A couple of days ago, I bought a wire suet basket and put it out there and bought 2 suet cakes. Here is one:
With the tax, it only cost $1.16. I went to YouTube and found THIS tutorial on how to make suet dough (crumbles) to feed to the birds. I decided to make some and see if it would save me any money to make my own.
Here are all of the ingredients I purchased, except the flour, which I already had on hand.
I carefully weighed out the various components of this mix.
Then I mixed all of the dry ingredients together in a huge bowl.
Next, the crunchy peanut butter and the lard were melted together...
and added to the dry ingredients and I stirred it all until it was well mixed.
By the way, it was much easier doing this than they indicated in the video. I think having it in a large bowl instead of a bucket helped.
Here is what I ended up with. There are two containers like this. It made 13# of crumbles. Yes, 13#.
Now, here is the recipe for one smaller batch. I multiplied this amount by 5 when I did it.
Suet Dough for the Wild Birds
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup lard
2 cups quick oats
1 cup corn meal
2 cups unmedicated chick starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
Mix the dry ingredients together. Melt the crunchy peanut butter and the lard together. Stir the melted ingredients into the dry mix. Store in a lidded container at room temperature.
I calculated the price of the ingredients, added it all up, weighed the resulting mixture and figured that in comparison, by weight, the large batch of crumbles saved me a whopping 88 cents!
However, I will watch and see how this works out. Since I will not be putting this in a suet feeder, there will probably be significantly less waste, because when the birds eat the suet, they get pretty enthusiastic and spill some on the ground. Also, I think this mix is more nourishing and healthy for the birds. The suet cake only has beef suet and some mixed bird seed in it.
As you can see in the following pictures, I was desperate for some way to feed the crumbles, so I made a feeder from an empty milk jug and hung it on our tree.
Here is our bird-feeding station: