Thursday, March 17, 2011
Make It Yourself: Suet Feeder Plugs
I love my birds. They are fun to watch on Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee and I always have my eye open for a species I haven't seen yet. A moving present we got from my mom when we first moved into our house was a woodpecker suet plug feeder. These are great for woodpeckers that cling and so far it has attracted nuthatches, tufted titmouse, downy woodpeckers and red-bellied woodpeckers. The birds like it so much that they go through the plugs weekly and it was getting expensive buying refills. I opted to try and make my own. It was much easier and less messy than I thought it was going to be, plus very cost effective and is actually fun to make! A fair warning: after smelling the peanut butter, seeing the flour and oats you may be tempted to also make a batch of cookies when you are done making suet.
4 cups of crunchy peanut butter
4 cups of lard
8 cups of quick cook oats
8 cups of corn meal
4 cups of flour
In a large bowl, melt peanut butter and lard together until smooth. I did this in the microwave, but you can also do it over the stove.
After they are melted, add corn meal, flour, and oats. Add any extra nut pieces or raisins at this point too.
Stir and mix until well blended.
Using an old plug container or your hands, mold some of the mixed suet into round plugs. Pop out of container and wrap in wax paper.
I wrapped 3 plugs together each wax paper roll because my feeder has 3 plugs and then I can just grab a wax wrapper and be good to go. Put the wrapped plugs into a large freezer bag and freeze until ready to put into the feeder. You can also use this recipe to make suet cakes just freeze them into square cakes using free hand or an old suet cake container.
The cost breakdown:
This is what I paid at the store:
Kroger brand 4 lbs/64 oz) of Peanut Butter (7.12 cups) = $5.79 or $0.81 per cup
Kroger brand 100% Whole Oats Quick Cook 42 oz (7.5 cups) = $2.99 or $0.40 per cup
Kroger brand Yellow Corn Meal 24 oz (4.69 cups) = $1.00 or $0.21 per cup
Gold Medal White Flour 5lbs (20 cups) = $2.35 or $0.12 per cup
Armour Lard 40 oz (5.44 cups) = $4.49 or $0.83 per cup
Total it cost $11.92 to make my batch of suet and that made me 53 plugs which totals to about $0.22 per plug.
Peanut Delight Suet Plugs (4 pack) = $2.39 This is about $0.60 per plug.
If I bought 53 plugs at this price it would cost $31.80. That's a savings of $0.38 per plug. or $19.88 per batch of homemade suet! If you go through it as much as I do, it's much more economical to make your own!