Trim a Tree and Feed the Birds With Suet Ornaments

12 Materials
1 Hour

Feed the birds and decorate a tree with suet ornaments! These cookie cutter ornaments are a creative and fun way to serve up nutritious treats to your backyard birds and help sustain them through the cold, winter months.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

Birds need high-energy food due to their accelerated metabolism, especially in winter to stay warm. This suet recipe helps provide nutrients that replenish depleted stores of energy.

Animal fat is easily digested and metabolized by birds and provides them with more than twice the caloric energy as protein or carbohydrates. This easy recipe replaces traditional suet, (that has to be rendered and strained to remove contaminates), with lard as a safe alternative, while packing a nutritional punch with pantry items to supplement your backyard birds’ diet when food is scarce.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

To make these suet ornaments you’ll need some cookie cutters and some twine or ribbon to hang your suet ornaments with. Tie some twine or ribbon onto your cookie cutters before filling them with your suet ingredients and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for easy clean up.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

I have a stash of cookie cutters but I couldn’t resist picking up some extra Christmas ones at Hobby Lobby for this project. All Christmas items are 50% off at Hobby Lobby so a set of three cookie cutters were around 60 cents each. If you can find some at the thrift store for less, even better.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

There are lots of recipes and variations for homemade suet online. For best results, use a 1:2 ratio of fat to dry ingredients, so your mixture holds together (like cookie dough) but isn’t too crumbly.

This recipe uses a combination of lard, peanut butter, corn meal and flour for any easy and bird-friendly recipe to whip up! Peanut butter contains fat and protein for winter months and cornmeal contains fat, fiber, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and folate, beneficial to bird health.

Stir in treats like raisins, bird seed and unsalted peanuts once you have your consistency to your liking.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

Homemade Suet Ornaments

Makes about 12 (3-inch) cookie cutter ornaments


1 cup lard

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup all purpose flour

3 cups cornmeal

Additional add ins: oats, bird seed, unsalted peanuts

Melt lard and peanut butter together in a pan over low heat. Stir in dry ingredients. Add additional mix-ins, bird seed, etc. until texture holds it shape (like cookie dough).

Depending on your grocery store, you can find lard near the oil and shortening or with the Hispanic ingredients of the store, where it's labeled ‘manteca’. It’s around $2 for a 16 oz. container.

Note: Don’t substitute bacon drippings for lard in your suet recipe. The chemical preservatives in commercial bacon become more concentrated when cooked and can be harmful to birds.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

Place suet mixture into cookie cutters pressing down using a spoon (or your fingers). I used my offset spatula to level the suet mixture once the cookie cutter was filled.

Alternatively skip the cookie cutters and spread suet mixture in a pan, refrigerate until firm and cut into squares to fill suet cages.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

Refrigerate suet treats overnight or until firm and hang on a tree for your feathered friends. Keep your suet in the fridge or freezer until ready to hang.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

Birds can dine from either side of the cookie cutters and you can refill them with a fresh mixture when it’s gone. Use any shape cookie cutter for your winter suet treats!

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

This is a fun project on a cold winter day that the kids can help with too.

trim a tree and feed the birds with suet ornaments

If you enjoy feeding and watching the birds in your backyard, you may want to make a DIY Birdseed Wreath Feeder, using a bundt pan! Directions found, HERE.

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Mary @ Home is Where the Boat Is

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Em
    on Dec 4, 2018

    How do the birds hang on to feed? All of the suet feeders I see have something for the birds to grab onto like cages or perches.

    • Trish F
      on Dec 13, 2018

      I would hang them in a tree, the birds could just use the tree branches as a perch.

  • Debbie Marden
    on Dec 14, 2018

    Doesn't this freeze in the winter?

  • Jean Oudy
    on Dec 20, 2018

    Oh dear. I find that really sad. I wonder why your squirrels don't mind cayenne pepper? Maybe not enough on the seeds? I also toss a handful of mixed nuts on the patio for the squirrels and that seemed to satisfy them to move on for the day.

Join the conversation

2 of 15 comments
  • Linda Thomas
    on Dec 17, 2018

    Thank you for this recipe. I love watching my birds and I try to keep their bird feeders full. Recently I found the feeders totally empty in the early morning when I checked them and kept wondering how because they are on poles. One night I looked out the window and found deer eating the bird seed. I believe this recipe or one similar will help my new visitors.

  • Mary
    on Feb 25, 2019

    I'm going to try this, hopefully squirrels won't want get it first☺ thanks you for sharing

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