Last Updated on December 9, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford
There is just something humbling about watching critters eating or interacting in action and if you are lucky enough to be in a location where squirrels are around, you should make squirrel feeders for them. On a long-term perspective, having squirrel feeders is beneficial for many reasons.
One, having one would mean that squirrels would not be enticed to enter your home for food. Two, it would encourage them to stay away from bird feeders and pet cans. Three, you can serenely watch them eat from afar. If you are convinced that you need to have squirrel feeders around, here are some squirrel feeder plans that you should check out.
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How do you make a cheap squirrel feeder?
If you have scrap wood around, or simply a string and hook, you can make a cheap squirrel feeder easily. And here is how you do it.
- Get a piece of wood in good condition. Nail it on the tree or where you choose your squirrel feeder to be mounted. Once it is stable, cut a smaller plank of wood and nail it on the mounted wood board to serve as a deck.
- Next, attach some nails or spikes in the wood deck. The spikes or nails should be spaced out enough for the corn’s ear to fit.
- Make use of the spikes or nails as corn skewers. Check it every now and then to make sure that corn supply is enough or else, the squirrels will move to another place.
If you are considering a cheap and easy to make hanging squirrel feeder, here is what you should do.
- The first thing to do is to choose a sturdy branch of a low hanging tree.
- Next, hang nylon fishing wires from the branch. At the end of the wires, make loops where the hook is hung.
- Attach the corn cob to the hook. Make sure that the cob is fastened tight enough to the hook because they will use the upper part of the cob to support their weight while they dig in.
How high should a squirrel feeder be?
Squirrels are jumpers and depending on the squirrel breed native to your area, some can jump to as high as 10ft. Nonetheless, the rule of thumb when it comes to squirrel feeder height should be 4ft above the pole of a bird feeder.
Where should you hang a squirrel feeder?
There are a lot of reasons why squirrels are attracted to your vicinity and one of the most immediate reasons is that maybe you have bird feeders that do not run out of food. As to where squirrel feeds should hang, it depends on the behavior of the squirrel nearby.
One, if they are just around when they are hungry, mounting feeders where you can put refills easily would be better instead of hanging ones. For nesting squirrels, it would be better to put the feeder directly in the tree they are nesting in so that the momma squirrel could just be around to protect the baby squirrels from predators.
Other important tips in choosing the best site for squirrel feeders would be first, place the feeder where you could see it and second, place it at least 20ft away from the bird feeder for both critters to peacefully coexist.
What food should you put in squirrel feeders?
Sure, you know the nuts and the acorn but there are other food items that squirrels eat so you must diversify the food in the feeders with the following:
- Corn cobs
- Sunflower and squash seeds
- Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, pecan, pine nuts, beech nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia)
25 squirrel feeder plans
With all things considered, it is now time to look at some of the best and most practical squirrel feeder plans that you can also incorporate in your home’s vicinity.
1. Mason jar squirrel feeder
For this plan, you only need a mason jar, a paint stir stick, wire, and nuts. Choose the best location to mount the mason jar. Glue the stir stick horizontally, underneath the horizontally lying mason jar.
Make sure that the stir stick extends long because this is where the squirrels will tiptoe for the nuts. Use fishing wire to secure the mason jar in place. Fill it with nuts and you are done.
2. Squirrel chair feeder
It would be thoughtful to have a squirrel feeder where the squirrels could comfortably sit while eating corn cobs. All you need is a miniature chair to mount in a tree or in one spot in a wooden fence.
Drill a hole in one side of the chair and put a nail or hook where the corn cob is placed. It is as easy as that.
3. Milk jug feeder
The next time you have an empty milk jug lying around, might as well recycle it for a milk jug feeder. It can be a hanging feeder or a mounted one. Again, choose a low-lying tree or by the fence in the yard.
Cut a square in the jug where two to three squirrels could feed at once. Attach a tiptoe stick where they could move and get air. Fill the milk jug with different types of seeds and nuts.
4. Slinky squirrel feeder
This is another inexpensive plan to keep squirrels fed and happy. All you need would be a slinky and a rope. For the slinky to hold the nuts in, make sure that it is hung at a half-circle.
Knot the rope in the slinky and hang it near tree branches. With this, they can easily get nuts from the slinky and eat it at their convenience by the branch.
5. Large squirrel food station
Think about those telephone booths with partitions but it would be a miniature one with squirrels in it. You can use transparent acrylic for the partitions and then mount it somewhere stable.
Fill it with diverse food choices to keep the squirrels excited. You can watch how this can be done here.
6. Tree limb squirrel feeder
This is perhaps the most inexpensive feeder plan and the easiest to do (you can do it in minutes). Choose the thickest and sturdiest branch in a tree. Using a knife and scraper, create a deep enough well in the branch which you can fill with food supply. It looks like this.
7. Squirrel picnic table
It is one thing to see squirrels perched on a tree but perched on a squirrel picnic table that you mounted on a tree, or the fence is super cute. With all that table and seats, you would look forward to seeing these critters having a fine corn cob meal like this one.
8. Windmill squirrel feeder
If you have agile, somewhat flying squirrels, a windmill squirrel feeder would make squirrels watching a treat.
For this, you need recycled PVC pipes, fasteners, and a wooden pole where the windmill is attached. It is a four-fan windmill so you can have a corn cob competition anytime. You can find the full instructions here.
9. Platform squirrel feeder
This takes on the same idea as any hanging squirrel feeder but instead of hooking the corn cob, for this you would need a hanging tray for the nuts and other food.
All you need for this one would be scrap wooden trays and wires to hang it on a tree branch. The primary downside of this, however, is that it has the tendency to attract more than just squirrels especially if you leave a lot of food supply.
10. Squirrel hut
If you want to go more all out and go beyond the milk jug squirrel feeder plan, you can consider a woven squirrel hut feeder. You can still use a scrap milk jug or a water container and then envelope it in thick rolls of yarn.
You can use dried pine needles for the roof and then tie the woven yarn around a tree. You can decorate it as you please but make sure that there is enough space for squirrels to go in.
11. Squirrel house
If you intend to have a squirrel feeder slash a comfortable place where they could stay for the night during storms or heavy downpours, you can also make them a full-blown squirrel house and mount it by a tree.
You can buy a ready-made squirrel house online or make one from scrap wood. It can look like this plan.
12. Bench type squirrel feeder
Back to simpler squirrel feeder plans, this one makes use of an old tree stump to make a bench or platform squirrel feeder. All you need is to mold wood scraps into a bench shape and glue it on the tree stump.
It should be placed as far away from the bird feeder, or underneath a tree for some shade. Here is a sample of what it should look like.
13. Train squirrel feeder
Nope, it does not move but it would be thoughtful to have a bright colored, hanging or mounted train squirrel feeder in the yard where the squirrels could feed in a mason jar.
With a wide enough hole, these furry critters can ride the train and get their share of nuts from the glass jar. For full instructions for this plan, click here.
14. Pinecone squirrel feeder
This squirrel feeder plan is so easy and fun that you must do it with your kids. For this, you need several large pinecones, beading wire, peanut butter and different nuts and bird seeds.
All you must do is dip the pinecones in a generous amount of peanut butter, roll it in nuts and bird seeds and hang it in a branch. Not only are you feeding squirrels, but they also look good as edible decorations for the fall and the holidays.
If you do not have access to pinecones, you can easily make use of old cardboard tubes from toilet papers. The same steps are followed. Dip it in peanut butter and roll it in seeds to be hung on a tree. This is an example.
15. See-through squirrel feeder
This is another good use for glass jars but the plan is more elaborate because the jar must be attached to a wood frame.
The wood frame is mounted on a tree and a hole on the side or front must be drilled to act as the entrance for the squirrel towards the glass jar with nuts. You can check out the instructions for this plan here but in actuality, this is how it should look like.
16. Saloon squirrel feeder
If you live in the Midwest and want to incorporate the old saloon vibe for squirrels to experience, you can make one for them.
The frame looks like a university bulletin board but with a carved-out deck or counter for the squirrel food and small stools where they face that counter. Wouldn’t it be cute to see seated squirrel friends enjoying their time at their squirrel saloon? This video tutorial walks you through this plan.
17. Recycled suet cage squirrel feeder
This one is a useful plan in keeping the squirrels out of the bird feeders. For this, recycle the suet cage where the bird food was kept once. Since it looks like a large-holed grill, you must use peanut butter to bind the seeds and nuts together.
Place the suet cage at ground level and just leave far away from the bird feeders. Placing it beneath a tree is a good idea so that the squirrels would not pester the perched birds on the bird feeders.
18. Wine bottle squirrel feeder
This is a good plan for both simple bird and squirrel feeders. For this you need wood scraps and a used wine bottle. Simply mold the wood scraps into a wine holder (like the ones you see in wine cellars).
Mount the wood wine holder on a tree. Fill the wine bottle with lots of bird seeds. Place it in the wine holder with the bottle’s mouth facing down. This plan looks like this.
19. Squirrel stand feeder
This is another squirrel feeder platform style made of cedar wood, hinge, and screws. The idea behind this is that the lid of the food box opens when the squirrel stands on the inclined platform.
Not only is this a simple idea but it is also witty because it conditions squirrels to associate standing on the platform with food. Ivan Pavlov would be proud!
20. Old espresso squirrel feeder
Speaking of repurposing old stuff, this one is just simply out of the ordinary. It makes use of a junk espresso machine, resting on an old bicycle seat as its platform.
It requires welding, scrap wood where you could mount it, drills, and screwdrivers. You can put the nuts where the coffee beans would have been. This is how this plan looks like.
21. Oil can squirrel feeder
This is another cheap and easy to build squirrel feeder that just takes minutes to do. For this, you need a scrap, thick cut, square wood to act as base. Of course, you also need an old oil can, nuts and bolts, a drill and bit as well as wrenches to attach the oil can in place.
This is a ground level squirrel feeder so just fill the oil can with enough food supply for a hoard of squirrels to gather and feed.
22. Porch swing squirrel feeder
Since squirrels are most likely to swing to and fro if you put up hanging squirrel feeders, might as well make a swing set for them and feed on the nuts and seeds while it sways with their weight and movement.
For this you need poplar boards, light duty chain, screws, nails, hooks, screen, and woodworking tools. You can find the complete instruction here for this plan, but this is how it should look like.
23. Old arcade squirrel feeder
If you have an old PacMan arcade around, might as well make food getting for squirrels more challenging. Basically, the arcade is drilled on the side.
That serves as the entry point of the squirrels to follow a maze inside the arcade that would lead them right into their food. This is an exciting way to relive the glory days of the arcade but also a fun moment for kids to watch squirrels eating their food without scaring the squirrels away.
24. Melted bottle squirrel feeder
As the term implies, this makes use of a melted bottle that is drilled and bolted into a wood pole. Overall, it looks like a plate but in bottle shape. Fill it with nuts and seeds and just leave it under a tree. It is quite decorative too, so it is worth it.
Related: Get Rid of Squirrels in the Garden
Squirrels can be fun to watch as long as they do not enter the home. They are important to local biodiversity and seeing them around could be a teaching moment for little kids.
Most squirrel feeders are easy to do and do not need elaborate designs to be made. But of course, if you have the time, resources, and deeper love for squirrels, you can go all in and incorporate other materials for your feeders.