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Bird feeders and vermin?

(6 Posts)
principalitygirl Mon 10-Feb-14 15:06:42

Would love to get a bird feeder for the garden esp as I think DS would like watching the birds.

However, my Dad (bless him!!) has instilled in me a belief that bird feeders and tables invariably attract vermin and pests especially when food falls onto the ground. Is he right or just over cautious? Any tips please? Don't want to have to both put food out and clean up. Cheers!

Earlybird Mon 10-Feb-14 15:26:28

I don't have a bird feeder currently as the seed that is knocked to the ground attracts large numbers of squirrels.

I recently was told that one way to prevent this happening is to add cayenne pepper to the bird seed. Evidently the birds 'can't taste it', but the squirrels don't like it. No idea if it is true.

dreamingofsun Mon 10-Feb-14 18:45:06

if there's squirrels you need a special one designed so they can't eat the nuts. otherwise they will rip a normal one apart in a matter of days.

yes bird seed attracts rats. my neighbour used to put out a lot of food, all the time on a bird table and this was a nightmare. the best compromise is to have 1 feeder and no table - or at least this seems to have attracted less of them - i think its harder for them to get the food and whilst the birds dont mind hanging on i guess the rats do.

Earlybird Mon 10-Feb-14 18:53:38

It is best not to hang the bird feeder from a tree branch. I've got a heavy metal rod (sort of looks like a shepherd's crook) that pushes down into the earth. The feeder hangs from the 'crook'. I have a baffle on the rod so that squirrels can't climb up the rod. Also make sure that the rod is not right next to any trees, so squirrels can't reach/leap onto the feeder.

All of this makes it impossible for them to get to the bird feeder - so they simply scurry around on the ground hoping for dropped seeds.

MillyMollyMama Mon 10-Feb-14 18:54:55

Not aware of rats around my bird feeders. I have seen rats in my village though. They prefer the year round supply of chicken feed!

aircooled Mon 10-Feb-14 19:03:46

If you tailor the bird food to the types of bird you're likely to attract there shouldn't be any waste to attract vermin. Niger seed for goldfinches, nuts for tits and woodpeckers and mixed seed in suitable container for robins etc. Some birds eg blackbirds, dunnocks, b----y wood pigeons etc like to eat on the ground - put the food out early in the day so it is eaten before dusk. Bird watching is a brilliant way to introduce children to wildlife.

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