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Squirrel using wooden post to reach for hanging nut feeder

Keeping squirrels out of bird feeders

Outwitting a regular visiting squirrel to your bird feeder is so hard its near impossible, but there're solutions to help deter them off your feeder in the garden.

To keep squirrels out of your bird feeder you should obtain a peanut, seed or fat ball feeder that has a cage surround. Well this will allow for small garden birds to enter, it will keep squirrels - and larger birds - out of reach. Other methods include anti-climb devices well keeping it clear from hedges, walls and fencing.

Squirrels are intelligent little creatures who will outwit you at every turn. Though you can fight back well keeping the food out of there reach, which is your primary goal.

Simple solution is to use a squirrel proof bird feeder that has a metal wiring cage that surrounds the shape and length of popular feeders.

With peanut, seed and fat ball proof feeders all widely available well also being very effective.

This cage surround is attached to the feeder positioned in the centre, at a point where its furthest away from a squirrel's reach.

Often higher up or the lower section will become closer to the cage, resulting in easy reach, so be careful when buying a squirrel proof feeder, there are good and bad ones.

Accessing the cage would be limited to small garden birds, keeping the squirrels and even larger birds at bay - which is a nice bonus.

If you wish to keep them away from your pole feeding station with multiple feeders in one, then use a squirrel proof dome that prevents them climbing the pole.

Fortify individual hanging feeders by using the same dome design to stop squirrels approaching your feeder from above.

Stop them entering the garden

Under certain circumstances you may be able to stop squirrels entering your garden all together, though bare in mind this is near impossible in most cases.

If the route to your garden the squirrels take is over low walls or fencing with housing covering up all other angles, then there might be something you can do.

Look to something called bird spike strips.This method helps keep pigeons away from the bird feeder, so might just work for squirrels.

The idea behind this is squirrels won't be interested in stepping on this safe, but annoying spikes which would be positioned on top of the fence or wall.

If its a long wall or fence, forget about it has you'll need to many strips. But if its a short wall use spikes side by side to counter-act the wall width.

Whereas if its a normal garden fence you'll only need to lay the stripes down without needing to double up.

Make it anti-climb proof

One way to stop the squirrels ever having a chance to reach the feeders is by using 'safe on animals' anti-climb materials.

One but awkward solution is by painting your feeding station pole in black anti-climb paint which is slippery, but never dries... well leaving a mark.

We wouldn't suggest this option as it can get messy as its walked through the garden and would be tough for the squirrels to remove.

Instead, you might want to cover the feeding station pole in a generous coating of cooking oil you have available in your garden.

It could be olive, vegetable or seed oil; but know that all options are safe for squirrels.

Objects they climb

Squirrel reaching for nut feeder on gazebo
Squirrels squabble over nut feeder on bracket hanging off garden gazebo

When setting up a bird table or hanging bird feeding station, make so its centrally positioned, away from fencing, trees and hedges.

If you have a bird feeder located near such things found in gardens then the squirrel will simply use it as a land bridge.

Squirrels can only reach the length of there body, so go one further by moving the feeder to the centre of the lawn or patio, away from the garden fence, shed or brick wall.

Common route a squirrel will take to access a hanging bird feeder is by climbing the tree, then head down the branch, then swoop down the feeder rope and onto the feeder.

And that may be the case if the feeders are close to a fence or wall.

Supply them feed

Squirrel eating from wooden squirrel feeder on ground
Squirrel helping itself to the nuts in the squirrel feeder on lawn.

One effective way to keep squirrels out of the bird feeder is by feeding them there own supply of peanuts.

All it takes is to use the bird nuts and peanuts and make a heap where they can easily find and access them in your garden.

But still you can go further a field by fixing a purposely-built wooden squirrel feeder beyond your property boundaries.

If you're receiving unwanted visitation from woodland creators then it may be wise to go into that wooded area and setup a squirrel feeder on route to your garden.

Bird food that squirrels don't like

Squirrel reaching for seed feeder off tree
Squirrel using tree has land bridge to reach the unprotected hanging seed bird feeder.

One way you can deter squirrels returning to the bird feeder (usually its just one or two culprits) is to feed wild bird food squirrels don't like.

Unfortunately that would mean away with the more common bird food you can buy, well replacing it with something you won't be familiar with.

Furthermore, its also something that's not widely available on the market.

Food squirrels don't like are safflower seeds, cardinals and chickadees. However, there could be a chance the birds won't like this new menu either, so keep an eye out.

If you wish, you could also add this option to your nut and peanut mix, or add them to the fat balls or suet blocks.

Stop squirrels from climbing bird feeder pole

All can be halted if we can just stop the squirrels at the pole where they climb to access the feeders hanging off the bird feeding station.

Solution to this could be an attached clear plastic dome one or two feet up the pole, or coat the pole with anti-climbing paint to keep is slick and impossible to climb.

With those options available, in many cases that paint finish does not do the trick as it becomes to messy for you.

Only way to squirrel proof the pole to stop them ever reaching the goodies above, is in our opinion the upside dome.

Hard to keep off bird table

Squirrel tucking into seeds on wooden bird table
Nothing from stopping this young squirrel eating seeds from the bird table.

With the option to use a dome on a rounded pole feeding station, unfortunately this is not possible to use with a traditional, square shape of the wooden bird table post.

Well the bird table is traditionally made from wood, its easy to climb where squirrels are concerned, so the task to prevent them accessing the table surface is made harder.

Evident to this is lack of squirrel proof bird tables with use of a square post it stands on.

However, what we might consider if you're in desperate need is to use a larger rounded dome; cut out a square that fits snug to the post and see if that works.

Metal cage surround

When going for a commercially available squirrel proof bird feeder for sale on the market, almost all options are centred around the usual feeder surrounding in a cage.

The metal case is made from metal wiring which is protected in a softer plastic, rubberised tubing.

Depending on feeder in question, this surround may be a cube shape or a perfect ball or oval shape.

The ideal is to centre the peanut, seed or fat ball feeder in the middle of the cage, well keeping it out of reach of squirrels.

The open gaps on the cage are not so wide as to let squirrels pass through, but are small enough to only allow small common garden birds to enter the cage and feed.

Know that this option is quite effective for deterring large squirrels, but when a small or young squirrel shows up, it would probably be able to slot through the bars.

Squirrel proof feeder options

Deterring squirrels feeding from your hanging bird feeder often requires the standard cage surround option, and would be the most effective.

Mostly suited to peanut, seed or fat ball feeders, its possible to buy these feeders with the cage attached, or buy a cage that is compatible from the manufacturer.

In our opinion it would be wise to get a squirrel proof feeder from the outset, saving you the trouble later trying to make it it fit.

The cage will take up the full length of the feeder contained within the cage, but it will be possible to remove the feeder lid to top it up with feed.

And that's without going through the trouble of removing the cage to only slot it back on.

Using a bird feeder cage is as effective as it is useful. Well it will keep squirrels at bay, its possible to keep greedy big birds from feeding.

When using the cage, its guaranteed Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Great Tits, Sparrows and Finches can all get behind the cage to feed in the centre.

Extended hanging feeder

Gardman guaranteed squirrel proof seed feeder out of box

Limited to mostly seed or peanut feeders is the purposely extended hanging bird feeder.

It appears to be a normal feeder you would normally hang off your feeding station, but only longer; though you'll notice the length is mostly made up of a metal tube.

And its this unique feature that helps you retain the simple purpose with a feeder by extending the food so far down the feeder, it becomes impossible for squirrels to reach.

A squirrels approach on this feeder would be to keep its back feet firmly in place on top, well reaching down the whole length to feed.

Only this shiny, slippery metal cylinder won't allow it to take a foothold, therefore it can't let go to slide down and feed, knowing it will fall to the ground.

Ground feeder cage

Gardman dome metal ground cage with pegs

Perfect solution to protecting your ground feeders is the use of a simple cage that is large enough to cover up most ground bird feeders on the lawn or patio.

Big as it is, squirrels won't be able to lift up the cage due to the weight; likewise, the ground will create a natural grip so the cage cannot be slid out of the way.

If squirrels attempting to reach the food results in the cage moving closer, it might allow the squirrels to eventually reach - so make sure it is firmly in place.

If you like you could use a brick or something heavy on top of the cage to keep it in place.

Though its still possible the ground bird feeder cage may come with pegs for use on the lawn, but when it doesn't just use our easy solution mentioned.

Hanging feeder or pole dome

Petface clear dome covering seed feeder

Probably the most effective way to stop squirrels from climbing the bird feeding pole station, is a dome attached to the pole.

Rather than facing upwards where a squirrel would get leverage to pull itself up and over it - and stop the rain from filling up - its fixed in a way its makes it impossible.

Well facing down, the squirrel will not only have issues reaching over to the edge to get a grip, but if successful the slippery, clear plastic rounded dome would make it harder to climb up and over to the pole above it.

To be effective the dome would be position not so far up the pole the squirrel can reach the feeders anyway's, but no so far down to the ground it will just jump onto it.

Versatile as this squirrel proof device can be, it can also be converted into a single peanut, seed or fat ball feeder; well the feeders hang beneath the dome, the dome becomes the hanger.

Fat ball feeder

Nature's Market wired squirrel proof fat ball feeder

The way fat ball feeders are developed to take individual balls within the feeder, you could be mistaken thinking the fall ball feeder is in fact the squirrel proof cage.

So well the fat ball feeder is surrounded in the cage, its hard to tell the difference.

More importantly though, it is effective for keeping the squirrels out of reach of the yummy fat balls within, with a double cage to get through, making it near impossible.

Though it might be possible for an intelligent squirrel to feed from the protected fat ball feeder from a higher or lower point as the cage gets closer to the fat balls.

If that's the case use a hanging dome to prevent the squirrels reaching the feeder.

Peanut feeder

Gardman decorative bronze squirrel proof peanut feeder

Knowing that a standard peanut bird feeder is made from a lengthy mesh cylinder with the option to fill it up from a top lid, a cage should allow for this option still.

Its also possible you have to unclip the cage itself to remove the feeder to refill.

With a proof peanut feeder the cage surrounding it mimics the shape of the feeder contained within it.

This is further fortified by making the centre positioned feeder harder to reach from the higher and bottom base point - with both sides usually having more built up wiring.

Seed feeder

Gardman seed feeder at the centre of the cage wiring

Squirrel proof bird feeders are similar to that of peanut feeders, only its has the usual seed feeder contained with a clear plastic tubing.

When birds get behind the protective cage they can carry on feeding on the perches where the feeding hole ports are located.

Whenever its a seed feeder you can guarantee the seed feeder tube is the shorter one, this prevents the cage becoming so big its to ugly for use in the garden.

If the squirrel safe seed feeder has a lid to refill, great - but there are also ones available you have to remove the cage to pull out the feeder to refill.

If we had to suggest one, go for a feeder where you only have to lift up the lid.

Squirrel buster

Jacobi Jayne The Squirrel Buster concept

Only make it a happily named squirrel buster when all options have failed.

We say that because its not always a guarantee these squirrel proof feeding devices will always work, and that's for genuine reasons why not.

The metal perch that shuts close the feeder to squirrels if stood on might not always detect the light squirrel itself.

Further to that, the squirrel might figure out that stepping on the perch will close the port holes, so may avoid that altogether, rendering the device useless.

They're also limited for use with seed blends only, so no more peanuts or fat balls.

Spin them off

Novelty titl n spin solid plastic hanging hook device

Well we like this clever solution, its the battery operated mechanism that puts us off.

Not that we won't use it because its needs batteries; its the idea of replacing the batteries every once in a while.

But still, as its designed to be an extension to all your free-hanging bird feeders, it just might do the trick of spinning away intruders.

It will detect the weight of squirrel clambering all over it and begin the spin until the squirrels dash off, deterring squirrels that dare try again.

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