Squirrels can provide hours of entertainment as they scamper about your yard. Setting up a squirrel feeder is a great way to attract them, but you'll want to take steps to keep the food secure. Wiring the feeder prevents squirrels from taking the food elsewhere or knocking it on the ground. With a few simple materials and tools, you can easily electrify your backyard squirrel feeder.
Selecting a Feeder Style
There are a few common feeder styles that work well for squirrels:
Platform feeders are flat trays or platforms with short sides. They allow easy access for squirrels to grab seeds or nuts. Platforms should be at least 1 square foot in size and can be made of wood, metal, or plastic. Just be sure the material conducts electricity.
Tube feeders consist of vertical clear plastic or glass tubes with holes or slots for squirrels to reach inside. The tube design helps keep seeds dry. Tubes should be around 1.5 inches in diameter to accommodate squirrels.
Hanging feeders attach to tree branches, hooks, or poles. They often incorporate trays or platforms with a roof to help keep seeds dry. Hanging feeders should include a wire for electrifying.
You'll need a few supplies to electrify your squirrel feeder:
- Squirrel feeder
- 16 or 18 gauge stranded copper wire
- Wire strippers
- Wire nuts or crimp connectors
- 9-volt battery
- 9-volt battery connector
- Insulated gloves
Stranded copper wire conducts electricity better than solid core wire. Wire nuts and crimp connectors securely attach wires. Insulated gloves keep you safe.
Wiring the Feeder
Follow these steps to wire your squirrel feeder:
1. Attach Wires
Use the wire strippers to remove about 1/2 inch of insulation from both ends of the copper wire. Attach one end to the feeder. If metal, use a crimp connector or winding the bare wire around a screw. For plastic or wood, attach wire using a screw and washer.
2. Run Wire
Run the copper wire from the feeder to your chosen power source location, keeping it secured along the way with insulated staples. Don't let wires dangle where squirrels can reach.
3. Connect Power Source
At the power source end, use a wire stripper to remove 1/2 inch of insulation. Attach the 9-volt battery connector: red to positive, black to negative.
4. Insulate Wires
Make sure positive and negative wires do not touch. Seal connections with electrical tape and place battery in an enclosed, weatherproof container.
Put on insulated gloves and scatter test food. Turn battery on and lightly touch feeder to ensure it is electrified. Feel a slight shock. Turn battery off when not testing.
Now your feeder is ready for action! Turn the battery on when squirrels are active. They'll get a harmless but startling tingle if they touch the feeder, encouraging them to leave the food alone. Make sure to keep an eye on the feeder so squirrels don't get injured. Have fun watching their antics from a safe distance!