All images on this site are © Toby Houlton and must not be used without permission Interested in an image? Please contact me using the contact link on the navigation bar Return to main page Make your own fat treats for the birds If, like in my garden, your birds seem to eat a huge amount, you may have considered making your own fat and suet treats to save a bit of money. I decided I’d start doing this about a year ago and it’s been a real success. The birds just can’t get enough of it. It’s much cheaper than shop bought fat and suet products and you get the satisfaction of knowing it’s all your own handiwork. Almost every bird that visits loves to peck and pick at my fat squares including Blackbirds, Starlings, House Sparrows, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long Tailed Tits, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Robin, Blackcap and many others that will grab any crumbs that drop to the floor such as Thrushes and Brambling. REMEMBER TO ENSURE YOUR BIRDS HAVE SOMEWHERE TO DRINK. My Recipe Ingredients - 3x 500g blocks of dripping 800g peanuts 1 x 200g box of shredded vegetable suet 150g Porridge Oats lots of mixed huskless seed This makes quite a lot so adjust as required. As you can see from the image to the right you’ll need a large saucepan to fit in the amounts above. Dripping_used_for_home_made_bird_fat_treats Ingredients_for_homemade_fat_treats_for_birds I like to use the trays that come with take-away chinese meals, the deeper trays are the better ones. The ingredients amount will fill around 8 trays. Alternatively you can put the mixture into coconut shell halves, yoghurt pots or even pushed into fir cones (will need a stiffer mixture though!) I normally start by putting all 3 dripping blocks into the pan and leaving it on a LOW heat, you want them to melt slowly and you don’t want the fat getting really hot. Whilst the dripping is melting I then do the following - Take 400g of your peanuts and pop them in a food processor to finely chop them. This first batch I like to chop really fine so that the bits are just visible, it’s close to being a coarse powder. When this is done, add your Porridge Oats and give it another blast to finely chop them in also. Put this mixture to one side. I wouldn’t recommend feeding cooked oats on their own as they can cause issues with being too sticky for the birds (think porridge!) Take the remaining peanuts and pop them in the processor. This time chop them down to small bits, not too fine this time. Once the dripping is fully melted you can add the suet. I use the entire packet. You can turn the heat off just before the dripping is fully melted. Remember not too hot! Stir in the suet, your mixture will go a cloudy yellow colour. Stir in your processed peanuts and peanut / oats mix. Seed_for_homemade_fat_treats Stir in your seed mix. You will need a fair bit. I use huskless / no mess seed (left). You will need to keep adding until your mixture is fairly stiff and as more is added you will see the melted layer on top will reduce. Ideally you want just a small layer at the top and your mixture is almost stiff enough to stand the spoon up in. Ladle the mixture into your containers and leave somewhere cool to set. Notice there is only a small layer of melted fat on top. This is what you are aiming for. A nice solid block full of little tidbits that the birds can’t resist. This consistency is fine for hot or cold weather (well UK weather anyway) Homemade_fat_treat_for_birds_crosssection Homemade_fat_block_for_birds Image#40 - Long Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) - My Garden - Nikon D300 with Sigma 300mm f2.8  - 1/320s, f5.6, ISO 500 Image#121 - Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) - My Garden - Nikon D300 with Sigma 300mm f2.8 + 2x TC  - 1/320s, f7.1, ISO 400 Image#122 - Greater Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) - My Garden - Nikon D300 with Sigma 300mm f2.8  + 2x TC- 1/640s, f8, ISO 400 Image#123 - Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) - My Garden - Nikon D300 with Sigma 300mm f2.8 + 2x TC  - 1/1000s, f8, ISO 400