bird feeders

covellaMay 25, 2005

I'm at my wits end. We have marauding raccoons that dump all the seed out of every feeder I've got. We have pole and hanging feeders. I've tried axle grease on the poles, and an expensive raccoon baffle on the poles. They just climb over it. They even somehow climbed out a wobbly metal hanger to tear out the ports to my hummingbird feeder and dump the sugar water on the ground.

What do you use to beat the beasts? I really like feeding my birds but we have had 25 cases of reported rabies in our county this year and its not worth attracting raccoons into the yard - we live with 50 acres of woods around us.

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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)


I assume that the raccoons are getting to your feeders during the night, right? If so, bring the feeders in at night, put them back out in the morning. I know it's a pain, but worth it. My parents live in bear country and have to do the same thing.

Other suggestions - get a big dog, put electric fence around your yard, play a radio all the time - I don't know if this works but my neighbor swears it keeps the raccoons away from his garden.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 10:31PM
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Bears ! now I feel better! My pole feeders are screwed down tight - they don't come off. The last straw was a Yankee whatever feeder that I'd craftily hidden on the front porch and was bringing in every night. Was just sitting reading Gardenweb when I heard the noise and realized I'd forgotten to bring it in. All the seed dumped and some damage to the feeder. Good thoughts but I don't think they will work for me. Although I have mentioned to my husband several times the solution to this is to electrify the poles - just don't know if they would short out when wet or how that would work.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 10:59PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

What kind of a raccoon baffle do you have? I have the 3' long tube type, and they work just fine on the coons - but not on the squirrels, some of which are able to run up the pole and jump around it. Not most, but some Olympic caliber ones can. I have found that the small diameter circular baffles don't work worth beans.

It may be that some of your damage is squirrels very early in the morning - they are better at getting around baffles than the raccoons. If you don't have the tube type baffle on your poles, consider getting it. Greasing the poles is potentially very dangerous to the birds if their feathers get fouled. Representative link to baffle below; this is not where I got mine from, just an example so you can see a picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raccoon baffle

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 7:21AM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

The other possibility is to cut WAY back on the amount of food you put in the feeders. Only put in as much as the birds will eat in one day so that they are empty by nightfall.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 10:28AM
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Taking down the feeders is the most effective solution, especially since from an ecological point of view feeders are pretty worthless.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 1:38PM
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Jillmcm - that is exactly the kind of baffle I have - except that I bought it locally and paid $60. The chipmunks run up through the middle of it and climb onto the feeders and empty them, the squirrels somehow seem to defeat it and so do the coons - I've run them off when sitting on top of the feeder and scraping the seed out and eating it by the handful. And Elaine - how I would love to have such a yard that bird feeders weren't necessary but Rome wasn't built in a day and my various shrubs and trees aren't enough. I like looking at pileateds in the afternoon and bluebirds and goldfinches in the morning.

I'm still thinking about electricity.!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 6:18PM
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dakster(z6 Cent.CT)

Are the raccooons able to climb a tree, fence, any sort of structure and them plop down on the feeders spilling the seed and even the feeder itself onto the ground? Sometimes placement is the key. I have such trouble with squirrels that I have had to place my feeders just hairs length further than they can jump from any structure in my yard.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 3:23PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Dakster may be right that the squirrels are able to jump to the feeder either from something above it or to the side - is your pole located at least 10' from basically everything? And I'm surprised that the chippies can get through - the one I have has a mounting plate so that there's no room to go up the pole (mine's on a 4x4, maybe the round pole ones are different).

And like I said, there are a couple of Olympic caliber squirrels that are able to get a running jump up the pole and just make it onto a feeder by their fingernails, the little buggers.

Basically, if you give the squirrels a feeder of their own with BOSS and corn, and make your regular bird feeders a real pain to get onto, the squirrels will tend to leave them alone. That's what I have done. And I have also started putting less seed out, so that the feeders are empty overnight to keep the raccoons from being interested.

If you want to go with electricty, but not of the fence kind, there are those feeders that spin the squirrels off - Yankee Flipper (and Dipper and Tipper and something else, too). Expensive, but they might be worth it.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 4:02PM
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jillhudock(z7 PA)

Another option is to leave the feeders empty for a few days. Racoons tend to travel the same pattern every night, if they stop by your house a few times and do not get anything to eat, they will take you off their circuit. You may need to repeat this at various times of the year, but it seemed to work for me.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 1:56PM
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AdamM321(MA z5/6)


I have not had problems with Raccoons and I realize that is a more difficult problem, but I did almost stop feeding the birds last year because of the squirrels. I found two solutions that have worked great. One is that I discovered that squirrels HATE safflower seed. I fill a number of feeders now with only that and they turn their nose up at it every time. Second, I bought one of those weight sensitive feeders for sunflower seed and the squirrels gave up trying to get into it. It also discouraged large birds too, like grackles etc.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 8:40PM
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Fortunately, the raccoon in my area are not so aggressive, but the squirrels in my area are. I have managed to defeat the squirrels by putting the feeder on a pole high enough that they can't jump up, far enough from the tree so they can't jump side ways. Technically, they can also drop from the top, but no one has tried to drop 50 feet from a tree branch.

Squirrels can climb up the pole, so I install a simple plastic baffle which works. They attempted to chew through the middle so I reinforced it with some metal wires. I'll avoid greasing the poles, the grease may harm the birds.

For Raccoon, the issue is that they can climb around squirrel baffle or rip them apart. On the plus side, they cannot jump, so you can defeat them by putting the feeder on a pole and using a large metal baffle. I have for example seen baffle that uses a metal pizza tray (which also doubles as a seed catcher, best to get ones with holes). You should also make sure the feeder is secure to the ground since the raccoon may try to rip it out. At least raccoon can be defeated. I heard in some areas, you get bears, which will circumvent just about anything.

You can also take the feeder in at night and use a shop vac to clean up. With no food in the area, the Raccoon will go elsewhere.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 8:27AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

My mom lives next to a 2500 acre nature preserve and has the same problem with racoons.

She has to bring her feeders in at night, else they get destroyed. Especially the hummingbird feeders, the coons drink the liquid and then drop them on the ground where they break. If only they would hang them back up gently when they were done.

My mom has one fixed platform feeder that she just puts one cup of food in it each day, so there isn't much left at night.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 10:54AM
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2 things you can do, other than pull out your Pellet rifle.
Use the Habanero coated bird seed which birds love and will set fire to a raccoon's mouth.
and or also use Raccoon repellent which are all basically the same thing, usually the scent of a Coyote or some other predator.
You just shake the granules around the area you wish them to stay away from.
Between setting their mouth on fire and smelling Coyote's around your house they will usually stay away unless they are rabid.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Never use grease or pepper flakes. Birds can be clumsy sometimes and if they bump into grease they can get stuck and peel off vauluable feathers

Pepper flakes cause severe burning and if a dog or cat comes in contact with some they might claw their eyes out!

Bring in feeders at night and keep trash in trashcans. If the raccoons are a very serious problem animal control may need to step in

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:43AM
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Pepper flakes are not what you should use anyway.
Use "Habanero Oil" mixed with the bird seed.
It coats every seed and is hot as hell.

I just did this about 2 months ago to rid 2 raccoon's from destroying our feeder and it worked immediately.
They took one taste and never came back.
Birds love it.

What I use is "Flaming Squirrel" Habanero oil

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 9:07AM
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Well my raccoon came back last night in the pouring rain and intense thunder storm and ate 1/2 the feeder (about 1 1/2 lbs of seed).

What he did was he pulled the feeder over to the bird bath, scarped seeds out into the bird bath, WASHED the seeds of the Habanero oil then ate them, probably still slightly spicy but obviously not hot enough to deter him eating 1 1/2 lbs of seed.

So now I am looking for a longer pole for my feeder to hang from so that he can reach out and pull it over.

It either that or lead poisoning.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:57AM
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OK, believe I have re-solved the Raccoon problem.
There are no longer arms for the feeder pole so I had to make one.

What I did was take a piece of 1 1/2" ID schedule 40 PVC tube.
Drilled a 1/16th" hole at an angle in one end and a 1/8th hole in the other end.
The 1/16th hole I ran a piece of wire through and crimped a loop in the end so it can not pull through.
Made a loop on the other end to attach a carabiner to so I can hang the bird feeder from it.

Then I sanded and painted it black to match the feeder pole.

Then slide the tube over the existing arm and at the other end I ran a tie wrap through the 2 holes and around the pole to attach it to the arm more securely.

Now the raccoon can not reach it no matter what he does.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 2:53PM
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