About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Does suet go bad?

I put a suet cake in the feeder a month ago (not from your store) and the birds aren't eating it? Does suet go bad? Can they eat it when it's frozen solid? ~ Morrice, MI
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I think your answer lies in the birds name. Woodpeckers, as their name suggests, peck on the wood of trees to look for or hide tasty treats, and to build nests. In addition to drilling holes, woodpeckers will knock their heads to send sound signals.

So you don't have to worry about frozen suet. Woodpeckers' many adaptations allow them to forage for bugs hidden under tree bark or suet or nuts offered from a feeder. 
 
But not all suet cakes are created equal. During the winter when every calorie counts, birds are looking for the highest fat, highest protein foods. The first ingredient should always be rendered beef suet. Then I like suet with nuts as the second ingredient for more protein.

Never, never buy suet where milo, oats, wheat, processed grain by-products or artificial flavorings are in the ingredients. These filler ingredients are used to make a cheaper cake but the birds have to pick around and pick out all this filler to reach a little suet. 
 
The Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing store’s best seller is the peanut butter suet cake, which has only three ingredients: rendered beef fat, chopped peanuts and peanut butter. Again, no milo, no wheat, no corn, and no millet - no filler ingredients!
 
If you have no takers on a suet cake that has been in the feeder for over a month during this cold weather, I would toss it under a bush (perhaps for a less finicky raccoon) and put in a new cake.

Related Articles:
- What birds eat suet? http://bit.ly/q2Sfje
- Can I make my own suet? http://bit.ly/rsc1JT
- How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods: http://bit.ly/ob0NIq
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/yAR4pm

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