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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

I noticed a hummingbird sitting on our Suet block cage a few weeks ago. It was pouring, so I assumed it was getting out of the rain, since it is located under an overhang. But, it turns out, that although hummingbirds need sugar for energy, they also need protein. Their protein comes in the form of insects. Suet blocks attract birds that feed on insects, since the animal fat suet is made of provides a great source of protein. He/she has not been back to take advantage of the suet. I’m not sure if hummingbirds even bother with suet. So, I’m putting out a sugar water feeder to get the hummingbird(s) into view.

The advantage of making your own hummingbird food is:


FYI – Red Food Dye is completely unnecessary.
It may look nice to you, but the birds don’t care.
There is no conclusive research saying the dye
is dangerous to the birds, but there is also
no long term research saying it is safe.

One Part Sugar (Organic or White/Refined)
Four Parts Water 

In a small pot, I poured one cup of sugar and four cups of water. This is enough to get started, but you can make a lot, and store it in the refrigerator for about ten days.


Stir the sugar into the water with a spoon or fork.


Boil your concoction until the water is bubbling.

Then, let it cool down to room temperature.



Add to your feeder (funnels are handy) and hang it up outside. You can purchase one for a few dollars or get a fancy one if you’d like.

One important thing is to keep your hummingbird feeder in the shade. That way, the homemade nectar will stay fresher, longer. The second thing is to hang it in a way that discourages pests like ants. Make sure that there are not branch or other pathways (other than the necessity of a string) for crawling bugs to get to it. Bees? There is not much you can do to deter them, but hopefully you will only get honey or bumble bees, which are fun to watch too.


You could make a hummingbird drinker. Just obtain a wine bottle, twine, a cork, thin copper pipe, and a little end cap that you can get at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or a Local Hardware Store (a well-stocked one, with weird little items like this).

Change the nectar often. I always rinse the feeder with bleach water, since sugar water tends to create mold. Rinse it thoroughly, so that no chlorine residue remains.

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