5 Best Suet Feeders in 2020 That Work (+DIY Recipe)

Suet is a type of feed comprised of rendered animal fat mixed with other ingredients such as grains, peanuts, fruits, or even dried insects. Offering an excellent source of nutrition and energy for birds, suet is especially valuable in colder temperatures. (1

By providing high-calorie nutrition to maintain a bird’s body heat and energy levels, suet feeders offer an alternative to seed. They can attract a greater variety of birds to your yard. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, jays, and even cardinals can all be visitors to suet feeders given the right conditions. 

Keeping squirrels and less desirable birds (i.e., starlings and grackles) at bay while keeping your suet loving birds happy can be a real challenge. Choosing the best suet feeder and experimenting with the right location for your area are the best ways to solve the suet feeder problem.

We Recommend

Best suet feeder

Woodlink Going
Green Feeder

Extra-long tail prop

Birds Choice
Pileated Feeder

Best upside-down

Nature’s Way
Cedar Feeder

Types of suet feeders

Suet feeders come in four main variations, each offering a different solution to attracting suet loving birds to your feeder. A combination of these feeders is your best bet for keeping bully birds and wildlife at bay while attracting more birds to your feeders. Built-in baffles are great at deterring squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife, while grills, mesh, and upside down designs can keep away larger and bully birds.

Suet cages – Made of coated wire for ease of use, cages are best for independent hanging and to attach to other feeders. Upgrades to the basic suet cage include tail props for clinging birds and covers to protect the suet from the elements and predators.

Suet logs – Simple logs with predrilled holes filled with suet make a suet log feeder. They can be easily purchased or made, and are especially good at providing a natural perch for birds while keeping the suet dry and protected. As a bonus, they provide a more natural-looking environment for your feeders.

Mesh bags – Ideal for small birds like nuthatches and tits, suet filled bags are a great way to recycle and offer a feed. They can be filled with cakes, balls, or chunks without needing specific sizes, and offer the perfect spot for small clinging birds.

Open trays – Tray feeders can be a great way to introduce suet to a wider variety of birds. Chunks, leftovers, and pellets can be spread about by larger birds, and entice different birds a chance to sample the suet. Vulnerable to bully birds, squirrels, and other wildlife, open trays can be a great way to introduce birds to suet if they aren’t used to it.

Where to hang a suet feeder?

When it comes to suet feeders – location, location, location is everything! Experiment until you find what works best. While my woodpeckers will feed anywhere, my nuthatches are more prone to a log feeder in a protected area. 

  • Don’t give up too early, though; it can take several weeks for birds to find and test out your feeder locations. Leave new feeders up for a minimum of two weeks before trying another spot.
  • Keeping in mind that to minimize birds hitting windows (a serious problem), feeders should be either 3 feet within a window or at least 30 feet away (2). Both options give birds a better chance of survival, keeping them relatively safe from window collisions.
  • Different locations offer different levels of protection from both bully birds and other wildlife. Feeders on poles, complete with nuisance baffles, offer the best protection against squirrels and other pests.
  • Cages, logs, and bags can all be hung on a tree or in nearby bushes providing both protection and a resting place for birds but unfortunately offering easier access for squirrels and raccoons. Adding a suet feeder to another feeder (hopper or open tray) can also offer an alternative to attracting suet eating birds.

How to choose the right suet for your birds?

  • All suet is not created equal. Ingredients can vary greatly, resulting in a wide range of nutrition and quality. Choose high-quality formulations to ensure the best nutrition for your birds.
  • Ingredients matter. Basic suet recipes include fat and assorted seed or grain and can include additions from nuts to fruit. Read the ingredient list to find the highest quality and the best ratio of fat, fiber, and protein for the birds you want to attract.
  • Check the protein content. Ranging from approximately 4-13% protein, suet is designed to offer high energy nutrition, especially valuable in cold weather. The higher the protein content, the better.
  • Tread carefully around fruit suet. Lower quality suet can often seem to contain fruit, but may only contain berry flavors. The smell is thought to attract birds, but the quality may not keep them there. Look for high-quality brands that contain actual bits of fruit, or you can always add your own.
  • Who is it for? Depending on the type of bird you want to attract, you may want to offer specialized blends. My blue jays prefer peanuts, while my cardinals prefer a heartier blend of fruit and dried insects.
  • DIY. Can’t find the right suet solution for your birds? Making your own is always an option that allows you to control the quality and nature of ingredients.

Simple homemade suet recipe for birds

Homemade suet is an excellent alternative to purchasing premade suet. Not only can you control the quality and content of your ingredients, but you can also experiment with custom mixtures designed to attract your ideal birds.

Suet is a favorite of many birds, including chickadees, jays, woodpeckers, warblers, and titmice. It can be fun and easy to make, adding a decorative addition to your feeder set up.

Simple Suet Recipe:

  • 1 cup rendered fat (fat trimmings, lard, vegetable shortening)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (chunky is preferred)
  • 3 cups ground cornmeal
  • ½ cup mixed birdseed
  • ½ cup of dried fruit

Directions:

  1. Melt softer ingredients, then add in others.
  2. Mix to form desired consistency.
  3. Spoon into pans or molds and cool to harden.

How to choose the right suet feeder?

  • Type of bird you are trying to attract – Woodpeckers and other long-tailed birds often prefer cages with a tail prop while smaller cages work best for titmice and chickadees. Test out what works for what birds you have and are hoping to attract.
  • Bully birds – Bird feeder bullies are a fact of life, but there are several ways to discourage them. Offer suet in wire holders that can be hung and avoid mixes high in ingredients that attract pests (like hulled oats, millet, and wheat) to thwart breeds like pigeons or starlings from taking over.
  • Ease of use – Cages are typically the most popular and easiest suet feeder on the market. They can be attached to other feeders or hung on their own, and vinyl-coated construction allows for easy cleaning and bird safety.
  • Capacity – Mesh bags and single cages are on the small end of the capacity scale, while cages and logs offer a larger capacity for holding multiple suet cakes or balls.
  • Squirrel-proofing – Baffles, cages, or barriers are one way to deter pests such as squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife, but they can often find a way around them. Locate your feeder at least 10 feet away from bushes or trees that act as safe jumping points for pests. Offering alternatives such as corn cobs in a location away from your feeder is another proven tactic.

Best suet feeders

1. Squirrel-X Squirrel Proof Double Suet Feeder

Designed with ease of use in mind, this squirrel-proof cage feeder will attract a variety of birds to your feeder. 

Made of powder-coated metal, in a natural brown color, this feeder provides ample opportunities for your feathered friends to feast upon suet cakes. 

Squirrel-X Squirrel Proof Caged Bird Feeder’s opening mechanism is designed specifically to deter squirrels from intruding while providing protection for your birds from pesky predators.

Highly durable against weather conditions makes this an ideal suet feeder. Designed to be simple to fill and clean, while keeping pesky squirrels out, bird caretakers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists alike will flock to this squirrel proof caged bird feeder.

Check the price of Squirrel-X Double Suet Feeder here

What we liked

  • Good capacity (2 suet cakes)
  • Squirrel proof
  • Durable for harsher weather conditions and colder months
  • Steel lid keeps food dry and fresh
  • Caged construction protects birds from predators

What we didn’t like

  • No landing perch, but you might be able to create one and add it to the outside
  • Larger woodpeckers may not be able to access

How much suet can fit: holds two suet cakes
What’s special about it: keeps squirrels out while protecting feeding birds
Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 9.4 inches

2. Birds Choice 2-Cake Pileated Suet Feeder

Perfect for woodpeckers and other suet lovers alike, the unique extended tail prop of this Birds Choice suet feeder makes it the ideal suet feeder choice. 

Designed specifically for larger woodpeckers, the extended tail prop helps larger birds, like the pileated woodpecker, feel more comfortable. 

Easily holding two suet cakes, birds can access the feed from either side of this durable feeder.

Made of recycled plastic, this feeder is durable, easy to clean, and holds up well to the elements. Although made with the woodpeckers in mind, users report attracting a wide variety of birds to this feeder in addition to the larger birds.

Check the price of Birds Choice Pileated Suet Feeder here

What we liked

  • Made of durable recycled plastic
  • Multiple birds can feed at once
  • Suitable for large birds
  • Specially designed tail prop

What we didn’t like

  • Exposed to predators
  • Large mesh

How much suet can fit: holds two suet cakes
What’s special about it: Extended tail prop for larger birds.
Dimensions: 8 x 3 x 23 inches

3. Woodlink Going Green Feeder With Suet Cages

Quality and capacity make this premier feeder the perfect choice for backyard bird enthusiasts to attract birds of all types. 

Offering a large seed hooper and dual suet cake capacity at either end, the Woodlink Going Green feeder is a top-notch feeder. 

It can be pole-mounted or hung from a sturdy branch. 

Easy filling capacity, ample perching area, and powder-coated screen base make it easy to see why this feeder is a favorite among professionals.

A screen base allowing for proper drainage and aeration keeps birdseed fresh while attracting more birds. The two-sided seed tray, plus suet cages are constructed of 90-percent post-consumer recycled plastic and should last for many years.

Check the price of Woodlink Going Green Suet Feeder here

What we liked

  • Extra large capacity and multiple feed types (suet, seed)
  • Can be mounted on a pole or hung on a sturdy branch
  • Hinged roof opens for easy cleaning
  • Overhanging roof protects food from weather
  • Mesh screen bottom allows proper drainage so water doesn’t spoil feed

What we didn’t like

  • Not squirrel proof
  • No tail props for suet cages

How much suet can fit: 5 ½ pound of mixed seed and 2 suet cakes
What’s special about it: Large capacity yet easy to keep food clean and dry.
Dimensions: 13.5 x 11.8 x 10.5 inches

4. Kettle Moraine Window Suet Feeder

Attract woodpeckers right to your window with this powerful suction mount single suet woodpecker bird feeder. 

This feeder holds one standard suet cake and mounts directly to windows for an up-close bird watching experience.  

Woodpeckers can’t resist suet, and this feeder is perfect for bringing them in. 

Two suction cups allow for sturdy mounting on any window surface.

You’ll love how close this feeder brings you to nature.

Check the price of Kettle Moraine Window Suet Feeder here

What we liked

  • Window mount for up close experience
  • Easy to open and refill
  • Durable vinyl coated wire mesh

What we didn’t like

  • Small capacity

How much suet can fit: 1 standard suet cake
What’s special about it: Window mounted
Dimensions: 1.75 x 6.25 x 5 inches

5. Nature's Way Upside-Down Suet Feeder

Naturally, insect and rot-resistant, this cedar suet upside-down bird feeder is ideal for clinging birds that like suet. 

Its upside-down construction helps to naturally eliminate nuisance or bully birds like starlings and grackles from devouring your suet. 

Unlike bully birds, woodpeckers, titmice, nuthatches, and chickadees can all feed comfortably upside-down and may even prefer to do so.

Sturdy construction coupled with natural materials like cedar makes this premium feeder naturally rot and insect resistant, allowing for years of bird watching. Its ample suet capacity also means fewer trips to the feeder, and more time spent enjoying your birds.

Check the price of Nature’s Way Upside-Down Suet Feeder here

What we liked

  • Keeps nuisance and less desirable birds out
  • Suet is protected
  • Less wasted suet
  • Large capacity

What we didn’t like

  • No tail prop for larger birds

How much suet can fit: 2 suet cakes
What’s special about it: Naturally rot and insect resistant.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5 x 4.1 inches

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