PHOTO: Jessica Walliser
December 30, 2016

Birds are helpful farm residents. They keep pest numbers down as they glean insects from crops and feed them to their young every spring and summer. In addition to hanging up nest boxes, hobby farmers can support these feathered friends by feeding them, especially during the winter months. This clever suet feeder encourages woodpeckers, titmice, nuthatches and other winter birds by presenting the treat in a log shape.

I find I have fewer troubles with starlings, grackles and blue jays stealing the suet when I use a log suet feeder like this one because these birds cannot grip the log like woodpeckers and nuthatches can.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 log, about 4-6 inches in diameter and 18 inches long
  • 1 screw hook
  • 1 block of suet
  • electric drill
  • 1/2-inch spiral bit
  • 1-inch spiral bit
  • safety goggles

Step 1

Lay the log on the ground. Hold it between your feet to keep it from moving, or use a clamp to secure the log to a workbench or table. Do not drill into the log unless it’s secured in a stationary position.

Step 2

drill log
Jessica Walliser

Use an electric drill equipped with a 1/2-inch spiral bit to drill three holes down the side of the log. Each hole should go into the log by about 1½ to 2 inches. Turn the log a quarter turn, and drill a line of three more holes. Repeat two more times until you have four lines of three holes around the log.

Step 3

redrill log
Jessica Walliser

Redrill all the holes using the 1-inch bit to make them larger.

Step 4

screw in a hook
Jessica Walliser

Screw a hook into the top of the log. When it gets too difficult to screw in by hand, slide the shaft of a screwdriver through the hook to make a lever. Screw it in the rest of the way by turning the screwdriver.

Step 5

stuff suet into log
Jessica Walliser

Cut or break off pieces of the suet block. Press the suet into the holes, packing it in tightly until it’s flush with the surface of the log.

Step 6

Jessica Walliser
Jessica Walliser

Hang your suet log feeder from a tree branch or a shepherd’s hook. It may take a few hours for the woodpeckers and nuthatches to find it, but when they do, you’ll enjoy watching them dangle upside down and cling to the log to peck out the suet. The suet will need to be replaced as it’s emptied.

For Added Interest

  • mix whole nuts into the suet before packing it into the holes
  • add dried mealworms to the suet for extra protein
  • include dried cranberries, blueberries, and raisins in the suet


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