How To Feed Squirrels

Stop squirrels from eating your garden plants by giving them something else to eat.

How to feed squirrelsOne of the methods I frequently recommend for deterring squirrels from bird feeders, gardens and fruit trees is to feed them elsewhere in the yard. This article discusses how to feed the squirrels while implementing this strategy.

Squirrels love nuts. But if you put out nuts that are already shelled, the nuts will go bad quickly by being exposed to sun, rain, humidity and other aspects of the weather. Give the squirrels nuts that are still in the shell. Peanuts are inexpensive and can be purchased at either the grocery store or your local animal feed store. They can also be
purchased on the internet

Sunflower seeds are another treat that squirrels love. Again make sure you get them with the shells still on. Don’t use the bird seed that contains very small seeds, these are generally to small for squirrels and all they will do is scatter them onto the ground around your feeding station causing unwanted weeds to germinate in your yard.

When selecting an area to feed squirrels, choose a location that is away from what you want to protect. If you want to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder, select a location for the squirrel feeder that is far away from the bird feeder.

Get something that will hold the squirrel food and keep it off the ground. There are many squirrel feeders available on the internet and some of them are designed to keep out birds like grackles who love peanuts as much as their furry friends.

One very interesting behavior that squirrels often do is to bury food. When a squirrel finds your squirrel feeder, it will often feel that by hiding the food, he can keep it all to himself. So, one at a time, the squirrel will come to the feeder, collect a nut, carry it somewhere else, bury it, and then return to collect and bury another. Squirrels can do this all day long. Allowing your squirrel feeder to remain empty for a couple of days will encourage the squirrel to retrieve and eat what he buried. Then when you put more food into the squirrel feeder, he’ll most likely begin burying it. You can create a cycle where you give him a day or two’s worth of food, he might bury it all in about half an hour, then over the next couple of days he’ll dig it up again to eat it.

However the catch to this strategy is if after finding the squirrel feeder empty, he starts getting into your bird feeder again or garden again. If this happens, you’ll need to increase the number of times you refill the squirrel feeder each week.

For more information about how to stop squirrels, check out the category links near the top right of this page.

3 Responses

  1. I am having success keeping squirrels out of my back deck bird feeder without feeding them elsewhere in my yard. I simply leave my bird feeder empty and only put out enough seed each morning at 6 or 7 AM for the birds to eat for about an hour or two. The birds are highly active at this time and swoop in quickly, apparently much more active than the squirrels, who I usually see later in the morning and afternoon.
    This works esp well when I also sit down in the summer on the deck and have my morning tea, so I can monitor what is going on.
    Obviously this method will not work so easily with bird feeders placed in more remote parts of the yard and/or the feeder is somewhat difficult to refill so that daily filling of small portions is impractical.
    Also, on my deck, the birds were, at first, reluctant to come esp when I was sitting there. Eventually, however, the birds have adjusted to both the deck and my presence even when I am looking directly at them. My metal rocking chair is now at one end of my deck but I plan to move closer and closer to the bird feeder to gradually condition them to my presence. I also chant a little bit as I put seed on the feeder to condition the birds and this seems to be working well. David Pollock

  2. I am not having any luck with any suggestions regarding keeping squirrels from stripping my fruit trees bare overnight! I don’t know what to do! I am at my wits end, and I do not want to kill them, so please don’t suggest that. I’d like to wring their necks, but I cannot do that, but that is how mad I am. ALL 37 fruit trees! The fruit was not even RIPE!!! It’s exasperating, futile and a waste of money for this to continue.

    1. Karen,
      I know how you feel, I felt the same way when squirrels stripped my tree of Loquats before the fruit was even ripe. I felt cheated because the fruit wasn’t ready yet, but they took it all anyway. I have no further suggestions other than what’s been presented on this website. You basically have only 4 choices, get a dog that loves to chase squirrels, wrap the trunks, trap or kill the squirrels or simply do nothing, as was my experience. The following year the squirrels did not strip the tree as they had done the year before. And they’ve never done it again since. I can only assume that the loquat loving squirrel was probably either hit by a car or killed by a cat and following generations of squirrels have simply not paid that much attention to my tree. It’s a curiosity but without some proper scientific investigation I can only speculate.