Squirrels are really cute to watch, and feeding them can be quite fun. It can also be practical because you can get them to stop attacking the bird feeder.
So if you want to have fun taking care of the wildlife around your house, then consider creating your own squirrel feeder.
Feeding The Squirrels In Your Backyard
These fluffy animals can be both adorable and a menace. They can bring you hours of entertainment when they climb up the trees and fight over food.
They also love attacking bird feeders and stealing food from the wild birds. Well, they do get pretty hungry and will attack any food source available, even if it is meant for birds.
Worse, they may not be very eager to share. You might find value in building them their own meal station instead.
If you already have a spot where the squirrels have a nest, then you should put the feeder in the same location. The squirrel feeder should be at least 20 feet away from the bird feeder to prevent the squirrels from stealing some food from the birds visiting your backyard.
You also do not want it too close to your house unless you don’t mind stopping them from invading your home.
What To Feed The Squirrels
Feeding squirrels is not really that complicated, since they eat a huge variety of food, although they love corn cobs, peanuts, and compressed corn logs a lot! The best thing is that they are very inexpensive and easy to find.
You can also end up just giving them an ear of corn, and they will be happily munching away.
This does not mean that they can eat just about anything. You need to make sure not to leave behind any salted peanuts as too much salt can be bad for them.
Instead, go for raw peanuts, and you might even end up with some peanut plants from the ones the squirrels end up digging under the ground.
Other than peanuts, they will easily eat most other nuts in a shell-like hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, acorns, hickory, hazelnut, almonds, and beechnuts.
They also like fruits (but not citrus ones), vegetables, insects, and pellets you can buy at the store. Just make sure you only put raw nuts and no human food whatsoever.
Build Your Own Squirrel Feeder
You can buy a squirrel feeder at the store, but you can just as easily make your own. There are a few options to choose from, starting from feeders that will reuse stuff around the house to a full DIY squirrel feeder project.
Simple Basket Feeder
If you have an old basket or even an old container that will be perfect for a squirrel feeder, all you would need to do is tie it with string, wire or yarn up a tree. Fill it with goodies that your neighbourhood squirrels will love.
Enjoy watching them feast on the food.
Simple Corn Feeder
Squirrels love a nice corn cob, and you can easily build a corn feeder with a piece of wood. It will work as the base of the feeder, so choose a stable piece. It should also be able to support the weight of the corn and the squirrels.
Once you have something ready, drive a long nail into the wood. If you have one long piece of wood and want to attach more than one ear of corn, make sure you leave enough space between the nails.
Drive the corn into the nails and move the feeder somewhere accessible for both you and the squirrels. Lastly, watch the squirrels enjoy their corn buffet.
Hanging Corn Feeder
As opposed to other feeders, squirrels will need to do some manoeuvring to reach the corn, but they will be able to handle it easily.
The first thing to do is to choose a low-hanging branch where to hang your feeder.
Look for wires like fishing wires or coat hanger wire, to hang around the tree branch. You can opt for a bungee cord as well, as long as you can find a way to attach the corn cob to it.
The next step is to hang the cob to the wire and on the tree.
Make sure you fasten them securely so that it will support the weight of several squirrels climbing on and eating the corn. This feeder will require them to work a bit for their food, but it should still be quite easy and accessible for them.
If you want a proper squirrel feeder, one that is great for small nuts and seeds, then you can build one yourself. All you need is a big piece of wood, about 5 inches by ½ inches by 4 feet.
You will then cut it into 5 pieces: the back piece should be 10 by 5 inches, the base 12 by 5 inches, the lid 5 ½ by 5 inches, and 2 side pieces measuring 5 by 5 inches.
Prepare the wood by drilling holes. On the back piece, drill a hole about 1-inch from the top in the centre of the wood. Drill another hole 7 inches below the first.
The 2 side pieces will need to be sawed, a ¼-inch deep saw kerf about 3/16 inch from the front edge. This is for the plexiglass cover, so it can be slid up and down.
One of the side pieces also needs a hole through the saw kerf, big enough to allow a nail to be inserted by hand. This prevents the plexiglass from being lifted up by the squirrels.
The next step is to assemble the pieces. Attach the bottom piece to the back piece with 3 flathead screws. Attach the side pieces to the bottom piece with 2 flathead screws and to the back piece with another 2 screws.
Top with the lid and screw a hinge to the back piece and the lid. Before sliding the plexiglass on the front, attach the feeder to the tree first, using 2-inch flathead screws.
Add the plexiglass and fill the feeder with food. Thanks to the flexibility of this feeder, you can add seeds, nuts, and plants of all sizes without worrying about them falling to the ground.
Even without the right tools and know-how, you can still create your own squirrel feeder for the backyard. Not only will you keep them happy, but you will also prevent them from stealing food meant for the birds.
Happy building! If you choose to take the buying route, please check our detailed list on the best available squirrel feeders here