Why Birds Are Not Eating Your Suet (And How To Fix This)

pileated woodpecker female

Your Suet Feeder is Too New

You’ve just installed a new bird feeder, and you’re excited to see how your birds will react to it, but after a couple of days, nothing. No bird is biting anything from your new bird feeder.


Because birds take a while to get used to something new in their environment. They may be suspicious about the feeder’s size, shape, or color.

Just give your birds time to get used to this new feeder, and pretty soon, they’ll be more comfortable around it and will start to eat from it.

You Have Placed Feeder In Wrong Place

Believe it or not, sometimes birds may not have discovered your feeder yet.

Ensure your feeders are in obvious locations like on poles or near trees.

Try to figure out which birds you want to attract because you have to put the feeders where they would naturally search for food.

Small birds like sparrows like feeders that hang and swing. Woodpeckers like feeders that are near the trunks of trees.

You Are Not Regularly Filling Feeders

Empty suet feeder scrub jay

You may not know this, but birds do remember which feeders are often full or regularly filled with their favorite munchies.

If at one time, you failed to refill your bird feeder with suet and some of your regular birds became “disappointed” because they came to feed and didn’t find any food, they will probably no longer trust your bird feeder.

It is best to keep track of how often you need to refill your bird feeder so you can be consistent about it. You may want to use a larger-sized bird feeder so you won’t have to refill it often, but you run the risk of the food going bad because it’s not eaten fast enough.

Your Birds Prefer Different Feeders

Arizona Woodpecker

If it’s not the suet that’s the problem, then maybe the birds prefer different feeders. Some birders only have one type of bird feeder with which to attract birds. But it is possible that the feeders they’re using are not at all attractive to or suitable for the birds they’re trying to attract. 

Suet cages are simple, can be hung independently, may be partnered with hopper feeders, and may include tail props for woodpeckers.

Suet logs are preferred for nuthatches and woodpeckers because they can cling to these upright logs just like they would if these were real tree trunks. Simple hanging mesh bags can also be an alternative for small birds but not for larger birds. 

You can also sprinkle suet on tray feeders or on the ground for birds that don’t like hanging feeders.

During the winter months, try and put out different feeders to attract a variety of birds. The suet will help them fatten up during winter.

You Have Not Smudged Peanut Butter Nearby To Attract Birds Fast

Peanut butter is one staple food to attract birds like woodpeckers, jays, and chickadees. It can help get your suet noticed.

It’s a good source of protein, and the extra nuts that make it chunky are also a treat for birds. You can smear it on a tree branch or stuff it into the holes of a log feeder to attract birds fast.

You Have Not Added Extras To Entice Birds In

suet cakes for birds

What’s better than suet? Suet with added goodies such as black oil sunflower seeds, or insects.

There is a whole array of different flavors of suet, so try a few different types and see if that added extra encourages more birds.

Your Suet Is Not Fresh

If you have suet in your bird feeder but birds turn away from it, have you thought that maybe it’s because your suet is no longer fresh?

You may be forgetting that suet can go bad, especially when the temperature is hot, and that may be the reason why the birds don’t want to eat it.

Check the suet for freshness.

If it looks brown or black, then that’s easily one sign that it’s gone bad. Another sign is if it emits a strong odor. Third, if it has melted, especially in warm weather. When it melts, it becomes prone to bacteria and fungi.

Your Suet Is Not In The Shade

As mentioned previously, suet can melt easily during hot weather. If you place your bird feeder with suet in an open area during the hot months, it can go bad quickly. Try to find a place with just enough shade to hang your suet bird feeder, particularly when it is warmer still.

Your Birds Prefer Homemade Suet

Suet for birds

Did we say that birds can be picky? Well, they can be, especially if they’re used to receiving homemade suet from you.

While it’s certainly more practical to feed your birds store-bought suet because you only have to buy them and put them in the bird feeders, your birds may prefer homemade suet since they may contain special ingredients that attract specific birds.

It’s not that difficult to make homemade suet with a recipe, so give it a go and see what new feathered friends you make.