The Avant-Garden Shop: Your Garden & Bird Store

Garden Tips: For the love of (su)et

Love feeding woodpeckers and nuthatches?

If so, suet feeders are the way to go, but suet attracts more than woodpeckers and nuthatches, and not all suet is created equal.

First, suet is a firm usually animal-fat-based cake filled with fruit and seeds that are eaten by birds. Many bird species frequent suet feeders in the summer, with the adults of some species feeding it to their young. Suet’s high-fat content makes it an excellent source of energy for birds during the winter, when there are fewer natural food sources available.

There are suet cakes designed to meet a variety of needs. Summer blends stay firmer in the heat. Vegan suet uses no animal products and tends not to go rancid as quickly as animal-fat-based suet does. Orioles find fruit-and-nut suet attractive in the spring, and shell-free suet won’t contaminate the garden beneath it with unwanted plants. Pure suet may not attract as many bird species as other types, but squirrels don’t like it as much, so it may appeal to some.

There are also a variety of feeders to meet different needs. A standard suet cage holds a 5” x 5” x 1” suet cake. Ideally, cage feeders should have large enough to allow birds access to the suet but small enough to catch bits of suet as they’re broken off. Logs with holes can be filled with peanut-based suet. Suet balls fit in the ring feeders.

As is true with bird seed, some suet cakes may include ingredients that aren’t great for the birds. We’re proud to support Wild Bird Trading & Mill Creek Seed company, who puts a lot of thought and effort into developing a variety of high-quality suet options to meet various needs, and to carry several quality suet feeders.

In this Garden Gate video with Mark Bennett, we learn more about suet and Wild Bird Trading & Mill Creek Seed’s products.

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