During winter, feeding suet to the birds in your garden will help them keep their energy up during cold weather. Suet comes in a range of formulas including fat balls and blocks but you could also use plain suet bought from a supermarket to make your own bird feeder.

Woodpecker Eating Suet

Suet cages are made of vinyl coated wire and designed to hold either suet blocks or balls. They are strong and easy to clean and can be hung by themselves or from a bird table. You can also buy covers for suet cages to protect the food from the elements.

A recycled mesh bag that was used to hold fruit or vegetables can be filled with suet but ensure that it is not made of nylon or other plastic as birds can become tangled in it. These are good for smaller birds, as larger birds will find it difficult to access the suet.

Another option is to drill some holes in a log and fill them with suet. This is ideal if you are lucky enough to have woodpeckers visit your garden as it mimics their natural food sources.

You could simply scatter some chopped or grated suet on your bird table or ground feeder. Again this is a good way to feed smaller birds as they will find it easier to pick up the smaller chunks.

We have some ideas on how to make your own suet feeder using recycled household objects.

There are some problems you should be aware of if you choose to feed suet to your garden birds. In hot weather suet can melt or go rancid so don’t leave suet out in direct sunlight or only offer it in the colder months when birds need it the most. Melted suet can also attach itself to birds' feathers which will destroy their natural insulation and waterproofing. If you have trouble with suet melting you can buy rendered suet that won't melt unless exposed to very high temperatures.

Suet can attract pests such as rats or mice so ensure you keep the ground around your bird feeders clean. Only put out as much suet as can be eaten in a couple of days and you may want to bring suet feeders in at night as many rodents will go hunting for food at night.

As with all bird food it is important to regularly clean away old suet and keep your bird feeders and table clean to ensure you have happy, healthy birds.

You can find a range of fat treats for birds available to buy here.

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