Does anyone have any suggestions for building or buying a raccoon proof squirrel feeder?
Raccoon proof squirrel feeder?
Does anyone have any suggestions for building or buying a raccoon proof squirrel feeder?
Ouch, that's a tall order. Raccoons are very good at getting what they want. My squirrels are acrobatic and are capable of leaping from a tree limb down onto birdfeeders while large baffles seem to foil the raccoons. Maybe you could place a feeder on a pole in range of tree limbs that your squirrels could use to launch themselves from. Add the large mammal baffle to your pole. My other thought would be to hang your squirrel feeder from a branch that isn't capable of supporting the weight of a raccoon. Raccoons are considerably heavier than squirrels and I've watched them give up on occasion.
Here's hoping somebody can offer something for you to try.
Welcome to DG!
This looks like fun:
Build your own (and please keep your cats indoors):
I tried that "put the feeder on a smaller branch" trick. The raccoons broke the branch and then took off with the feeder. We have really well fed raccoons here. I have 2 new coon skin caps this year.
My parents are out in the country. They have a ton of coons. They put coon baffles on all of their feeders....they use shepard's hooks and the expensive pole system from WBU. They don't have problems with coons getting into the feeders now. They also keep all feeders away from any trees.
We bought a coon/squirrel baffle (36" long hollow tube 6-8" diameter) it worked for squirrels on trees which were too far to jump (not many places but middle of driveway). It was expensive ($25-$35). I made a cheap version from snap together ductwork. It wasn't as pretty, but just as effective. Available from Home Depot or Lowe's (or other home repair place). Less than $10 total for 6" diameter --
Used a snap-on end-cap (or whatever they call it) for the top. Drill holes and attach feeder mount to it before snapping it together, because it is nearly impossible to pull apart after putting together.
For racoons you probably want 8" diameter so that the coon's arms won't reach around. These are effective for putting below blue-bird nesting boxes to keep coon's from raiding them.
After doing all of that, we discovered that the squirrels could still jump to most of our feeders (and flying squirrels raid at night) -- So we just put out small amounts daily.
Now, THAT was worth bumping this thread up! Thanks for that link, pelletory! I bookmarked it.
Yes, I have recently built a racoon-proof squirrel feeder.
My design for a "metal cage with flip-top box feeder" utilized concepts of someone else's design for removable, tree-mounted lexan box assembly with a gravity feeder bottle.
I did not use the "lexan" design, because lexan can be more difficult to work with, considering the material's expense. As birds will visit a squirrel's feeder, a gravity feeder bottle is not acceptable as it is not bird-proof.
Placement of a flip-top squirrel feeder box in a metal cage keeps birds from eating the squirrels' sunflower seed and keeps racoons at a distance, too.
I used a small, off-the-shelf hamster cage, and structurally reinforced it so it can't collapse if animals or humans crawl on it. It's bolted to custom, fence rail-mountable brackets I made, and sits 20 feet from a pole-mounted bird feeder. The whole assembly is mounted so firmly on the rail, not even a human with a sledgehammer can knock it off.
The cage currently has one 3.5" x 3.5" side entrance for the squirrels (yes, birds wonder in, but can't get flip the top of the squirrel feeder box). I have a larger, top entrance to access/re-fill the squirrel feeder box.
As squirrels prefer 2 entrances, I have made an attachable entryway with its own small ledge, but not yet modified the cage to mount/ strap-down this assembly over a new hole to complete a 2nd entrance. One squirrel will not let a 2nd squirrel use a feeder simultaneously, so am dragging on the modification.
As the entire roof of the cage is removable, I used release-able plastic tie straps. If/when the coons show up again, I'll shift strapping to wire metal, but for right now, am happy with release-able plastic straps.
The squirrel feeder box has 2 spread footers attached to its bottom. The primary footer has a hole on each end , matching finishing nails mounted in the structural frame, to ensure no animals can shift the feeder box in the cage. The 2nd footer simply levels the box (to match the level of the primary footer).
I also added a foot bar on the front of the feeder box, to eliminate need for a squirrel to stand only on one foot while reaching into the box when it's half-empty.
There were a lot of good suggestions on this thread for making bird feeders proof against both raccoons and squirrels, but that looks like a great way to feed just the squirrels (and chipmunks).
Great photos, too...
I second the recommendation for the WIld Birds Unlimited pole system. We tried every kind of baffle with no success until we tried the WBU. I can't figure out why the WBU system works when others did not (they look alike?) but I am not complaining as it has been almost 2 years with no raccoons or squirrels in our feeders.
rail-mount bracket, with front ledge attached (eliminates need to attach ledge to cage structure
basically, the bracket is clamped around 3 sides of the railing, using the rail's under-supports (ballasters, in construction lingo) to tighten against
the cage assembly bolts down on the bracket halves ,,, thus completing a complete wrap-around of the rail
I just clicked on that link to the rollerfeeder- what a hoot. Probably worth every dollar in the form of good clean family entertainment. We've got one of the Yankee twirl feeders and those are hysterical particularly when the critter is young and determined.
e9racer! Your Ft. Knox feeder is by far the best I've ever seen to foil raccoons. I've got a good feeder for chipmunks that works great but never could figure out how to create one large enough based on readily available products to make one for squirrels. You did a great job and it isn't an eyesore at all. It's actually decorative.
I have a Yankee feeder. I bought while in TN, but really not that long before we moved, so it was used, but not for a long time. I put it up not long ago here, my mine has that thing on the bottom, the circle thing, platform type thing..I can't think, it's late, anyway, Mourning Doves keep landing on the platform and knocking it off. I'm ready to pitch the darn thing.
Which one do you have? I've got the Droll Yankee Flipper or maybe it was the Whipper and any squirrel that tries to get to it ends up sailing off in the air a few feet away from the feeder. It works really well as long as the batteries are good. Have you checked your batteries lately? Those Drolls should spin around and send squirrels projectile through the air down to the lawn.
Ours is the kind that doesn't take batteries. It has the round platform on the bottom that tilts when a heavier bird gets on it. 2 Cardinals are too heavy for it. But the Mourning Doves lay on the platform. I don't know how they do it, but they do and know off the plastic round thing at the bottom, the platform.
Just did a seach and mine is the flipper. The image below is it.
I just did a search and I have the old battery powered Whipper. Check out the video of what it does at this site, you'll have to scroll down a little and look to the right of the page for their video clips-
Hysterical. We've sit around our kitchen table watching the "show" through the windows laughing so hard we were gasping for air. We've had friends come over who have been plastered to the atrium glass doors watching and some of them have laughed so hard they snorted. The best show is the juveniles that haven't quite figured out trying to get to the seed is futile. The adult squirrels gave up trying a long time ago. Squirrels won't get hurt on the battery powered models as long as you don't have any brick walls, concrete statues, or concrete birdbaths in the immediate vicinity for them to get knocked out on. When we first put ours up, I had no idea how far these feeders could fling a squirrel so I did back up a concrete birdfeeder.
Back when I bought my Droll, they didn't have the non battery powered models they have now. I'd go with a model like what you have to avoid having to replace the batteries. The end result is the same, the squirrels can't get to the birdseed to make a mess.
I've seen the videos in the bird stores. They are funny to watch. We didn't buy the battery powered one because as it happened, we were in the bird store when a lady came in with hers in shambles. It was all busted up and she had video of the squirrels doing it! So instead of shelling out that much, I went for the cheaper. I really wish now I didn't have it. I have another feeder hanging beside it, so the pole has to have the squirrel baffle on it anyway. So.....maybe when I see you next, I'll get it all cleaned up and you can have it.
I based my design shown in above posts, on this one by atlantasquirrelgirl, shown in photos on this webpage
I appreciated her comments about general design parameters, scattered through her various postings there, but I felt her final product wouldn't be aesthetically acceptable where mine is located.
Also, cutting a 3-inch hole in plastic certainly requires a special drill bit, and melting plastic is possible ,,, so with an existing feeder box in-hand, I simply went back-to-drawing board on squirrel feeder box protection.
It was difficult to find a small cage which met my requirements, but Petsmart had a hamster cage kit which mostly satisfied.
While not ready to describe my final assembly as Ft Knox, there's options in my trick box for-tightening the assembly w/o removal. For now, I'll go with 'less is more'.
Meanwhile, am creating a disk baffle with a garbage can lid to keep one particular young squirrel from proving he can fly 11 feet once a day to the top of my pole-mounted bird feeder.
Will use a table saw for trimming-out the round, plastic top of a 35-gal garbage can (Lowes) to create a 20"-dia disk baffle. After painting, will use the last 12-18" of an old fiberglass fishing pole to support the baffle thru the feeder roof.
The retail market for disk baffles seems limited to Erva, and their products appear to be OK for use with hanging feeders, but too heavy for use with pole-mounted feeders
I'd love to see this when you finish-
"Meanwhile, am creating a disk baffle with a garbage can lid to keep one particular young squirrel from proving he can fly 11 feet once a day to the top of my pole-mounted bird feeder. "
Wow, I hadn't realized such a long conversation had gone on here... thanks for emailing me. I ended up making mine using Atlantasquirrelgirl's instructions, too! Though I did do the plexi-glass box with the hole in it, and yes, it required a hole saw drill bit, but I found a whole set for $5 at Harbor Freight.
You can see pictures here:
I found out that squirrel can't see the hole very well because the plexi-glass is clear... my squirrel couldn't figure out how to get out once he got in and started panicking. I ended up spray painting the side with the hole so he could see the hole better.
I know the coons are still trying to get at the food as I saw one of them the other night. Instead of having the plastic dog-food feeder sticking out the back like squirrelgirl did, I thought it would be easier to just make the box entirely enclosed, and then put the feeder on the inside. Well, now the feeder can slide easily, so even though I tried to make the hole far enough away so the coons couldn't reach it, I think they reached in once, and slide the feeder closer to the hole.
Birds also get in there, and a couple of them got stuck behind the feeder, poor things. Luckily I saw them struggling and opened the door to let them out. But I think it's a common occurance because I see feathers behind it all the time.
Now I'm dealing with these gross bugs getting in there, they get into the bird feeder too. So everytime I go to clean it out (they make quite a mess in there), there are these nasty bugs all over.
One of the silver tails finally let me get close enuf for a pix ,,, lately, one the silver tails has taken to mid-afternoon napping on the big ledge after stuffing itself. To me, a sign the squirrels are getting comfortable with the operation
I did see a coon in the cage one night; But in my flashlight view, the coon did not seem to be enjoying itself, as the coon had difficulty moving about the inside and apparently didn't like having to repeatedly flip the top on the feeder box. It left most of the trail mix, and hasn't returned since. So, I continue with "no-mount' of the 3" round wood entryways made for the cage.
Small birds continue to check by after squirrel visits, and provide a good cleaning to the operation, despite fact the birds can't open the feeder box. The squirrels toss corn everywhere, eaten bits or not.
SQUIRREL-PROOF, POLE-MOUNTED BIRD FEEDER
The picture with this post provides a general view; some close-ups will follow
My environment dictates pole-only method; hanging feeder not possible
For support system, I used
10 ft pole - 3/4 electrical conduit, for general erection
3ea connectors - 3/4" conduit-to-thread (Ace Hdwr)
1ea plumber's union - as a "quick-disconnect" to remove feeder from pole at 3/4" connector
1ea - ceramic light bulb holder (mounts at center, bottom of feeder)
10" piece - 3/4" conduit, connects to the ceramic light bulb holder and plumber's union
disk baffle - rounded top from 35-gal garbage can (Lowes), trimmed-out w/ table saw
bowl baffle - 18" plastic planter bowl (Home Depot), trimmed-out w/ table saw
feeder - cedar wood (Home Depot)
The disk baffle is mounted on 10" piece of fiberglass fishing pole (graphite won't work, it's hollow and breaks). To maintain the disk's position on the fishing pole, I used 2ea "butt connectors" (electrical item). I dis-assembled each connector, drilled out, and trimmed plastic.
Having drilled a hole in the center of the feeder's roof, slide the fishing pole into the roof hole
Then slide "matching butts" onto clear tubing (Ace Hdwr), slide this assembly onto fishing pole. Using a "modified" hose clamp to go smaller than design (a fishing pole is darned small !) to clamp the "butted ends" tighter onto the pole. On top of this sits a small brass "pipe cap" (Lowes), in which I drilled a hole to slide it onto the fishing pole to sit on the 'butt connector" assembly. The whole point of this is to ensure support for the disk, as fishing pole is not straight rod)
Used two pieces of aluminum tubing I sawed from an old TV antenna for support of the underside of the garbage can top. The aluminum tubing is extremely light-weight. To slide onto the fishing rod, I crushed the center of each tube in a vise, and drilled a center hole. The tubes rest on the pipe cap.
I then slide the garbage can top onto the pole, and "pin" the top end of the pole with a 1/2" length piece of small plastic tubing (Ace)
To constrain the bottom end of the fishing pole, I drilled a hole in the bird feeder box's horizontal wall support (across center of box). By mounting 3 metal washers around the drilled hole (finishing nails, in small holes drilled in the washers) ,,, I also provide myself an easy guide for closing up the feeder after re-opening for re-fills). I also mounted a small block of wood under the wall support, to stop the pole from going past the support)
For the cedar wood feeder itself, I did the following
- mounted a "traditional" drawer handle, outside of ledge, to accomodate feet of larger birds
- installed 2ea feeder bay walls, to allow loading of multiple feeds
- installed 3ea triangular-shaped bases for each bay, as the feeder has a flat floor, these shapes keep the feed free from rainwater and keep feed moving outward
- mounted 2ea suet baskets underneath feeder (thus, feeder's side suet holders need only hold 1/2 of a suet brick)
- drilled matching holes in roof side and box, to allow nails to pin the roof to box (in case an unwanted visitor tries pulling up the roof)
- painted 2 coats of green
- painted 2 coats of squirrel repellent on ledges and roof (cayenne pepper, dish cleaning solution, water)
Entire assembly has been operational for nearly 3 weeks ,,, not seen any squirrels atop feeder, despite fact the squirrel feeder is sitting 20 feet away on same fence railing.
I have seen squirrels occasionally refresh their memory of the 18" bowl baffle, but they don't try to overcome it.
I have seen larger birds try to land on the disk baffle, but they don't stay because their weight bounces the disk baffle, and birds don't seem to like bouncing around.
Only once needed to adjust the disk baffle. Soon after erection, it appeared a squirrel might have tried landing on it from the closest tree, and pushed it slightly down the fishing pole. But, I have not seen that since.
At this point, birds are mostly happy (mockingbirds interested, but their size seems a deterrent). Squirrels so stuffed at their own feeder, the pole-mount op has lost most of its attraction.
SQUIRREL-PROOF, POLE-MOUNTED BIRD FEEDER
close-up frontal view, shows fully-assembled feeder (while down for re-fill)
- disk baffle on 10" fishing pole end
- 18" bowl baffle, on 10" piece of 3/4" conduit
- drawer pull, for larger bird feet
- 3ea feeder bays
- underside-mounted suet cages (for storage)
SQUIRREL-PROOF, POLE-MOUNTED BIRD FEEDER
- view under the disk baffle
- view inside the feeder, shows
-- fishing pole thru roof
-- 3 metal washers on horizontal truss, around hole used to pin fishing pole, and guide for faster roof closure after re-fill
-- added 2ea interior feed bay walls
-- wood triangle on floor (center bay in pix), keeps food flowing out and dry for each feed bay
Great, just great! I've got a new firewall that is blocking all the images and I can't see even one of the photos you posted and this is a thread I have bookmarked because I wanted to see what you had created really really really bad. I've got to figure out how to use this new firewall I've got. I am so angry I can't see your photos right now I could spit BBs. And thank you for posting the photos. I know how long it takes to load images and I am appreciative even if I can't see one of the images right now.
as a temp solution, if ur firewall remains a problem for seeing photos on this site, turn-off your firewall (re-boot if necessary to ensure firewall is off, but it shouldn't be necessary) ,,,, view the photos, then re-start the firewall
whatever ur new software is doing, it is not doing it correctly if it is blocking photo viewing
as a test ,,, see if you can view this one
Problem isn't with the software, problem is with the user. I got frustrated when I couldn't see the photos and started clicking here there and everywhere. Not a good thing to do. I already called my girlfriend and she said she would bookmark the thread for me to look at when I come over by her house this weekend. Sooner or later I will get this taken care of.
And, I can see that photo. All of your other photos are showing up as nothing but the word AD between a [ and a ].
entrance-way added using a thin solid-wood square w/ 3-1/4 diameter hole, mounted with twist ties to the cage bars, using 2ea pre-drilled holes in each corner of the square
the finished 'coon-proof squirrel feeder has been operating successfully for months, with no 'coon violators ,,, only problem is so many squirrels, such fast eaters ,,, so I keep 'em on a diet by rationing
Even with rationing, I'm guessing you have a lot of fat and happy squirrels playing in your yard! :-)
Hi, no matter what I did the Raccoons outsmarted. They even bent my sheppard's Hook to the ground.
Finally, I put carpet tack strips on my pole with plastic ties or zip ties that you wrap around ( I bought
eight 8 inch at Ace for $2.59 ) the pole then insert into the end and pull tight. Total cost of seven dollars.
And my feeder has not been touched in some time. The strips are sold at Ace or on line at Amazon.
They come in 4 foot sections, I cut them with a wire cutter, the wood is very soft. The pole is a 2 by 6.
Ideally, some sort of strapping or duct tape with tacks or smaller going through, that I could wrap around
the pole would work better if anyone knows of anything. If not, I may make it myself.
I buy the expensive fruit and nut bird seed and the raccoons were driving me nuts. If I forgot to bring
it in at night, it surely would be gone in the morning. I don't think the raccoons are hurting themselves,
I think it acts like a thorny bush and they just stay away. Then again, knowing them, they will probably show
up one night with a saw.
This message was edited Jul 10, 2011 9:23 AM
I'm with 14Pete -- I have had no luck with outfoxing the raccoons. The only thing that works is to bring my feeders in at night. I had three pole mounted feeders, two tube feeders hung in trees and a large suet block feeder hung on a wire line between my house and a tree. On a recent lovely spring night, Mr Raccoon visited me and bent over my three 6 foot poles (two copper and one aluminum), and broke each of the feeders. He/She frequently completely removes the suet feeder, and regularly knocks the tube feeders out of the tree and has often broken them. I am at a loss. I can't even tell you how much money I have spent replacing feeders. The three broken poles were replaced with steel poles and new feeders (each pole containing a baffle). So far so good. However, last night Raccoon visited me and broke my new tube replacement feeder. Now what? I'm trying to decide what my new step will be.
Wow, lots of posts since I was last here.
The 8" diameter racoon/squirrel baffle worked great for the bird feeders to keep the coons out.
However -- there were two more problems we faced which made us begin taking the feeders down at night, as well as putting feed in our basement -- not just inside of metal locked trash cans.
Flying squirrels are light enough to not cause the squirrel-proof bird feeder to close at night -- so any remaining feed could be gone by morning. I didn't worry so much about that, as I kinda like the flying squirrels.
But after having several neighbors have their bird feeders totally demolished by bears, I stopped leaving the expensive feeders out. Bears just love black oil sunflower seeds, which is what we prefer to put out.
So, now we mainly strategically place black-oil sunflower seed on stumps when we are outside, so we can enjoy the chipmunks. Also lets us catch/chase off stray cats.