Suet Feeders are one of the best food providers for birds. Suet is the raw and hard, white-coloured fat generally obtained from cows, muttons and sheep. It is mainly found around the kidneys and part of the body on both sides of the spine at the lower portion of the ribs and hip bones. It has a spongy and light texture. Let us examine in this article if suet feeders are good for birds.
Is suet better than bird seed?
When used as a bird feeder, it helps the bird keep their body warm on colder nights, making suet feeders better than bird seeds. But suet and seed go hand in hand, as some birds like woodpeckers, thrashers, and bluebirds prefer suet. On the other hand, sparrows, finches, and redpolls prefer seeds like chickadees and much more.
Birds are one such species in the ecosystem, which maintain a balance in the bio-diversity by maintaining a natural system of keeping away the insects and rodents, helps in seed dispersal or even during pollination, which in turn helps us. Thus, we must provide the required food supplements to the birds, which may sometimes not be fulfilled by the seeds. Here comes the role of suet feeders, which must be prepared and hung in such a way in net boxes that the birds can easily consume them.
Below are reasons why suet feeders are good for birds.
- Easily digestible – Since suet feeders are animal fat, this can be easily digested by digestive enzymes like pepsin which is produced in the bird’s proventricular portion of the stomach.
- Increases metabolism – What determines the metabolism rate of a body? The size of the body. The smaller a body is, it provides more metabolism. Thus, in the case of a bird which feeds on suet feeders will have a higher rate of metabolism, and it will provide huge energy to the bird.
- Keeps the bird warm in cold weather – The fat in suet feeders helps protect the birds from the cold by acting as a form of insulation and trapping air inside, making the body warm.
- Can be offered to the birds year-round – Since suet feeders are extracted from the lions or kidneys of cows, mutton and sheep, these can be done any time in the year.
- Can be easily mixed with other nutritional products – The suet feeders can be combined with peanut, seeds, corn, fruits and others to make it a best one-step solution for the bird’s diet. It will sufficiently serve all the nutritional values, and side by side, there will be a minute level of waste. For instance, you can prepare suet feeders mixed with peanut butter and corn meals are best eaten by woodpeckers, etc. On the other hand, suet feeders mixed with fruits are loved by berry-eating birds like bluebirds, etc.
- Reduce collisions with glass windows – Imagine you are approaching a place at high speed, and in between, you get stumbled by one of your favorite food. Will it not help in reducing the super enthusiastic speed? And in the case of the bird, this will help them from preventing crash landing, and they will get a taste of their favorite and nutritious food.
- Can be easily prepared at home – If you are a bird watcher and want to have a gathering of some of the feathered friends in your backyard, without much investment, you can prepare simply suet feeders at home. Just mixing the animal fat with fruits, corn meal, or seeds will be enough, and there will be no need to depend on those high-priced suet feeders available at the markets.
When are suet feeders bad for birds?
Coming on the flip side of the coin, we must also know some of the negative points about suet feeders and their bad impact on birds. You can avoid using suet feeders in these instances.
1. Do not use suet feeders where air exposure is more
Quickly gets rancid – The raw animal fat, when exposed to the air for a longer amount of time, grows an unpleasant smell and taste when temperatures aren’t fixed at their freezing point.
2. Avoid suet feeders in warm weather
The suet gets softer in warm weather. This is one of the most dangerous situations for a bird during spring or summer. At this time, the birds are mainly found incubating their eggs to provide warmth to their to-be-born ones before hatching. However, if the bird consumes the softened suet feeders, this decreases the belly feathers resulting in discomfort in their incubation.
3. Corn and peanut mixed suet feeders can contain bacteria
For instance, bacteria grow at the nodules of the peanut plant, which may be carried forward when mixed with suet feeders. And if the birds consume them, it will cause bacterial infections like diarrhoea, lack of appetite and many more.
4. Avoid at places where feeder is surrounded by wildlife
Suet feeders are extremely attracted by racoons, squirrels, deers, bears, rats, etc. and must be taken proper precaution.
5. Needs proper cleaning
Uneaten seeds become old and stale and shouldn’t be eaten by birds for their good health.
6. Quantity must be appropriately measured
Since birds are smaller in size, excessive consumption would lead to higher metabolism in the birds, thus leaving behind a considerable amount of unused energy and at times, digestion problems.
7. Suitable suet feeders for birds
Sugary ingredients filled suet feeders can do no good to birds and may do the opposite. Since breaking sugar in the digestive system, need an enzyme called sucrase, which is, however, not present in many birds.
- Suet feeders should be hung at an easily reachable place, such as tree branches or shrubs, which the birds can see.
- The suet feeders must contain a shade or roof to protect them from sunlight, which gives warmth.
- Keep on checking the freshness of it.
- It must be distributed in smaller and equally spread quantities.
- Storing the excess quantities of seeds of suet feeders must be done in their appropriate freezing temperatures to maintain the quality.
Thus, suet feeders have both good and bad sides for birds. However, if it is made and consumed in the proper manner, keeping in mind the required precautions, then suet feeders would become one of the best food for birds.