The DEFEEDER - Make Your Hanging Bird Feeder Squirrel Proof.

The DeFeeder (creative, cheesy word construction out of defeat and bird feeder)
I love squirrels, but bird food is expensive. Those little fuzz brains are pure artists, when comes plotting problem solutions. You can see them think and evaluating the situation. They are also not giving up easily, when they fail at their first attempt; and they learn as they go - very admirable!
You can turn any hanging bird feeder into a DeFeeder, at a very minimal price, if you can create the right conditions.
The squirrels will still get enough food from the seeds, the birds are throwing overboard.
I assure can you, no squirrel has been harmed in my attempt to keep them out of my bird feeder.
List of things I used:
1) my hanging bird feeder, which is rather large
2) cloth line assembly
3) a snow saucer for children (5 bucks at Giant Tiger)
4) a 3/16 press-board sheet 4' X 4' (6 bucks at Home Depot)
5) Some exterior paint
I used a spare cloths line assembly, that I installed between our back deck and a fence line tree.
This way, I do not have to walk into the deep snow, when I have to top up the feeder.
The basic idea, would apply to any type of hanging feeder: give the squirrel just ONE way to get to it. Once that is accomplished, a simple disk, hung directly above the feeder, large enough to reach beyond the edge of the feeder, when fully tilt, will do the trick.
The disk can be out of any material, as long as it does not provide too much traction.
A plexiglass disk would be ideal, but corrugated plastic or sheet metal would be great too as long as the disk is large enough to reach beyond that sweet point, were the squirrel still has something to hang on to.
In my case, I wanted to go cheap, as I was just experimenting and did not want to waste too much material.
After I cut my ~3 feet diameter disk out of the 4X4 pressboard, I painted it with some left over exteriour paint to water protect it. That will hopefully prevent it from getting wet and warped.
All that was left to do, was to drill a center hole into my black disk and into the kid's snow saucer. Then I fished the hanging line of the feeder through the holes of the two disks.
The saucer was important to stabilize the black disk, as it was very thin.
Now, the squirrels will have to step out onto the disk to get to the seeds. The disk will tilt under their weight. If this does not make them glide off, they still don't have anything to hold onto, when they dry to navigate the edge. Squirrels that try to swing themselves around to the feeder, find the feeder too out of reach and fall off, which does not stop them from trying again, of course.
If you use a smaller, lighter feeder, you may have to tie a knot into the line, about 2-3 inches above the feeders roof, so the feeder itself does not get tilted. The disk will have to rest on this knot.
The 10 min video to squirrels and the DeFeeder in action. It's quite funny. There is nothing happening the forst 2: 25 min. So scroll in, using the progress time bar by about 2min and 25 secs. Look for that squirrel assessing the chances from various locations, before making the first attack attempt. As I said before, none of them got hurt, even though it may look like that for a sec. The feeder is about 10' above the ground.
I should have zoomed in, but then one would miss out on all the little action. So look closely for those little black furry things. Sorry for the bad quality. This is my first time filming and posting.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Jody Ritchie
    Jody Ritchie
    on Apr 5, 2017

    Hilarious!!! Love how he fell but got right back up, trying again!! Great idea!!
  • Brad Whelan
    Brad Whelan
    on Apr 25, 2017

    I noticed that the squirrel under the feeder was enjoying the birdseed that appears to have spilled on the lawn.
    Do you see much spillage when you added the disk? Is there a way to hang the feeder in a way that it doesn't tip the bird feede?
    • Christin Adree
      Christin Adree
      on Apr 27, 2017

      Birds are like humans selective eaters. Actually every animal is. So, depending on the bird, they will look for the preferred seeds and throw out the ones in the way. So, when you have mixed seeds, like most people do, there will be spillage. However, many birds will also then pick up the seeds from the ground, if this is where THERE seeds are.
      The feeder tipping is not a problem, with my feeder. It does not tip enough to spill, even with larger birds landing on it.
      If you still need to find a way to have no tipping, mount your feeder onto a steel pole. Then you do not need the disks on top either. Squirrels have a hard time climbing steel, because their claws can't hold on. If they still can climb it, use a large flower pot, up-side-down, under the feeder (the pole goes through the center of the flowerpot). Squirrels can not climb around it.

  • Karen Jones-Graham
    Karen Jones-Graham
    on Jul 17, 2020

    Did they ever get to the feeder?

Join the conversation

2 of 129 comments
  • Debi
    Debi
    on Mar 17, 2019

    we just shoot the squirrels.. sorry


  • Pamela
    Pamela
    on Jul 5, 2020

    Loved your "drama" music. Squirrels are funny. They are pretty greedy though. I have two that I feed out of a dish on the ground..sunflowed seeds. Great video. Thanks. I love your grey squirres. We had one here. Haven't seen him since our tree split in have from the weight of snow. (Colorado)

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