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Monday, February 28, 2011

Bark Butter Recipe


For all that want to know how to make Bark Butter, here is a recipe. The person who gave it to me said go ahead and give it to others. So here it is, you can split it in half. This makes about 8 cups with out splitting it. Note: you can add bird seed, bird nut mix, raisins, or anything else thats is good for birds. I added some things to mine. Be sure to have paper and a pen on hand to write down this recipe, and here it is: In a big bowl, put in 2 cups of lard, add in with that 2 cups of peanut butter (this can be crunchy, smooth, or creamy) stir that together. Then add (it may help to add ingredients separately, stiring in between so its not so hard to stir at once) 4 cups cornmeal, 2 cups rolled oats, 2 cups unsalted sunflower seeds (In place of this, I used bird seed.) 1 tsp. of honey. Stir thoroughly. Let it set in room temperature, and spread on tree bark. Put in container and store in room temperature. And that's the recipe. I want to thank MJ for giving this to me. I hope you will enjoy this (well, maybe the birds will enjoy it.) at least you will enjoy watching the birds eat it. NOTE: DO PUT THE BARK BUTTER UP HIGH ENOUGH SO THAT DOGS CAN'T GET TO IT. AND THEY WILL TRY TO GET TO IT. ~Whitney

72 comments:

  1. I make a similar concoction but use vegetable shortening and melt it with the peanut butter in the microwave first. Then put in the dry ingredients, stir, pour into a pan and let harden. I smear it on pine cones and hang them from trees. One suggestion....I would probably leave out the honey. It isn't necessary and birds really do not need the sugar to make the mix appealing to them. Honey is toxic to hummingbirds I think, and not sure if it is good for other species or not. Just some thoughts! Nice blog!

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    1. plus honey is not healthy for birds, for some it is toxic

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    2. Oh good golly! Do NOT use Honey (Toxic), Do NOT use Crisco( Birds need animal fat for energy,Crisco is Vegetable fat and has no nutritional value,Use lard or rendered Beef suet)
      DO NOT USE BIRD SEED,Birds always husk seed as they eat,if you add it to suet they could eat it whole therefore causing them harm,Use hulled Sunflower bits.

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    3. Do NOT use Honey (Toxic), Do NOT use Crisco( Birds need animal fat for energy,Crisco is Vegetable fat and has no nutritional value,Use lard or rendered Beef suet)
      NEVER USE BIRD SEED,Birds always husk seed as they eat,if you add it to suet they could eat it whole therefore causing them harm,Use hulled Sunflower bits.

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  2. "Well if we get technical...vegetable fat does nothing for the birds - they need animal fat for an energy source. These guys aren't watching their cholesterol. It is for instant energy. P.S. Hummers do not eat bark butter. And one hopefully knows to use simple sugar(white) for their mixture without red food coloring."
    --- Posted for a reader that could not access Blog

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    1. Stupid question but would you buy lard at the food store or is something like Crisco alright to use? An in my opinion, one can never remind people enough to do without the red food coloring!

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    2. Hi Marsha, you can buy the lard right where you find Crisco in the store.. I never did use Crisco, so I would try to stick with lard. And you should never add red coloring to it, as this does nothing for the birds and could harm them.. thanks for commenting :)

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    3. Oh good golly! Do NOT use Honey (Toxic), Do NOT use Crisco( Birds need animal fat for energy,Crisco is Vegetable fat and has no nutritional value,Use lard or rendered Beef suet)
      DO NOT USE BIRD SEED,Birds always husk seed as they eat,if you add it to suet they could eat it whole therefore causing them harm,Use hulled Sunflower bits.

      Delete
  3. The original (commercial product) consists of rendered beef suet, roasted peanuts, peanut oil and corn. It is available at Wild Birds Unlimited on a retail basis but seems like one could tinker around with the quantities/ingredients to come up with your own since $9.99 a container. I can't wait to experiment since I make my own suet/peanut butter cakes!

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  4. Oops, forgot to add that some supermarket brands of lard (which is rendered fat)contain bad-for-you trans fats so make sure to read labels if using this for the bark butter. You can render your own fat by getting ground suet from a butcher. Use a stainless steel pot with a thick bottom. I stir often, especially in the beginning. It will become a liquid with lots of meat/solid pieces floating in it. Eventually, if you haven't stirred frequently a few pieces may stick to the bottom. Ideally you keep it at low setting until the bubbles stop rising to the surface. Strain the liquid fat from solids. Some people render twice for longer storage but I render and make my bird cakes all at once and just put them in the freezer. Hope this is useful. I use this for my entire family and give as part of the annual Christmas/holiday gifts (their year of suet for the birds). Everybody, including the birds love it.

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    Replies
    1. Why not use bacon,beef or chicken fat from roasting meats? I have always used this, never commercial lard or crisco.

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    2. I wondered the same thing so looked it up online. I found that chicken or turkey fat is not good for birds and has negative effect on their feathers.

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  5. Do you use the Bark Butter during the winter? I live in Ohio.
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hello! yes, I do use the barkbutter in the winter months.. its not good to use it during the summer.. thanks for the qustion..

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  6. Thank you for the recipe! I am going to make this with my first graders to go with our unit on birds!
    Jenny

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    1. Hello! you are welcome.. :)the kids in your class will love doing this recipe..

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  7. Do crows eat bark butter, I don't want to increase the number of crows in my area as all other birds leave when they hear the sound of the crow.

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    1. Of course they do, They need to eat too you know,This won't increase the number in your area,They were already there.The birds in my yard do not leave if there are Crows... Again Crows need to eat too

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  8. hello! I have seen one crow eat the barkbutter that I put out a few years ago.. So, I would say yes.. they do.. if you want to keep crows off of the butter, put the bark butter closer to your house or on your deck put it on a chunk of wood..

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    Replies
    1. grackles will eat it and run of songbirds. Putting it closer to the house will deter the grackles.

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  9. I have used this recipe recently, just putting it in my log feeder, and the birds apparently love it! I have Carolina wrens, downy woodpeckers, redbellied woodpeckers all coming to eat it. I have not used it as a "butter" per se - just filling my log feeder holes with it. I just made another batch this morning. I am out of ingredients and have to put them on my grocery list so I can keep this up! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

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  10. Thank you for the recipe! I couldn't find lard in any stores here around. Any idea where I might get it?

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    Replies
    1. Safeway Carrie's it, it's called Tenderflake. They also have their own brand.
      Makes good pastry too:)

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    2. Oh good golly! Do NOT use Honey (Toxic), Do NOT use Crisco( Birds need animal fat for energy,Crisco is Vegetable fat and has no nutritional value,Use lard or rendered Beef suet)
      DO NOT USE BIRD SEED,Birds always husk seed as they eat,if you add it to suet they could eat it whole therefore causing them harm,Use hulled Sunflower bits.

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  11. Do you use black oil type sunflower seeds or the kind like we eat? Or the kind still in the shell?

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    Replies
    1. HI,
      I use the black oil seeds.. don't use the ones that we eat, they have salt... Or you can get the bird food mix that already has sunflower seeds in it that are shelled, if you want to make it easier on the birds.. :) hope this helps.. ~Whitney

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    2. Only use Hulled seeds if you want to add seed... Birds not not eat seed hulls and if mixed in could it could harm them...

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  12. How about adding raisins to the mixture?

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    1. Hi,
      yes you can add raisins.. just be sure to soak them for awhile before adding them into the mixture, that way they are plump and soft.. :)

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    2. Thank you! I have read it is best to place raisins in a pan and cover with water, bring to a boil, drain water and let them cool. Cut in half.

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    3. Your welcome Jim, hope it works for you.. :) I'm sure the birds will enjoy it..

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    4. Oh good golly! Do NOT use Honey (Toxic), Do NOT use Crisco( Birds need animal fat for energy,Crisco is Vegetable fat and has no nutritional value,Use lard or rendered Beef suet)
      DO NOT USE BIRD SEED,Birds always husk seed as they eat,if you add it to suet they could eat it whole therefore causing them harm,Use hulled Sunflower bits.

      Delete
  13. I bought a suet bar at Wal-Mart and melted it down; added equal amount of peanut butter and 1/2 cup corn meal and grits. stir together, pour into container and chill down.

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    1. and also if you wanted to you could add more birdseed, or nut mix.. or berries to it.. soak the dried berries (or raisins) in water to plump up.. that would work too.. :)

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  14. I'be been making a mix of peanut butter, lard (Walmart carries it), plain corn meal (not corn meal mix) and flour.
    1 cup flour, 3 c. corn meal, 2 tbl lard, 4 tbl peanut butter. blend all together and add just enough water to hold together... All birds love this.I do keep it refrigerated.

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  15. Just made this and had a Downy Woodpecker and sparrows on the log within 10 minutes. I'm eager to see what else appears as the afternoon goes on. Thanks, Whitney!

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    1. thanks for commenting Wendy! so glad that your birds love this :) you should see more birds like nuthatches enjoying this as well.. and depending on where you live, pine warbles also are a fan of this!

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    2. Oh good golly! Do NOT use Honey (Toxic), Do NOT use Crisco( Birds need animal fat for energy,Crisco is Vegetable fat and has no nutritional value,Use lard or rendered Beef suet)
      DO NOT USE BIRD SEED,Birds always husk seed as they eat,if you add it to suet they could eat it whole therefore causing them harm,Use hulled Sunflower bits.

      Delete
  16. Thanks .. that's a lot of butter hope they like it!

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    1. you are welcome. I am sure you will get lots of happy birdies!

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  17. Isn't lard bacon fat? I generally just pour the fat off my cooking and use it.

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  18. Is there something to add to this to keep the squirrels off of it? I remember something I made that you put red pepper flakes in it but I don't remember if it was to keep squirrels away.

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    Replies
    1. yes, hot pepper flakes can help.. hope it helps..

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    2. You can get hardware cloth which is a wire mesh that is smaller and put it over the butter (I also have it on my suet feeders) also if you have a problem with them climbing to get up a post to a feeder, put a slinky on the post, they can't get up it!

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    3. Squirrels need to eat too.
      Do NOT use a "Slinky" the Squirrel can get tangled in it and get injured!

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  19. My question is about lard. I'm a city girl, and have tried to research lard, so do I have this in my kitchen from fresh hamburger drippings, strained and cooled?

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    1. I would use the lard you get in a tub at your local grocery store..

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  20. Can I feed this bark butter throughout the summer or will it spoil in the heat? My birds LOVE this recipe and I keep having to make batch after batch. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I use this only in cool weather months where I live (Texas) as the heat would just melt it. And make a huge mess as well.

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    2. Oh good golly! Do NOT use Honey (Toxic), Do NOT use Crisco( Birds need animal fat for energy,Crisco is Vegetable fat and has no nutritional value,Use lard or rendered Beef suet)
      DO NOT USE BIRD SEED,Birds always husk seed as they eat,if you add it to suet they could eat it whole therefore causing them harm,Use hulled Sunflower bits.

      Delete
  21. As a former wildlife rehabilitator, I can assure you that neither sugar nor honey are necessary and in fact they are not good for wild animals' digestion. Neither are a normal part of birds' diet, thus the microbes in their digestive systems have not evolved to deal with it. It is seriously not a good idea.

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    1. What about the natural sugar in soaked dry fruit?

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  22. I make peanut butter cookies for my dog: peanut butter, whole wheat flour, rolled oats & water. I know its already cooked, but would the birds eat these?
    Thanks

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    1. They would probably peck at them if you hung them up on a feeder with string. Hope that helps...

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  23. Do birds get sick if they eat peanut butter with xylitol in it? My cat does. Also, do birds like dried cranberries?

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  24. Mexican grocery stores have lard.

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  25. Oh good golly! Do NOT use Honey (Toxic), Do NOT use Crisco( Birds need animal fat for energy,Crisco is Vegetable fat and has no nutritional value,Use lard or rendered Beef suet)
    DO NOT USE BIRD SEED,Birds always husk seed as they eat,if you add it to suet they could eat it whole therefore causing them harm,Use hulled Sunflower bits.

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  26. My family are avid deer hunters . I use venison fat to make suit. The birds love it I cant make it fast enouf for them.

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  27. Is it okay to add millet to the mix? Since it is in a lot of bird seed bags, I'm thinking it's okay, but wanted to check.

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    1. Millet is a filler seed. Most birds don't eat it. I wouldn't put it in the bark butter. You can get chubby peanut butter, or add peanut pieces to the mix.

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    2. Millet is not just a filler seed....buntings, finches and other songbirds love it.....sorghum is a commonly used filler....go ahead and add millet to your bark butter

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    3. Millet is not just a filler seed....buntings, finches and other songbirds love it.....sorghum is a commonly used filler....go ahead and add millet to your bark butter

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  28. Do Western Bluebird eat bark Butter?

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    1. Our Eastern bluebirds love it. I put some on the pine trees and some in cups on the feeder arms. They like the cups better. Maybe easier for them than hanging in the trees as the mealworms are on the arms as well.

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  29. Have you ever added hot pepper? Do you know what kind or how much?

    We have a squirrel and raccoon problem. I buy hot pepper bird blocks, but would like to make bark butter.

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  30. Asking the same question....tasted my Hot Bark Butter from Wild Birds Unlimited and it was VERY hot! Thinking of mixing in cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.

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  31. Same question here. We have lots of squirrels and rats, whom I do NOT wish to feed...they find plenty in everyone's garbage! So can we just use regular cayenne pepper?

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  32. I've added a good bit of cayenne and red pepper flakes and the squirrels still eat my bark butter....perhaps some habanero powder?

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