Suet fat balls are high in energy and provide quality nutrition for wild birds. It’s an ideal supplement for garden birds and can easily be hung from a bird table or added to a feeder. Suet fat balls can attract a diverse range of birds to your garden.
What is Suet for Birds?
Suet is the raw fat around the kidneys, mostly in beef. Since it has a high-fat content, it gives birds a lot of energy that can be very helpful in cold temperatures. Usually, suet contains rendered animal fat, although some bird food suppliers make plant-based alternatives with nut butter or vegetable shortening. This is typically mixed with fruits, oats, seeds, mealworms, and more.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of suet for birds, their benefits and which birds eat fat balls.
View our range of suet bird food and suet fat balls.
Types of Suet
There are a few different forms that suet can come in depending on what you need, including:
- Coconut Shells
Understanding the different types of suet will help you choose the best bird feeding option.
Suet fat balls have a density that is like cake. They are spherical, and you can use them either singly or in a grouped net or mesh cages.
Benefits: The benefit of suet fat balls is that they are easy to use in large quantities and offer a very nutritious food source for every wild bird.
Suet pellets are small bite-sized suet pieces in a shape that looks like nuts or large seeds. They are ideal to use in dishes or tray feeders for garden birds.
Benefits: Suet pellets offer an easy way for garden bird lovers to provide high energy and nutritional benefits to their feathered friends. These pellets are available in plain suet or combinations that include mealworms, nuts, fruit, or berries.
Suet blocks are easy to add to feeders and make for a tasty and nutritional treat. They are often a combination of suet and mealworms or fruit, which offer wild birds a balanced nutritional boost.
Benefits: They are very convenient during colder winter months and usually come in various quantities and sizes.
Coconut shells offer a convenient platform for birds to settle and enjoy feeding on their suet treat. These come in a range of fillings that often include a mix of sunflower chips, seeds, mealworms, or insects. The designs are usually half- or three-quarter shapes.
Benefits: Suet coconut shells are environmentally friendly and easily hang from a tree, bird feeder, or table. They offer a delicious feeding place for wild garden birds.
Which Birds Eat Suet?
Many different birds enjoy suet fat balls as they can be placed on tables, in feeders, or broken into pieces and scattered on the ground. You can also get suet in mesh bags.
Suet is a popular supplement to any birds’ natural diet, especially during colder months. These are some wild birds that favour suet fat balls:
Suet fat balls are often a winter treat, but they can be beneficial throughout the year. Birds require an energy burst during pre-migration and breeding, and fat balls offer the ideal solution.
How to Hang Fat Balls for Birds
There are many options to choose from with hanging fat balls for birds. As these suet fat balls are so versatile, you can hang them in a cage feeder or even look for a special suet feeder that will hold several suet balls or cakes at a time.
It’s best to hang suet in a visible area around 12 feet from trees or shrubs. You can place them in the shade as suet can quickly melt and become sticky. But remember that birds love quiet spaces, so hang your suet feeders in a quiet area where the birds can’t spook easily.
When hanging suet balls for birds, remember to place them at least 30 feet away from glass windows to prevent potential collisions. It’s also important to consider any animals in the area before choosing where to place your suet feeders in your garden.
Some of the best suet feeders are made specifically with wide-open gaps to feed birds hanging on a branch. Most people also typically choose a bird feeder pole bracket as these are widely available. You can also go for long cage-style bird suet feeders with a capacity for at least four or five suet balls at a time.
A great idea is to hang this near your peanut or seed feeder to attract more birds or even stack multiple suet cakes side-by-side. Some suet feeders have larger enclosures to keep bigger birds away, and they are typically also squirrel proof.
So, put out suet bird feeders in the autumn to attract the most birds to your garden during the migration period and throughout the winter months.
Nutritional Benefits of Suet
Suet is highly nutritious and a great energy source for birds, especially since it’s often mixed with fruit or dried insects. Here are a few other benefits of suet:
- Concentrated calories: As it mainly consists of fat, suet offers highly concentrated energy.
- Protein source: Suet is an excellent protein source, especially when insects are scarce for some bird species.
- Effortless feeding: Suet is easy for birds to eat as it has no rinds to peel away or hulls to crack.
Do Fat Balls for Birds Attract Rats?
Fat balls for birds can attract rats and other vermin to your garden. Luckily, you can do things to keep unwanted visitors from eating the suet and scaring the birds away.
Place bird feeders strategically in your garden and avoid using platform trays. You can also use a squirrel baffle and consider bringing your suet feeders into a garage or shed for the night.
Read More: Different Types of Bird Feed
Gemma Sharp is the resident writer for Garden Wildlife Direct, a supplier of premium bird food and accessories. She has had a genuine love for our feathered friends from a young age, and has dedicated a lot of her time to learning all there is to know about them. If you’re struggling to pick the right bird feed for your garden, need help identifying a type of wild bird, or can’t decide where to put a nesting box, Gemma is the person to go to! She is passionate about sharing her years of learnt knowledge with the public. In her free time, she can be found feeding birds at home with her three young boys.