Last month at 4H, Rob decided to have the Outdoors Club members make bird feeders that would hold a purchased suet block. He has only a one-hour block of time to work with the kids that take the Outdoors project, so the kits needed to be pre-cut. He had some scrap cedar fence boards to work with that someone had kindly donated.
He cut the larger, flat boards 6″ x 8″ and the end pieces (2 of them) 3/4″ x 1-1/2″ x 6″. The wire is 1/2″ x 1/2″ square mesh wire and it was cut to 5″ x 6″ size. He gave each member 2 kits, and provided hammers, 1-1/2″ galvanized nails, and 4–1/2″ roofing tacks to hold down the screen. The kids hammered the end pieces onto the flat boards and then attached the screen. One end piece is attached right on the end of the board. The other one is attached about 1″ down from the end, so that a hole can be drilled for hanging. You could adjust that measurement a little bit if your suet block was a little bigger or smaller. It needs to fit into the opening, so make sure it will before hammering. The 2 sides are left open so the suet block can slide in, and easily be replaced when eaten by the hungry birds.
As is this picture, 1/2″ fencing staples can be used instead of the roofing tacks, but they proved to be much harder than the roofing tacks for the younger members. Our members range from Kindergarten through high school. The older ones help the younger ones, but the projects need to be do-able for all ages, as much as possible, without being boring for the older ones. It’s a challenge, but having the older kids be junior leaders helps tremendously.
The 1/4″ hole needs to be drilled in the top for hanging, and the suet feeder will be done. Rob estimates that this project can be made for $3 or less. He came in far under that price because the boards and wire had both been donated. He had to buy nails, etc., but got a really good sale on the suet blocks–only 67c each. Each member got to make 2–one to give away for Christmas and one to keep. Everyone seemed to enjoy making the suet feeders.