Squirrel-Proof Your Feeders

Shop the 2414 Squirrel Stopper System at duncraft.com.

There are many bird feeders that claim they are squirrel-proof, but what does that mean, exactly? Most of the time it means that although a squirrel can get on the feeder, he can’t damage it and he won’t be able to get to the food. Feeders like this do serve their purpose and work for a lot of people. Squirrel-proof feeders combined with diversion feeding (feeding the squirrel in another location), are often all you’ll need if your squirrel problem isn’t serious. Some good squirrel-proof feeders are the Absolute II, Duncraft’s Squirrel-Proof Selective and the Yankee Flipper.

But if you have lots of super-smart squirrels, the fact remains that as long as a squirrel is able to get on a feeder, he still may find a way to disable or work around the mechanisms that are designed to keep him out, including spinning perches, perches that drop with his weight, or cages around tube feeders. And even if the squirrel can’t figure out the feeder, the birds are going to stay away as long as he’s on it.

Shop the popular Squirrel Stopper System at duncraft.com.The only true way to squirrel-proof a feeder is simply to prevent him from getting onto the feeder in the first place. And not letting the squirrel have access to the feeder serves another purpose—the birds won’t be scared away and can dine in peace.

The best way to squirrel-proof a feeder is to put it up on a pole, at least 10 feet (more is better) from any buildings, fences or trees that he can jump from. Squirrels can sometimes jump horizontally as far as 15 feet! Don’t believe it? Watch this fun video!

And squirrels can jump about 5 feet straight up from the ground. So, the bottom of your feeder has to be 5 feet up from the ground. Next, you’ll need to stop the squirrel from climbing the pole. The best way to do this is with a canister type baffle placed on the pole. The Squirrel Stopper System is a bird feeding pole that includes a baffle as well as the height you need to make your feeders truly squirrel-proof. Otherwise, Duncraft’s Heavy Duty Sectional pole or Quad or Double Hangers work well, as long as they are equipped with a baffle such as the Squirrel Guard.

The second best way to squirrel-proof your feeders is to string a strong wire between two trees. The bottoms of the feeders hanging on the wires should be at least 5 feet up from the ground. Now you’ll need to find a way to prevent squirrels from crawling along the wire. Some people use a series of coffee cans or 2 liter pop bottles with a hole punched in the bottom and strung along the wire. They’ll spin when a squirrel jumps on them. Keep them close enough together that the squirrel can’t jump onto the wire in between. The main drawback to hanging feeders in this fashion is that they can be hard to fill unless you have devised some method for lowering the wire. If that is not a problem, this is a good way to bear-proof your feeders too.

Squirrel-proofing is really quite simple—make sure the squirrel can’t access the feeder from above or below and your squirrel problem will be solved! Shop the popular Squirrel Stopper System at duncraft.com. Happy Birding!

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  • Kim April 13, 2010 at 8:32 am

    There are many squirrels in my area and were eating all the food. It was a constant battle. I purchased the Squirrel Stopper system from Duncraft a month or so ago. The product is fantastic. Very easy to assemble and install (I did it alone), sturdy and most importantly not a single squirrel has gotten up it. I still give them some snacks and can enjoy watching them now that they aren’t cleaning out all the seed in an hour. The system was a bit pricey but not any more than buying baffles and new feeders.

  • Rob April 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I have also found that when you string wire as a method to avoid squirrel, it helps to put old records or cd’s between the bottles, or whatever is used. that way, they can’t just run across the bottles quickly. They’ll run into the record/cd and fall off.

  • R. Brune April 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Oh, excellent idea Rob, and a good way to recycle those things too!

  • Dan D. April 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I have not had any of these little guys in my feeders for 5 months now. I have been using strictly ” Safflower Seed”. Works like a charm. Before I use to have about a dozen squirrels visit on a daily bases. Safflower is great for the Birds but it is very bitter for the squirrels.

  • Jim April 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    How about making a METAL seed catcher tray. I brought a plastic one for my tube feeder, which is in a cage. The squirrel chewed the plastic and was able to get lots of seeds. Had to replace it with a bowl, but doesn’t have any draining holes.

  • R. Brune April 16, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Hi Jim,
    We do sell metal trays in both sizes. Here is a link to our Duncraft Parts Page on the website:

  • Dave April 17, 2010 at 7:00 am

    The best way to keep the squirrels out, is to train them to recognize the feeder as a danger The danger to the squirrel is to have the feeder act as if it were an electric fence. Normally, ONE encounter with the electric shock (mostly harmless) trains the squirrel to stay away. I now have them walk along my patio railing, look up at the feeder (a mere eight inches away), and keep on walking. Works on Coons also.

  • Randy P April 17, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I have a squirrel feeder mounted to a tree. It has a mix of items in the flip top box along with corn cobs on the outside. Even with this, it is amazing to watch them try to jump from branches above a basket with the compressed seed cakes in it. They haven’t made it yet. But you can sure see those little wheels spinning in their head.

  • Sheila L. April 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Dan, I’m glad your squirrels don’t like safflower seeds. Mine, however, gobble it up. I keep telling them they’re not supposed to like it but they pay no attention to me. What do I know – I’m just a human.

  • Leslie March 25, 2011 at 11:28 am

    This is your best writing yet!


  • ellen March 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I bought a sqirrels excluder feeder, and was delighted that they couldn’t get in, and as the seeds were obiously being eaten, I was happy for my many little guys. Until one night at twilight… I saw the RATS come down from the eightbor’s palm trees, run along the fence, jump to the trees, and easily squeeze into the squirrel excluder…. So I took the feeder down and put it into the garage.

  • Tomas Jerles January 1, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    We received a very nice bird feeder for Christmas that I would like to mount on a 4 x 4 post instead of something made of pipe. If I wrap a section of the post with metal, how wide does the wrap need to be to keep squirrels from jumping up and bypassing the slick portion and along the same lines, how far from the ground should the top of the metal be placed. Appreciate any good advice. Tom

    • Heidi Babb January 29, 2015 at 9:56 am

      What a great question! I’m not sure that wrapping metal around the post will be enough to keep the nimble squirrels from climbing the post. I would recommend our 4×4″ Post Baffle to ensure the squirrels can’t access your feeder. You might also like to take a look at our 4×4″ Twister Ground Socket, which will make it so much easier to install the 4×4 post.

  • Janet W. August 23, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Sounds like great advice! When discussing wire hanging above 5′ from tree to tree, what type of wire do you suggest? I think fishing line, for example won’t work. Copper? Thanks!