Feed the birds and decorate a tree with suet ornaments! These cookie cutter ornaments are a creative and fun way to serve up nutritious treats to your backyard birds and help sustain them through the cold, winter months.
We keep our feeders filled year round, but it is especially important in winter when the days are shorter and there’s snow on the ground.
Because of birds’ accelerated metabolism, they need a high-energy food, especially in winter to stay warm. This suet recipe helps provide nutrients that replenish depleted stores of energy.
Animal fat is easily digested and metabolized by birds and provides them with more than twice the caloric energy as protein or carbohydrates. This easy bird-friendly recipe replaces traditional suet, (that has to be rendered and strained to remove contaminates), with lard as a safe alternative, while packing a nutritional punch with additional pantry items to supplement your backyard birds’ diets when food is scarce.
To make these suet ornaments you’ll need some cookie cutters and some twine or ribbon to hang your suet ornaments with.
I have a stash of cookie cutters but I couldn’t resist picking up some extra Christmas ones at Hobby Lobby for this project. All Christmas items are 50% off at Hobby Lobby so a set of three cookie cutters were around 60 cents each. If you can find some at the thrift store for less, even better!
Tie some twine or ribbon onto your cookie cutters before filling them with your suet ingredients and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for easy clean up.
There are lots of recipes and variations for homemade suet online. For best results, use a 1:2 ratio of fat to dry ingredients, so your mixture holds together (like cookie dough) but isn’t too crumbly.
This recipe uses a combination of lard, peanut butter, corn meal and flour for any easy and bird-friendly recipe to whip up! Peanut butter contains fat and protein for winter months and cornmeal contains fat, fiber, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and folate, beneficial to bird health.
Stir in treats like raisins, bird seed and unsalted peanuts once you have your consistency to your liking.
Homemade Suet Ornaments
Makes about 12 (3-inch) cookie cutter ornaments
1 cup lard
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup all purpose flour
3 cups cornmeal
Additional add ins: oats, bird seed, unsalted peanuts
Note: Don’t substitute bacon drippings for lard in your suet recipe. The chemical preservatives in commercial bacon become more concentrated when cooked and can be harmful to birds.
Melt lard and peanut butter together in a pan over low heat. Stir in dry ingredients. Add additional mix-ins, bird seed, etc. until texture holds it shape (like cookie dough).
Place into cookie cutters using a spoon (or your fingers). I used an offset spatula to level the suet mixture once the cookie cutter was filled.
Alternatively spread suet mixture into a pan, refrigerate and cut into squares to fill suet cages.
Refrigerate suet treats overnight or until firm and hang on a tree for your feathered friends. Keep your suet in the fridge or freezer until ready to hang.
Birds can dine from either side of the cookie cutters and you can refill them with a fresh mixture when it’s gone. Use any shape cookie cutter for your winter suet treats!
If you love feeding and watching the birds in your backyard, you may also like:
Make an edible house for the birds, a fun activity with the kids using a gingerbread house kit from the grocery store!
An easy and fun DIY project with the kids for a snowy or cold winter day
Lend the birds a helping hand and provide them with some nutrition and food to keep warm this winter!
If you feed them, they will come ,-)