Squirrel Proof Your Bird Feeder Using Pepper Suet Blocks

Squirrel proofing a bird feeder can be a daunting task. Today there are many types of squirrel proof feeders on the market, but you will find many of them work by physically blocking the squirrel from the bird food.  Hot pepper suet feeders take a different approach that works surprisingly well.

Winter is a tough time of year for the birds in our yards. Many of the favorite foods for birds aren’t easy to find. The bushes have no berries, the insects have gone in hiding for the winter, and the snow and ice often covers what little food is naturally available. So, to help our avian friends we try to find a way to feed them the right foods in the winter, and a favorite choice are suet feeders.

Bird suet is a high energy food, and with it’s high calorie count it’s a great food for those cold winter months. Suet is a simple rendering of the fat some some cuts of sheep and cattle, and to attract a variety of birds often it will include other high energy foods like peanuts, which results in a bird food high in energy and easy to eat in winter. Because the natural form of suet will start to spoil or go rancid at warmer temperatures it’s often considered a winter food. Many of the more modern suet products are made to withstand much higher temperatures, so you can stock a suet feeder year round.  You simply put it in a suet feeder and the birds love it.

The problem with suet is that many pests like squirrels find it just as attractive as the birds to, and the challenge is keeping them out of the feeder. There are some quite clever designs in squirrel proof feeders that are meant to keep squirrels out with moving access doors or spinning feeder tubes.

Nature has provided its own ingenious solution. Over many thousands of years, peppers have learned to create capsaicin, which is the chemical that gives pepper their heat. But it has almost no impact on birds, so they eat it at will. But the mammals like squirrels can find the heat most offensive.

This leads us to a simple solution for keeping the squirrels and other rodents out of our suet feeders, and that is to simply add pepper to the suet mix. With hot pepper suet the birds are unaffected, but the feeder pests can’t tolerate it. No baffles, no cages, no trap doors, and no squirrels.

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