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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Dec 12, 2012 8:17 PM CST
I am looking for a fail-safe recipe to make birdseed ball ornaments. I plan to put my Xmas tree out on the back deck and would like to make seed balls in a mini-muffin tin to hang on the tree. Would it work to just jam a metal ornament hook in the tins while they are cooling? I've seen recipes using seed + suet or seed + gelatin. Has anyone combined the two? Seed + suet + gelatin + peanute butter, etc. I am finding tons of recipes on-line but would like input from folks who have actually made them up so I know they will not just crumble in the first rain (I live in the Pacific NW, so rain is a definite factor). Thanks.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Critter (Jill)
MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
Charter ATP Member Region: Maryland Bulbs Amaryllis Tropicals Cottage Gardener
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critterologist
Feb 3, 2013 11:35 PM CST
How did your tree project work out? Bet your birds (and squirrels!) had a merry Christmas.

I know I'm way late finding this thread, but I use "Martha Sargent's All Season Suet" recipe (google, and you'll find it all over). I usually make sandwich-sized cakes to put in a square wire suet feeder, but I've also shaped it into balls. It's more stable if you slip the suet ball into a little mesh "sock" (the material in a mesh onion bag or daffodil bulb bag works fine)... you could probably pull the mesh snug, twist it, then tie a knot and have a fairly attractive ball-ornament shape.

Here's the recipe along with a report from a guy who let his birds compare it with one of the store-bought "suet" blocks. http://www.birminghamaudubon.org/birdingnature/tipsrecipes
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Feb 4, 2013 10:27 AM CST
Worked very well. Here's a pic. I melted suet and added stuff with no particular recipe, all turned out well. Most I put in mini-muffin tins with metal ornament hangers stuck in (that worked easiest), also sliced oranges, cut bread into shapes, tossed popcorn directly into branches. They ate it all. No messy tree in the house, and I didn't even open my ornament box (every year I am less and less enthralled with Xmas crap...) We left the tree on the deck through most of January (sans lights) and I kept throwing popcorn at it, and sometimes just handfuls of seed.

Thumb of 2013-02-04/Bonehead/7dbb67
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Feb 4, 2013 11:24 AM CST
Meanwhile, I've noted the bird block recipe and will try that. My local grocery stores used to give suet away for free but are now grinding it up and charging for it, to the point that the commercial suet blocks are cheaper. Perhaps lard might be a less expensive option. I think one could alter the Martha recipe by adding seeds, raisins, etc. And I wonder if the sugar is what attracts the birds? Might try it with and without to see if there is a difference, or substituting a bit of honey for the sugar. My feed store told me the reason my cats prefer cheap food is because of the high sugar content, which can't be good for any creature.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Critter (Jill)
MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
Charter ATP Member Region: Maryland Bulbs Amaryllis Tropicals Cottage Gardener
Critters Allowed Birds Butterflies Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover
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critterologist
Feb 6, 2013 8:38 PM CST
I think birds in winter can use any extra calories they can get!

Those commercial blocks just have so much millet, cracked corn, etc. in them. yuk. We do add other things... just as you said, nuts, sunflower seeds... last time we made a huge batch because we'd come across some old dried fruit in the freezer that still tasted fine but had turned an unappealing dark color. The birds didn't care what it looked like, or if it was a little extra chewy!
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Feb 7, 2013 9:23 AM CST
I can't believe I'm just finding this thread!

Deb: Great Christmas tree for the birds! I did something similar years ago and the birds loved their Christmas Treat Tree. I have a problem here in Florida with Suet melting in the heat (sometimes even in the winter) so for the most part I just buy the no-melt suet cakes. Every so often I make up a mixture of peanut butter, bird seed, nuts, raisins, berries/ bits of fruit etc. to stuff into the suet feeders or smear on a couple of tree branches. The birds love it! It melts pretty fast though so I only put it out very early in the morning.

*** Note *** Never use Honey in seed mixture or for making suet - it can harbor bacteria and mold which can be fatal to birds.

Smiling Hi ya Miss Jill, how are you and your family doing? I bet little miss sunshine is growing like a weed! I haven't been over at DG since my subscription expired a couple of years ago so I haven't seen pictures of your beautiful Joyanna in a long time. Sad




~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Critter (Jill)
MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
Charter ATP Member Region: Maryland Bulbs Amaryllis Tropicals Cottage Gardener
Critters Allowed Birds Butterflies Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover
Image
critterologist
Feb 18, 2013 6:09 PM CST
Lin, keep poking me... I need to finish setting up a forum in my cubit for Joyanna to visit with her online family!
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Feb 18, 2013 6:21 PM CST
Jill: I haven't been over at cubits in so long time that I've forgotten my User ID and password *Blush* ... again! I will definitely figure it out and start checking in over there for a Joyanna thread! Smiling
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Critter (Jill)
MD (Zone 6b)
We're all learners, doers, teachers
Charter ATP Member Region: Maryland Bulbs Amaryllis Tropicals Cottage Gardener
Critters Allowed Birds Butterflies Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover
Image
critterologist
Feb 19, 2013 3:19 PM CST
Lin, no worries... when I launch her forum, I'll send you the link!
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Feb 19, 2013 3:59 PM CST
Hurray! Thanks so much ... I know she's probably really grown a lot since I last saw a picture ... and I also know that she's still as ♥ beautiful as ever! I will definitely watch for the link!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~

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