Select your tools (baking tray, pastry cutters, cut straws and cord) and ingredients (beef suet and bird feed suet, and a selection of: oats, flour, honey, peanut butter, bird seed, dried fruit).
The quantity of ingredients aren't important, just be sure you use enough suet to bind the ingredients together so they'll form a block.
Slowly melt 2-3 parts beef suet, I used Atora shredded suet from the supermarket. Do not use vegetable suet and avoid any ingredients with salt as birds cannot digest salt.
Add in 2-3 parts bird feed suet... It takes longer to melt, but I find the combination of suets make the right consistency. If you want to, also add in 1-2 parts peanut butter.
Add 2-3 parts of porridge oats, or 1 part of flour. If you need to, add more suet to keep the consistency sticky.
Turn off the heat, and add additional ingredients as you wish (such as bird seed). I've only added in 1 part of dried fruit and 2 spoonfuls of honey.
Spoon the mix into pastry cutters (cookie cutters) or small bowls. I've lined the bottom of some with dried fruit, dried mealie worms and peanuts to give them an added twist!
Add a straw to each one to make a hole for threading cord later on.
Scrape the crumbs and left over bits into a dish, I've left this one without a straw as I'm going to put it on the bird table rather than hang it up.
Here's another batch I made. If you have an old coconut shell you could also use this as I have here. Some of the bigger moulds I make two or more holes.
Freeze the suet cakes. On super freeze they were ready within half an hour, but it may take 2-3 hours.
Ease the suet cakes out of the pastry cutters, remove the straws and tie on some cord, raffia, or ribbon.
Hang up outside...
Suet is rendered fat and will melt in hotter weather, so keep in the shade. I've found that adding commercial suet bird feed makes it more stable.
A blue tit landed on the suet cake within minutes of me putting it up. He's back every day!
A robin and blue tit enjoyed the treats.
Experiment with your flavours and shapes...
... But sometimes experiments don't work and it falls apart! But the birds don't seem to mind.
Some birds will perch on the fat ball, but most prefer a perch.
Here's a home made perch. I've attached a smaller fat ball to a larger pastry/cookie cutter, and tied short stick to the bottom. The birds seem to like this.
Use ribbon to make the suet cakes into gifts. If you are giving them as presents, label them as bird food as they do look like flap jacks!