when the natural supply starts to diminish. If you just started feeding in the spring it may take a while for them to find you, but they will. Then you, like me, will be running to the feed store every two weeks. They are a pleasure to watch. I hope this helps you.

So go to the feed store and buy the sunflower and millet. You waste your money buying the commercial mixes. No bird eats the milo in them, it's filler.

crazybirdlady51
Wilmar, AR
(Zone 8a)

November 23, 2008
2:56 AM

Post #5821221

Hi, darkmoondreamer, If you have tried repeatedly to get birds to eat suet and they won't, save your money and don't buy it.Apparently you don't have the kinds of birds that will eat it. The birds in my area don't eat suet much either and I've never been able to attract woodpeckers to my feeders at all. So, I just put out sunflower and mixed seed and do pretty well.
It's kinda funny isnt' it that what works well at one place doesn't at another. I recently bought the sunflower/nut bits without hulls and my cardinals do not like it as well as what comes in the shell so I'm gonna save my money and not buy it anymore.
I do have a homemade suet that I make with peanut butter, lard, cornmeal, flour, oats, etc... when it gets really cold and the birds eat it then
Good luck with whatever you decide to do and have fun

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

November 23, 2008
3:08 AM

Post #5821264

Hey Darkmoon, you have lots of good advice here. I just wanted to add that if you have bluebirds, you might want to have a look at this web page: http://sialis.org/suet.htm

Apparently some people have success with this suet and bluebirds.

In zone 8b, I'm sure it is not as important to offer suet as it is in my zone. Here is what eats mine: Woodpeckers, nuthatches, house sparrows, starlings and grackles. The last three I wish would leave it alone. Last year the house sparrows did not touch it, but this year they have decided that they like it.
darkmoondreamer
(Karen) Frankston, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 23, 2008
3:34 AM

Post #5821352

Thank you all for the friendly and thoughtful replies...JEANNE my friend! You know that once again, you have to drive right by my house to get to Rubicon, heehee! That is where I am buying my "feeding center" pole next Friday! I will see if my Frankston feed store has the seed you mentioned. Thanks for all the advice everyone, but since Jeanne is my neighbor (25 miles from me) her advice will be particularly valuable for me and my yard. Where is Iron Gate in Palestine, and where can I find Thistle seed and feeders?

This message was edited Nov 22, 2008 11:18 PM
darkmoondreamer
(Karen) Frankston, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 23, 2008
5:21 PM

Post #5822702

One thing I thought about this morning...Won't the homemade suet and dough attact ants? I live in Fire Ant country and they are horrible...Jeanne, how does your's fare?

wren107

wren107
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

November 23, 2008
6:40 PM

Post #5822918

We also have fire ants but I have never had any problem with ant with the suet or peanut butter.
Grease the pole with Vaseline(also fun to frustrate the squirrels) will keep them off.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

November 23, 2008
6:56 PM

Post #5822959

If you hang it, you can use an ant moat like they sell for hummingbird feeders.
Texasgrower
Palestine, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 23, 2008
8:47 PM

Post #5823261

I don't have any problems with ants of any kind getting in the suet.

Iron Gate is on the corner of Spring and 84. Right by the railroad tracks and catty cornered from the Farmer's Market. Come up 155 and turn right onto Palestine Ave aka HWY 79, follow it til you get to Spring St. turn left onto Spring. Spring has the concrete retaining wall on both sides of the road with big dogwood blossoms painted on it. Go to the next traffic light and to your right is Iron Gate. You should have a feed store in Frankston that carries sunflower and millet in big bags. If you buy seed from Rubicons it will be costly. I feed way too many birds to buy the expensive seeds. You can buy thistle by the pound from Iron Gate and I imagine at your feed store. If not, then Wally World has it in the sock feeders. They also sell the long plastic tube feeders with little slits where the seed comes out. Lowes also carries thistle and feeders and is actually cheaper than Wally World. Thistle is kind of expensive, that's why I buy it by the pound. I use both sock and tube feeders.

I got three feeders and meal worms from Rubicons last June. The wrens fed them to their babies and then the whole family came to eat. There also was some some competition with the lizards. They love meal worms too. Sometimes I hand feed the lizards. One has lived in an abandoned bird house for a year now.
gardenpom
Melbourne, FL

November 23, 2008
9:37 PM

Post #5823388

I have suet for the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, which they eat every day...but I have to only buy the No-Melt varieties.
darkmoondreamer
(Karen) Frankston, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 23, 2008
9:50 PM

Post #5823491

Jeanne how do you feed meal worms to the birds? What do you put them in? Do you hang them up near all the other feeders?
Texasgrower
Palestine, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 24, 2008
2:27 AM

Post #5824428

Rubicons has a square metal meshed feeder with sides. I put my worms in there. Before I had that I would put them in a tuna can on a plastic table near the blue bird box so I could move them as the sum moved across the yard. The worms don't like direct sun. Now I put my Rubicon feeder outside my back door near my bird feeders and watch the wrens eat. The bluebirds won't come that close. So I will put them out some nearer the bird bath out in the yard. Bluebirds love water. If you put out a bird bath you eventually will get the bluebirds. And they all take a bath at the same time. I have seen 15 bluebirds on my bird bath at one time. The sides of the feeder need to be at least an inch to an inch and a half to keep the worms inside. I'm sure if you go to Birds and Blooms web site you could find how others have set up their feeders. But be patient. It may take a while for the birds to find your seeds and suet, but once they do, they will become regulars.

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