Feeding the squirrels in your yard is fun! It is an absolute blast to watch the squirrels playing around the feeder and settling in for a well deserved meal. If you are in the market to buy a squirrel feeder then let me show you some of my favorites as well as two types of feeders that I think are bad ideas.
Best Squirrel Feeders On The Market
Of course, my favorite feeders are the ones that my buddy and I make with our kids in our small woodshop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! Our store is called The Squirrel Shop and our cedar squirrel feeders will bring you hours of entertainment. They also make great gifts for the backyard bird watcher in your life who already has all of the birding gear that they need.
We sell our feeders exclusively through Amazon so you can get free shipping. Our feeders come with a 100% money back guarantee. If you do not love your feeder then simply let me know and I will do everything I can to make you happy. I love squirrels but I love our customers even more!
Check them out here: Our Cedar Squirrel Feeders
Picnic Table Squirrel Feeder
This is our most popular feeder. It takes the squirrels a day or two to realize that sitting on the bench is more comfortable than standing on top of the ear of corn.
The corn (or squirrel log) is held onto the picnic table with a decking screw. Although there are two benches on the feeder I have never seen two squirrels eating at the same time. These furry guys are pretty protective of the snacking station.
Classic Squirrel Feeder With Peanuts
Our classic feeder has a deck that lets the squirrels comfortably settle down on their “front porch”. This is the easiest feeder for the squirrels to use.
We ship this feeder with a bag of unsalted peanuts so you can start feeding the squirrels as soon as the package arrives!
You can fill the feeder with peanuts, sunflower seeds, oats and lots of other delicious squirrel treats! The feeder comes with two screws for mounting on a tree or fence post. However, this feeder has a sturdy flat base and you can just place it on a table on your back porch if you want the squirrels to come right up to you.
Combination Squirrel Feeder
Our Combination Squirrel Feeder has a spike for securing cobs of corn or squirrel logs as well as an open tray for serving peanuts.
There are two holes drilled in the base of the feeder so that water can drain out after a rain. It is a blast watching the squirrels dart around and over this feeder until they finally decide to get comfortable and have themselves a snack.
Swinging Basket Feeder with Peanuts
Our swinging basket feeder comes with a bag of unsalted peanuts and is what you want to get if you feel like making your squirrels work for their supper.
It took this squirrel about 15 tries before he finally figured out how to sit in the swing without falling out. He spent a LOT of time hanging upside down from the cables and grabbing the peanuts one at a time before he finally figured out how to hold his balance.
Grab yours here: Swinging Basket Feeder
Why You Need A Squirrel Feeder
Putting up a squirrel feeder serves two purposes; entertainment and practicality.
Feeding squirrels is a ton of fun and will make you happy. Squirrels are really active in the morning. I love to get up early and sit on my back porch drinking coffee watching the squirrels scamper around and grab a quick bite. Squirrels are bossy when it comes to their food and they will chase each other in circles around a tree as they jostle for dominance for the feeder.
After a while my dogs will come out to chase the squirrels. My pups will stand up on their hind legs and bark at the squirrels who are sitting up in the branches chattering back at them.
It is a heck of a nice way to start the day. Squirrels are very funny critters!
Feeding squirrels is also very practical. You know that it is just about impossible to keep squirrels out of your bird feeders. Backyard squirrels love birdseed!
Using a squirrel feeder lets you distract the squirrels away from your bird feeders and keeps them from performing any destructive shenanigans.
A squirrel would rather spend his time eating a tasty treat that is EASY to get than doing acrobatics to defeat your squirrel proof bird feeder. Once your squirrels start eating corn you will also end up saving money on bird seed.
Squirrel Feeder Designs to Avoid
If you decide to buy a feeder that isn’t one of ours let me ask that you please avoid two specific types of feeder.
WARNING! Horse Head Squirrel Feeder
There are multiple variations of this type of feeder but the basic principle of all of them is the same. A squirrel has to to stand on his hind legs and place his head inside a plastic/latex feeder to grab a snack. I agree that these feeders are cute and funny. It’s amusing to see a squirrel wearing a plastic horse head but it can also be deadly.
The problem with “horse head feeders” is that they are dangerous for the squirrel.
When the squirrel has its head inside the feeder its ability to see or hear approaching predators is greatly diminished. This happens at the same time that squirrel is performing a lot of sudden, sharp and erratic movements which make it highly visible to predators.
If a predator does start an attack on the squirrel then the squirrel has to disengage himself from the feeder which will slow his escape response.
Please, do not buy a Horse Head style feeder.
WARNING! Large Capacity Feeders
There are some feeders on the market that are designed to hold 3-5 pounds of squirrel food. It might seem like a nice idea to be able to put up a feeder that can hold a week’s worth of food with one filling but there are three things you need to be aware of.
Rats Invade Large Feeders
If rats find this feeder you will soon have a massive infestation. While squirrels are not nocturnal most rats are. The rats will come out at night and feast on the abundant food source. The feeders are designed to be “easy access” for squirrels so rats can get in them with no problem. I always recommend using a feeder that only holds a day or two worth of food so that when the rats come out at night they will not find much to eat.
Large Capacity Feeders Attract Destructive Raccoons
The ample food source makes these feeders an ideal target for highly destructive raccoons. The ability of determined raccoons to get into and destroy wildlife feeder is legendary.
Large Capacity Feeders Allow Too Much Moisture In
The last reason that I do not like large capacity feeders is that they typically are not water tight and it is easy for the food to get wet, start to mold and become dangerous for the squirrels.
What to Put in a Squirrel Feeder?
Squirrels like to eat a variety of foods but the three most popular that people use for feeders are corn cobs, compressed corn logs and peanuts.
For some feeders (like our Picnic Table model) you should use an ear of corn still on the cob or a “squirrel log” which is essentially a cylinder of crushed and compressed corn. I have found that squirrels consistently prefer the ear of corn over the compressed Squirrel logs. The squirrels will easily devour an ear of corn in a single day.
For feeders like our Swing or Combination Box feeder you have more options on food choices. Peanuts are extremely popular and inexpensive. The peanuts are a big hit with squirrels as well as Blue Jays, Woodpeckers and Cardinals.
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when using peanuts in the feeder:
- Never feed salted peanuts. Squirrels do NOT need the excess salt in their diet.
- You can feed them shelled peanuts and will not have any shells in your yard.
- If you feed them raw peanuts the squirrels will plant some of them and they will spout into peanut plants!
Where to Place a Squirrel Feeder?
I mount my feeders on the tree where the squirrels already have a nest. Putting the feeder in a location where they are already hanging out makes it easier for them to find and start using.
If you are using the feeder to distract the squirrels away from your bird feeders then try to put the squirrel feeder at least 20 feet away from the bird feeder.
Some people like to place the feeder on their deck so they squirrels will come right up to the house. It is fun to see the squirrels come up that close but make sure you keep your doors tightly closed because you do not want these guys getting inside your house.
One of the most important considerations on feeder placement is safety for the squirrels. There are many predators that love to eat squirrels including hawks, owls and your sweet little doggies. Make sure you place the feeder in an area that offers an escape route for the squirrel. Do not place the feeder in an area that is wide open and exposed.
Hand-Made Squirrel Feeders You Can Count On
About a year and a half ago I realized that I liked feeding the squirrels in my backyard as much as feeding the birds. Cardinals are pretty but squirrels are a heck of a lot more fun! I ended up working with my buddy to come up with some plans for some feeders and decided to offer them for sale through Amazon. These feeders are made by hand in our small shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Grab your new squirrel feeder here: The Squirrel Shop