riter, naturalist, NPR commentator,watercolor painter, and gardener. She developed this dough type suet a few years ago and then changed it a bit in 2010. You can read her story at http://juliezickefoose.blogspot.com/2010/03/zick-dough-improved.html I read her blog often and thought that I would give the recipe a try. Since it's been hot, I have only given my birds a little bit at a time, so that it doesn't melt or spoil. Here is the recipe that I followed,
NEW ZICK DOUGH: SMALL BATCH
Melt in the microwave and stir together:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup lard
In a large mixing bowl, combine
2 cups chick starter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup yellow cornmeal and
1 cup flour
Add melted lard/peanut butter mixture to the combined dry ingredients and mix well.
I had to make a trip to our local feed store for the chick starter. They sold two kinds...one was a treated one with antibiotics and the other was organic. Julie says to use the organic. I paid under $20 for a 40lb bag, which I keep in my metal birdseed can. I bought the lard and a generic peanut butter and came home and made up a small recipe. It was really easy and it filled a gallon zip lock bag plus maybe a half another one. I keep these in the refrigerator.
This is how it is working so far. Each day, in the morning, I fill the deck shelf feeder with bird seed. Then I take a handful of this dough and crumble it on top of the seed. At first the birds looked at it and wouldn't eat it. After a day or so the first bird to sample was a sparrow. The other sparrows went to the other feeder, but kept their eyes on the one brave one. Then my little friend Chip the chipmunk scrambled up the railing and plopped himself in the feeder. A half hour later, jaws huge, he climbed out of the feeder and ambled down the railing...waddling back and forth with his heavy load. He went right to his favorite hole in the ground behind the hosta, by the birdbath. Ah....what could be sweeter than to live, undisturbed, near a water source, plenty of food, with a fast escape plan. During the course of a few days many sparrows have come, Chip is there, several doves, a nuthatch, brown creeper and a couple of woodpeckers. I don't sit there all day, but I haven't seen cardinals or bluebirds or jays. I have been surprised that no starlings have come or blackbirds. The real test will be in cold weather...when birds are scrambling to find their places to feed for the coming winter. Now, in the morning, I fill the feeder and wait for Chip to appear. He doesn't come until the dough is there. Do you think he watches me...or does the fragrance of peanut butter wafting through the air...just drive him crazy? So far, I would call this a success...it seems more nutritious that a block of suet with just a smattering of seeds from the store. I'll be writing more about the dough as the cold weather comes...and the birds are flocking to see what is new on the menu.