How to Make a Squirrel Feeder

Five Methods:Making a Simple Corn FeederBuilding a Hanging Corn FeederBuilding a Box FeederHanging a Seed CakeUnderstanding the Basics of Squirrel Feeders

Although often considered to be pests, squirrels can be entertaining to watch. Also, utilizing a designated squirrel feeder is an effective method for keeping the food supplies of your bird feeders intact. You may like to learn how to make a squirrel feeder to entice more squirrels into your yard and to provide entertainment for you and your family as you see them scramble for food.

Method 1
Making a Simple Corn Feeder

  1. 1
    Find a suitable piece of wood. Wood will function as the base of the corn feeder, so it is important that you find a stable piece of wood that is strong enough to remain in one piece once nails have been driven through it and can support the weight of the corn as well as the weight of the squirrels. [1]
  2. 2
    Attach nails or spikes. Once you have selected a suitable piece of wood, drive long nails or small spikes into the wood. Make sure the nails are spaced far enough apart from one another so that they can comfortable be fitted with an ear of corn. [2]
  3. 3
    Skewer corn cobs. Drive full ears of corn onto the nails you inserted into the piece of wood you selected. Make sure the ears are spaced far enough apart to allow multiple squirrels to access them at once. [3]
  4. 4
    Place the feeder in an accessible area. Make sure that the feeder is placed in an area that is ideal for the squirrels and also accessible to you. You will need to be to access the feeder to replenish the food supply.
    • If your primary aim is to observe the squirrels that come to your yard to feed, make sure the feeder is located in an area that will be visible to you.
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    Monitor the food supply. If a feeder remains empty or the food supply has been exhausted for some time, squirrels will move on to other food sources. Be sure to keep your feeder well-stocked with ears of corn to ensure the squirrels keep coming back.

Method 2
Building a Hanging Corn Feeder

  1. 1
    Find a suitable tree branch. You will want to select a low-hanging tree branch that requires the squirrels to do some maneuvering to reach it, but that still rests in a comfortable line of vision for you viewing pleasure.
  2. 2
    Hang simple wires from the branch. In this case, twisted coat hangers or fishing-wire with a high tensile strength will suffice. Hang these wires with roughly six inches to one foot of slack around the tree limb. This will require that squirrels maneuver to get to the food without providing a major obstacle to them.
    • Try attaching corn cobs to a bungee cord which is then hung from a tree limb or platform. Squirrels will perform acrobatics in an effort to feed on the corn, which is entertaining to watch.
  3. 3
    Create loops or holding points at the end of each wire. Once the wires are fastened to the tree branch, create a mechanism at the end of each wire capable of holding an ear of corn. The simplest way to do this is to twist a loop into the wire hangers that will support an ear of corn or tie a loop into fishing-wire.
  4. 4
    Attach the corn. Attach whole ears of corn into the loops you created at the end of your wires. Make sure they are securely fastened, as they will need to support the weight of squirrels climbing on and hanging off of them.
    • If the squirrels knock the corn to the ground, it largely defeats the purpose of employing a hanging feeder which is designed to make the squirrels “work” for the food.
  5. 5
    Enjoy the feeder in action. Now that the hanging wires have been stocked with corn, sit back and enjoy watching the squirrels perform various physical and acrobatic feats to get to the food supply. Be sure to replace exhausted ears of corn to keep the squirrels coming back.

Method 3
Building a Box Feeder

  1. 1
    Acquire an appropriate piece of wood. You can build a box feeder out of any size or type of wood, depending on your needs and specifications. Ideally, you would purchase a cedar fence slat which measures 5" x 1/2" x 4 ft.[4][5]
  2. 2
    Cut the wood into five measured pieces. Cut the wood you purchased into four pieces of various sizes to make the base, the back, the lid, and the sides. If you are utilizing a 5” x 1/2” x 4ft piece of wood, you should cut the pieces to the following specifications:
    • Back= 10 x 5 inches
    • Base = 12 x 5 inches
    • Sides = 5 x 5 inches (2 pieces)
    • Lid = 5 1/2 x 5 inches [6]
  3. 3
    Drill pilot holes for mounting screws. Drill the first hole about 1" from the top of back piece in the center of the wood and drill a second hole roughly 7" below the first one. [7]
    • The two side pieces need a 1/4" deep saw kerf made about 3/16" from front edge. This will allow the plexiglass front cover slide up and down. One of your side pieces needs a hole drilled thru at the saw kerf, so that it is just large enough to allow the nail to be put in by hand. This will keep the plexiglass from being lifted up by the squirrels. [8]
  4. 4
    Assemble your cut pieces of wood. First, fasten the bottom piece to the back piece using 3 flathead screws. Then, fasten each of the side pieces to the bottom piece with 2 flathead screws and to the back piece with 2 flathead screws. [9]
  5. 5
    Position the lid. Put the lid in place and screw a hinge to lid and the back piece. [10][11]
    • Make sure to use the screws that came with the hinge piece to ensure all the components fit together properly. [12]
  6. 6
    Mount the feeder. Remove the plexiglass front cover and fasten the feeder to a tree or a post with the 2" flathead screws. [13][14]
  7. 7
    Stock with food. Once you have fastened the feeder to a tree or post, select a food type and fill the feeder. Then, simply wait for the squirrels to come along and enjoy.
    • Squirrels eat a wide variety of nuts, seeds and plants. While peanuts and corn, due to their wide availability, have become popular choices in stocking squirrel feeders, they actually provide very little nutritional value to the squirrel. Hickory nuts, butternuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are all healthy substitutes that the squirrels will enjoy.[15][16]
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Method 4
Hanging a Seed Cake

  1. 1
    Purchase seed cake. Go to any pet supply or outdoor supply store to purchase a seed cake.
    • Alternatively, you can make your own seed cake at home by purchasing the mix of seeds you want to feed the squirrels and mixing them together with lard or gelatin mix.
    • When using lard, melt the lard in the microwave, which usually takes about 2 minutes and then stir in the birdseed. If you decide to use the gelatin, measure out an appropriate amount of water into a small saucepan and add the dry gelatin, heating the mixture on the stove for a few minutes until the water dissolves the gelatin. Then, take the mixture off of the heat and stir in the birdseed. Place your seed/lard/gelatin mixture into your desired mold, on top of parchment paper to avoid any seepage, and let it set in the refrigerator for a few hours.[17]
  2. 2
    Decide on a seed cake holder. Seed cake holders generally come in two styles, those that hang from a tree branch and those that fasten directly to a tree or post. Figure out which style is best for you before making your purchase.
  3. 3
    Hang or fasten seed cake holder. Find an ideal area of your yard or nature space to place the seed cake holder.
    • If you purchased a hanging seed cake holder, you will want to look for a tree with a reasonably-sized, low-hanging limb that is perpendicular to the ground to which you can tie the seed cake holder. If you purchased a seed cake holder that fastens to a tree or post, place the holder roughly six feet off the ground and follow the fastening instructions on the label.
  4. 4
    Find a multiple trees for hanging. When hanging a seed cake, it is important to remember that many animals in your yard will feed on seed cakes. If your goal is to keep the squirrels and birds separated, make sure you hang multiple seed cakes. Cakes hung higher in locations are ideal for birds, whereas seed cakes hung at lower levels will be more readily accessed by squirrels. Take care not hang the cake too low, or it will be eaten by deer.
  5. 5
    Stock the seed cake holder with seed cake. Once the holder(s) is in the correct position, stock it with the seed cake you purchased from the store.
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    Monitor wildlife eating habits. You may find, once you have hung your seed cake, that squirrels prefer one brand of seed cake over another. Make sure to monitor the frequency and volume of squirrels coming to feed on the seed cake and adjust the type of seed cake as you see fit.

Method 5
Understanding the Basics of Squirrel Feeders

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    Protect your backyard bird feeders from being raided by squirrels. Squirrels will find and feast on the seed you place out for birds. Constructing a squirrel feeder may help keep squirrels away from food set out for other wildlife.
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    Place squirrel feeders away from your home. Any feeder placed too close to the house may encourage the rodents to try to gain entry. Squirrels are also very destructive and will chew through parts of your home or get into the attic.
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    Find an area of your yard away from bird feeders. The squirrel feeder needs to be in a separate area so the squirrels will stay away from places you don't want them to be. Squirrels are very territorial and will soon claim their feeder as their own.
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    Select an ideal location for squirrels. Locate an area of your property that has shrubbery or trees which will give protection and will provide a way for the squirrels to escape.
  5. 5
    Select a feeder and food type. Once you have found the ideal location for your squirrel feeder, you will need to decide which type of squirrel feeder you would like to build and select a food supply with which to stock the feeder.
    • The food source you select often plays a role in deciding what sort of feeder you may want to build.
    • Squirrels like to eat corn and will find a multitude of ways to get to it. Also, corn is cheap and readily available in most areas, making it an ideal source of food for a squirrel feeder.
    • Native nuts are a good choice of food. Walnuts, acorns, pecans, or whatever nuts grow in your area are natural squirrel food. Of course, these must be raw and not salted or flavored. Sunflower seeds are also a good food for squirrels.
    • Many people feed squirrels peanuts, but unless they are roasted to kill a toxic mold, squirrels can get sick from eating them. While squirrels will certainly take advantage of a readily available food source like peanuts, they are of limited nutritional value to squirrels.
    • Squirrels also need a source of calcium to be healthy. Consider buying a special calcium mixture made for squirrels or provide occasional bones for your squirrels to gnaw.

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Categories: Small and Furry | Wildlife