Squirrel 6 Wm


So, you’ve eaten all your winter acorns.

How many did you bury and then forget where you’d left them? I’ll be digging baby oak trees out of the flower borders for months, if last year was anything to go by.


Mike’s armoured bird feeder has proven to be a serious piece of kit. The squirrels nibble at the nuts, and do get some, but it’s much harder work. And they can’t make a hole in the industrial strength mesh either, to deposit the booty on the floor. With peanuts now at £9 for a teeny tiny bag that’s important.

Perhaps we do need to patent it after all.


Bird Feeder 3 Wm


The trouble is, now the pesky rodents go after the fat balls. They’re not cheap either. The squirrels can get through two in an hour. And it’s difficult to envisage an impenetrable metal bastion for those.

Fear not. I have been doing some research. And I think I have found the ultimate solution. It might take a while to organise..

But it will be oh so worth it..


2018-04-04T18:29:53+00:00April 4th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Countryside Tales April 4, 2013 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Love it! They are gymnasts aren’t they? Ours was on the verge of making a daring raid into the garden this morning, then noticed us watching and turned his imminent descent down the fence into a sort of “Oh I’m just hanging here enjoying the breeze ruffling my fur” moment. I’m sure he would have whistled carelessly if he could have…

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:23 pm - Reply

      I can just imagine it!
      Ours coming running across the wall of one of the terraced beds, see one of us, and decide that a moment to pause and preen might just be in order..

  2. Sue April 4, 2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

    You definitely need to patent this, I would buy one for a start. The pesky blighters have ripped through our fanciest peanut feeder, I didn;t even notice until I was pouring peanuts in and they landed on my feet!!

    Would like to see the fat ball solution too, I accidently left two fat balls on the bench during refill time a couple of weeks ago and two squirrels made off with one each, a whole fatball tucked under an arm, brilliant to see one armed gymnastics but not something I would repeat – unless I could get a photo for the Blog 🙂

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm - Reply

      That’s so funny! I’d love to have seen it..!!

  3. BadPenny April 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    You have to admire their acrobatics !

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      I have a sneaky respect for them, I have to admit.

  4. the veg artist April 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Something that might help – it’s not all about the feeders themselves, but also about how they are hung. Putting the feeders on long, long pieces of wire, strung from something arching or away from trees, makes it more difficult for squirrels to actually access the feeders in the first place. Not so cute in terms of hanging from the bird table, but the birds don’t mind where the feeders are.

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

      Hmmm. Will have a think about how we could construct something like that. It will be fun to watch them trying. They are persistent if nothing else! Thanks!

  5. Denise April 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    I am feeling somewhat trepidacious, yet oddly excited at the same time, to discover the nature of your ultimate solution…

    ….is it an emu?? A cannon??? A small child with a catapult??????

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm - Reply

      None of the above.
      Although Mike, in place of small child, has tried the last one. The squirrels moved out of the way every time!

  6. frayed at the edge April 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Do you have a B&M shop anywhere near you ….. the one in Hawick sells fat balls at a fraction of the price that garden centres charge.

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm - Reply

      Sadly not. I think I will have to investigate online suppliers..

      • the veg artist April 5, 2013 at 9:01 am - Reply

        Have you tried your local farming co-operative store? Ours sells huge bags of seed and the large tubs of fat balls. If you live anywhere near your couty border, it’s worth trying the one in the county next to you as well, as they are inependently run. (You don’t have to be farmers!)

        • Jessica April 5, 2013 at 10:18 am - Reply

          We are just discovering them (CF too) and they are excellent. I haven’t seen bird food, but probably just because I haven’t looked properly. A magnet seems to pull me to the discounted Joules rail and keeps me there.. thanks for the tip, will look more closely next time.

  7. Jo April 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    They’re such pests, but cute pests. We don’t have squirrel problems, very lucky really as I do hang lots of feeders in the garden. Can’t wait to see your fat ball solution.

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      They are cute, it’s true. And smart… I fear it will always be a case of winning the battle but not the war.

  8. snowbird April 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    What a BRILLIANT pic, I love the way it’s hanging on by one leg. Your bird feeder does look bomb proof.xxxxx

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      If I tried it I’d be well and truly stuck. It’s how they recover themselves from these amazing positions that gets me. They are up and away in no time.

  9. Wendy April 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Terrific photograph. They love those fatballs, don’t they…I watched one yesterday sneak up to a bird table and run off with two, one after the other – and then I watched a robin return and look around, baffled, for his missing food.

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      I’m going to have to sacrifice a fat ball just to see this… so funny!

  10. steph April 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    man/woman vs animal……I love the continuing saga!!!!! (I’m secretly voting for the animals—they usually win around our house!)

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      I had no idea moving to the country would be like this.. I used to think that man (or woman) was dominant.. everywhere. How wrong that was!

  11. rachel April 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    On my old allotment, Eddie the Poisoner waged everlasting war on the squirrels, and eventually thwarted them. (No, he never actually poisoned anything, but talked continuously about doing so…) He hung his feeders from very tall poles, but had slipped the poles through lengths of ordinary plastic drainpipe, too wide and smooth for little squirrel paws to grip. Not pretty, but effective; Heaven knows, they tried, but always slid back to the ground before they could reach the top.

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      How tall did the poles need to be?

  12. Simone April 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Has Mike got an industrial strength cage for the fat balls too?!!! Yes! Do patent the armoured bird feeder!!!

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      He can’t use the industrial mesh unfortunately. It is too thick to bend to fat ball shape..

  13. Em April 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Can’t wait to hear the solution! Snippet is a great deterrent actually, even when he’s not there they’re too scared to come in the garden and hang around on the fringes.

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      We watched an interesting exchange the other day between a squirrel and the pheasant. Ptolemy was on the scrounge under the bird table and the squirrel, on top of it, was too scared to come down. Priceless!

  14. Paula @ Spoons n Spades April 4, 2013 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Oh, I have exactly the same problem here with the squirrels Jessica. Many a feeder has been nibbled through, and the amount of monkey nuts they bury all over the garden is unreal! I wait with anticipation for your solution.

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      They bury nuts in the lawn too… and then dig even bigger holes trying to find them again!

  15. Cumbrian April 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    Is there nobody in your area can trap them?

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      We do have a trap, left by our predecessor. But we’re surrounded by acres of woodland. There would always be more waiting to come in and fill any ‘open point’. Same with the mice.

  16. Rose H April 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful photo of your pesky little varmint!
    There are a few squirrels here about, but they’re a very rare visitor in my garden – I’ve only seen two visit in the last 35 years. Looking forward to your ‘ultimate solution’ – though I hope it’s not as severe as Mike’s mouse solution!
    Rose H

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      The aim is just to make the bird food so hard to get for the squirrels that they look elsewhere!

  17. Sarah April 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    That’s a great image of the squirrel, how is your league table going? The wildlife around you keep you busy!
    Sarah x

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      The squirrels currently have control of the ball, but we have yet to play the second half..

  18. Rosie April 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Now the snow has gone and the lawn is clear the squirrels have been digging holes all over. We watched one dig up a monkey nut from the middle of the lawn and crack it open and eat the nuts. There are empty shells all over the garden it beats me how they know which ones they buried and which ones belong to other squirrels – or do they? I’m greatly anticipating the revellation of your new anti-squirrel device:)

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      I don’t think their memory is 100% Rosie.. There are no oak trees close to the flower borders, and yet I still dig up a great many oak seedlings!

  19. CherryPie April 4, 2013 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I am looking forward to the ultimate solution!!

    • Jessica April 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm - Reply


  20. Ali April 4, 2013 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Looks like a small Victory!

    • Jessica April 5, 2013 at 9:54 am - Reply

      Every little helps!

  21. Pats. April 5, 2013 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Have a go at making your own fat balls , I save the bacon fat from the ridged pan I use when cooking breakfast daily and add Sunday roasts spare fat to it, mix in breadcrumbs, bottom of the cake and biscuit tin crumbs, seeds and nuts which we buy in 25kg bags from Torne Valley farmer’s supermarket (inexpensive, lasts months) and anything else that looks bird edible. Suspend in wire cages for avian enjoyment. (I know folk don’t all cook breakfasts these days but we can’t work all day on the farm without a bit of fuel! Hope this helps.

    • Jessica April 5, 2013 at 10:07 am - Reply

      I don’t often cook breakfast, but I could always buy a tub of lard and melt it? Good tip, thanks! Rose H (here) has just published a recipe too.

  22. Annie @ knitsofacto April 5, 2013 at 10:18 am - Reply

    I’m waiting for the day you show us a photo of the squirrel that turned up wearing a strap on beak for the purpose of peanut extraction … the little blighters are clearly clever enough!

    • Jessica April 5, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Annie, don’t give them any more ideas, please!! 🙂

  23. Bilbowaggins June 22, 2013 at 10:58 am - Reply

    The squirrels can get through two in an hour.

    Only two an hour? Would you like some of our Rooks? If they can get hold of a fat ball (which they do with alarming regularity as they are exceptionally clever and adept at tipping the fat ball holder upside down and getting the top open) they will fly off with a whole one.

    Takes them all of 20 seconds …

    • Jessica June 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      Oh dear.. we do have rooks. But they haven’t discovered the fat balls… yet!

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