I love making things from what I already have in my house, without buying anything new, things that are secondary uses for what might eventually become waste. When we fry up some bacon, there’s always some leftover grease. What do we do with that bacon fat? We turn it into suet for our wild birds.
Our bacon comes from grass-fed natural sources with no added sugars or chemicals. It’s about as healthy as bacon can get. So, I’m happy to share the grease with our little feathered friends who in winter do need an added boost of calories.
First, save the plastic holder for bird suet that commercial suets come in. If you don’t have any, ask in your local Buy Nothing group for the square plastic packaging for suet. This way, you’ll be able to use that plastic container as your future mold to fit into the suet feeder.
Here’s our recipe:
- Fill 3/4 of a plastic suet mold with any kind of bird seed.
- Collect the melted liquid fat from your bacon grease. You can keep it in a jar until you have about 2 cups of it, and melt it. Or, simply pour the not-too-hot grease into your plastic suet mold with seeds in it. Fill the suet mold with your grease.
- Place the plastic suet mold filled with seeds and bacon grease in the freezer.
- When the suet is completely frozen, take it out of the suet mold and place it in your suet feeder. Done!
We sometimes add peanut butter, old flour, nuts, berries, anything that birds would like.
Your little tweeties will love their suet and you won’t have to buy any more plastic-packaged suet again!
Spring is in the air! Save some scraps and bits to offer to your songbirds for spring nest-building. An old suet feeder will do the trick. At this time of year our feathered friends need all the help they can get.
Here are some great items that you can include:
Natural fiber yarn
Small Fabric Scraps
Cotton Wadding from Aspirin Bottles
So, don’t throw your yarn scraps and other bits away. Save them for the birds! In Paonia, Colorado, one spring, my son found the most unique birds nest, made entirely of yarns, hay, polyfibers, human hair, horsetail, and string.
One crafty blogger has a tutorial for creating a nest-material station in your backyard. And if you want the whole skinny on how helpful it is for you to put these natural items out for the birds, this article about recycling for the birds, by the National Wildlife Federation, will inspire you. Our feathered friends are getting busy out there, we can hear their songs each morning, harbingers of warmer weather to come.
Dog and cat hair, too, are preferred bedding for birds. That’s why my friend, Shelley, lets Tater’s hair free when she gives him a trim. The birds can hardly wait to gather it up for their nests.
A Feathered Onlooker, Awaiting The Gift of Free Building Supplies © John Brownlow
As a parting shot, check out these beauties crafted entirely of horse hair! My gradeschool friend, Paige, found them on her property and she can even identify which of her horses were donors toward the nest-building cause. This just confirms the idea that all species are connected, even through our so-called waste. Aren’t we?
Horsehair Birds Nests © Paige LaBella