We have squirrels running here, there and everywhere! With over 100 nut trees here, you can imagine. We enjoy hanging bird feeders out so we can watch the many different kinds of birds that visit our yard and garden. But that brings a problem. The squirrels take over the feeders! Actually, they make a mess of it! What they don’t eat, ends up dumped on the ground. That brings the age old question of how to keep squirrels out of bird feeders.
After having enough of trying to chase the squirrels away, we decided to try something we had heard about a few times from friends; mixing cayenne pepper into the seed. It may sound harsh, but from everything we’ve read, the birds don’t notice it and it passes right through their systems. Whereas the squirrels will get the pepper on their paws, faces and in their mouth and be turned off without it causing any permanent harm to them.
It seems the best approach is to start off slowly, adding in only a little pepper at a time. This will allow you to find out what the right amount is to ward off both old and new squirrels from your feeders. We have found that roughly 1/8 of a cup per pound of seed works pretty well for us. It’s also an option to use pepper flakes, although its easier for the squirrels to simply eat around them and therefore less effective.
As you can see here, we mixed in a little less than ¼ of a cup of cayenne pepper for 2 pounds of bird seed. Mix well with a spoon or spatula. I wouldn’t recommend using your hands or shaking, the particles could become airborne or you could accidently rub it into your eyes. Cayenne pepper will cause your nose to burn and massive sneeze attacks! I can vouch for that!
A light dusting of cayenne pepper on the ground around the feeder will help keep them away from the area all together. Some have found that setting up a separate area to feed squirrels away from your home and feeders also helps to keep them at bay. In our case, there are so many squirrels, giving them their own feeders just wasn’t quite enough to keep them away the house – hence the need for the cayenne pepper!
If you’ve been searching for an answer to how to keep squirrels out of bird feeders, give it a try. Let us know if it works for you! And, if you have any other solutions we would LOVE to hear them!