DIY: Removing the Squirrels from your Birdfeeders

We had a bit of a chuckle a few years back watching a squirrel hang upside down to eat out of our bird feeder.  He seemed to come back every day and feed from this feeder. After a while I felt bad for the birds.

This is a particularly challenging time of year for birds and their sometimes delicate feeders, as they compete with squirrels for every last seed. Finally having enough of trying to chase the squirrels away, we decided to try something we’ve heard about a few times now from friends; mixing cayenne pepper into the seed. May sound harsh but from everything we’ve read the birds don’t notice it and it passes right through their systems. Whereas the squirrels will get the pepper on their paws, faces and in their mouth and be turned off. It seems the best approach is to start off slowly adding in only a little pepper at a time. This will allow you to find out what the right amount is to ward off both old and new squirrels from your feeders. We have found that roughly 1/8 of a cup per pound of seed works pretty well for us. It is also an option to use pepper flakes, though its easier for the squirrels to simply eat around them and therefore less effective.

You can see here we mixed in a little less than ¼ of a cup of cayenne pepper for 2 pounds of bird seed. Mix well with a spoon or spatula. I wouldn’t recommend using your hands or shaking, the particles could become airborne or you could accidentally rub it into your eyes.

bird seed 1

A light dusting of cayenne pepper on the ground around the feeder will help keep them away from the area all together. Some have found that setting up a separate area to feed squirrels away from your home and feeders helps to keep them at bay.

bird feeder 1


Have you had any problems with Squirrels in your bird feeders?  What are your tips?

bird feeder 2


  1. Good suggestion! I'd love to hear how that works out. Our squirrels are relentless, it is always a challenge to outsmart them.

  2. Reese Speaks says

    THANK YOU for writing this post, Kim! The squirrels around our home are constantly at our bird feeder, and we have been trying to find a way to stop them from our feeder. They have become quiet plump off of our feeder. 🙁

  3. Great tips! I’ve also heard that cayenne pepper works well with fending off raccoons. Love seeing our winter birds get fed properly. Thanks for taking care of them

  4. Cayenne has worked for me in the past. Great ideas. We have some pretty bold chipmunks and squirrels around here.
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  5. BigDaddyKreativ says

    When we first moved in to our house, the previous owners had 3 or 4 bird feeders in the back yard. One was attached to the fence. It was attracting several squirrels. My neighbour, who we are now great friends with wasn't fond of the high traffic we were getting because of the bird feeders (both birds and squirrels), so we eventually removed them.
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  6. I broke down and bought a squirrel proof feeder and there is the odd one who still figures it out and gets some seed. I had no idea a person could add cayenne and the birds would still eat the seeds.

  7. We have the BIGGEST squirrel I've ever seen that ravages our birdfeeder. Love this idea and will definitely give it a try.
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  8. INteresting! I love that its a natural approach and won't hurt the poor squirrels! But I know what you mean about them being a pest! They broke a bird feeder my kids made for my Grandfather! He was so mad!
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  9. We don't have a bird feeder but my childhood babysitter could have used this method. I remember her love of watching the birds feed and when a squirrel would come along she would grab her broom, go outside and shoot them away! It was funny to watch, squirrels are funny little things. We have lots in our back yard, my kids like to feed them bread 🙂

  10. Apparently my hubby enjoys feeding the squirrels along with the birds. I find it quite humorous watching the squirrels, crawl along the clothesline and then hang upside down to eat from the bird feeder.
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  11. Our bird feeder hangs from a porch beam so they can't get to it. The SUV is another story. I've taken it in SEVERAL times for costly repairs and acorn and nest removal because the squirrels won't stay out of my car! I've tried so many things including an expensive dry powder meant to keep them away, and garlic powder (ew). I'm going to try the pepper.
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  12. This is good to know since this happens all the time to ours.. Thanks!

  13. Thanks for the informative post! I don't have a bird feeder, but this post actually makes me want to get one, and not I know how to keep the squirrels away!!

  14. I went through have a bag of bird food last year before I realized that it was the squirrels who were feasting on it rather than the birds. I'll definitely try out the cayenne.

  15. I have to say our squirrels are super fat…I think from all the things my kids leave around…they hound our house.

  16. I haven't noticed…but then again, we don't have bird feeders. I think we will get some this spring. I'd love to draw some birds to our yard.
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  17. MY husband will love this! We both hate the squirrels in the backyard!

  18. That is a great tip. Easy too.
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  19. In Finland people are divided in this. Some don't like to let squirrels eat from feeders but others do. Some years there really isn't much for squirrels to eat and you can find a lot of them dead from hunger. So, I would let them eat.

  20. KennethAgudo says

    I remember one of my connection on bubblews, he prefer to feed squirrels in his backyard which is contradicting to this post, lol

  21. Oh that is so nice, we use to have birds around but not now with the cats in the backyard. Such a pity!

  22. Petro Neagu says

    That's good to know for when I move to my own hose. I plan to build a bird feeder to attract all kinds of little birds around the house.
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  23. mamatomanyblessings says

    that is brilliant, yes we pesky squirrels in our bird feeder all the time, makes me crazy! Thank you for posting this!
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  24. craftdictator says

    Truthfully I've never thought about squirrels in a bird feeder. This is a great tip!
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  25. catchmybreath4 says

    Well, we've never had this problem before, but I'll be pinning it for future reference in case we do. When we still lived in the city, our next door neighbor had tons of bird feeders out and I do remember seeing a lot of squirrels around too.

  26. Great idea though. good thing we don't have bird feeders and never seen squirrel in our neighborhood.
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  27. I tried the cayenne pepper,it isn’t working so I guess the next step is some sort of baffle?

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