While our wild bird neighbors aren’t exactly livestock, they bring such joy and entertainment to our family as they visit our yard and provide valuable pest control for our gardens and orchard that we try to make sure that those who don’t migrate won’t go hungry in winter. Because of bears, we only feed our wild birds from December to April, but we often set food aside for the birds throughout the year so that we can feed them all season long.
To save money and cut down on food waste, we make our own seed and suet cakes at home. Lots of ingredients can be mixed together, such as old bread crusts and crumbs, baking “failures,” mixed birdseed, cracked corn, peanut butter, even bacon fat and old cooking grease! Mix everything together in a large pot over low heat with a melted fat, such as lard or suet, and then pack it into recycled tin or plastic containers — but be careful if it’s still hot! Once cooled, freeze the fat and seed cakes until needed. They’re great for giving chickens a boost in cold weather too!