This home-made suet recipe is a favorite with my backyard birds, including bluebirds. Bluebirds do not recognize suet as food initially but when when introduced to them crumbled with mealworms, they taste it and begin to recognize it as food. Afterwards they will readily eat it with or without mealworms present. The suet provides a good source of fat and protein to make available when unpredictable harsh weather arrives.
Home-made Peanut Butter Suet
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup lard
Melt together in microwave.
In a large bowl mix the following:
2 1/2 to 3 cups plain yellow cornmeal (no self-rising additives to meal or flour)
2 cups plain oats
1 cup plain flour
Stir until well mixed. Allow the mixture to cool and harden. Pack into a square tub to make suet blocks or crumble into small chunks for feeding bluebirds. I store in refrigerator but also can be stored at room temperature.
This suet is well liked by bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, wrens, woodpeckers, jays, thrashers, cardinals and towhees and can be served crumbled on a plate or packed into a suet container.
Bluebirds will accept the crumbled mixture after encountering it in the same dish with mealworms. Accidental eating of the suet crumbs in the haste to swallow mealworms enables bluebirds to recognize the suet as tasty food. I now see them carrying away suet from the feeder to eat on a limb.
This suet dough recipe is an excellent cold-weather food, rich in fat and protein. However, both lard and peanut butter are also high in gout causing purines. The mixture is too rich with purines to serve to birds during the nesting season while plenty of other protein-rich foods are available (high purines and high protein often occur together). High purine content is known to cause painful gout in wild birds. Limit this food offering to cold weather months when birds need the extra protein and fat to stay warm and replenish fat stores.To learn more about gout in wild birds visit Julie Zickefoose's articles on her experiences with bluebirds. She has also researched the nutritional values and created a new recipe that may offer more in nutrition and lessen purines.