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Old Saturday 15th April 2006, 23:01   #1
Transformer
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Red Pepper Flakes as squirrel deterrent at your feeders

Mixing red pepper flakes with your mixed seed to deter squirrels...seems to work so far. The squirrels hate it! The birds either don't mind it, or they even like it. How much to mix in is a matter of judgment. Maybe 3/4 to 1 cup per 40 lb of seed. Also, I hear the chili flakes will kill any parasitic infections the birds may have.

Has anyone else tried it?


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Old Sunday 16th April 2006, 17:36   #2
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I have used powdered Jamaican cayenne pepper - extremely hot! The squirrels didn't like it one bit. Birds can't taste the capsican that makes some peppers hot so it doesnt' affect them. However, I stongly recommend pouring treated seed into the feeder in the house. I once 'pepper sprayed' myself when I was filling a feeder and the wind changed. Not a happy experience!
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Old Sunday 16th April 2006, 20:04   #3
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Ah - maybe American paprika is stronger than English! This was given as a tip on a TV programme last year so I emptied a pot of paprika in with the seed. Squirrels loved it! They almost turned into red squirrels they were so covered with it. The next week I bought EXTRA HOT paprika. They loved it even more! We had squirrels almost queuing to eat from the feeder. So I am afraid it didn't work for me.
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Old Monday 17th April 2006, 18:55   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kits
Ah - maybe American paprika is stronger than English! This was given as a tip on a TV programme last year so I emptied a pot of paprika in with the seed. Squirrels loved it! They almost turned into red squirrels they were so covered with it. The next week I bought EXTRA HOT paprika. They loved it even more! We had squirrels almost queuing to eat from the feeder. So I am afraid it didn't work for me.
Lol ... I suffer from Squirrel's and was tempted until i read this,
Shame it did'nt work ... My question is if Bird's eat these type of pepper's etc
then would'nt it make them thirsty ... Excuse my ignorance please lol,
Or would it upset there stomach or make there eye's water a bit?,
I've so much to learn,
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Old Tuesday 18th April 2006, 07:07   #5
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Originally Posted by Modular
Lol ... I suffer from Squirrel's and was tempted until i read this,
Shame it did'nt work ... My question is if Bird's eat these type of pepper's etc
then would'nt it make them thirsty ... Excuse my ignorance please lol,
Or would it upset there stomach or make there eye's water a bit?,
I've so much to learn,
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Good questions! Our birds never got to try the spiced food as the squirrels ate the lot! The squirrels certainly didn't seem to suffer any side effects. The tip was suggested on Springwatch last year, so I guess the birds would be safe with the paprika - if they ever got the chance to try it!
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Old Tuesday 18th April 2006, 07:54   #6
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Capsaicin (the chemical that gives hot capsicum peppers their 'heat') does not affect birds at all; they have a different kind of body chemistry to mammals and so it simply does nothing at all to them.

It's quite likely that this is the reason why the plants actually produce the stuff; birds have a relatively short digestive tract and a relatively fast digestive transit, compare to many mammals; when chillies are eaten by birds, the outer capsule is digested, but the hard seeds pass through mostly intact; when mammals eat them, the whole lot may be digested. It is therefore in the interest of the plant (from the point of view of perpetuation of the species through seed distribution) to encourage consumption by birds and discourage consumption by mammals; capsaicin does this rather effectively.

That is, except for those pesky humans, who decided to be contrary and develop a taste for capsaicin.

Last edited by Mangetout : Tuesday 18th April 2006 at 07:58.
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Old Tuesday 18th April 2006, 08:15   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
Capsaicin (the chemical that gives hot capsicum peppers their 'heat') does not affect birds at all; they have a different kind of body chemistry to mammals and so it simply does nothing at all to them.

It's quite likely that this is the reason why the plants actually produce the stuff; birds have a relatively short digestive tract and a relatively fast digestive transit, compare to many mammals; when chillies are eaten by birds, the outer capsule is digested, but the hard seeds pass through mostly intact; when mammals eat them, the whole lot may be digested. It is therefore in the interest of the plant (from the point of view of perpetuation of the species through seed distribution) to encourage consumption by birds and discourage consumption by mammals; capsaicin does this rather effectively.

That is, except for those pesky humans, who decided to be contrary and develop a taste for capsaicin.
Excellent reply ... Thank's so much for the info,
You really know your stuff, I think i'll try this, I really like Squirrel's but not
keen on them wrecking my feeder ... It's chewed up and broken lol, Bless em,
The thing i never understand is why they go for the feeder ... When i put
a pile of the same food on the floor underneath, They eat the feeder and then go to the floor, Seem's like they want there Cake and eat it lol,
Again Thank's for the reply,
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Old Tuesday 18th April 2006, 09:03   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modular
The thing i never understand is why they go for the feeder ... When i put
a pile of the same food on the floor underneath, They eat the feeder and then go to the floor, Seem's like they want there Cake and eat it lol
Dunno; they might have a preference for the feeder because it is off the ground and slightly safer from predators such as cats, but also, they probably just don't care about the damage; most wild animals are adapted to food being rather scarce and when they are presented with an abundance, they can often act irrationally; for example a fox that breaks into a chicken run will often go into a frenzy and kill every chicken, even though it could never eat them all - in effect, destroying a potential future food supply - it just doesn't have a behavioural procedure to react properly to abundance of food because in the wild, the scenario very rarely arises.
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Old Tuesday 18th April 2006, 17:18   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
Capsaicin (the chemical that gives hot capsicum peppers their 'heat') does not affect birds at all; they have a different kind of body chemistry to mammals and so it simply does nothing at all to them.
Good to know. Well then, everyone, I am glad I posted this for all to consider as a very reliable squirrel repellant! You're welcome!
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Old Wednesday 19th April 2006, 12:22   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
Capsaicin (the chemical that gives hot capsicum peppers their 'heat') does not affect birds at all; they have a different kind of body chemistry to mammals and so it simply does nothing at all to them.

It's quite likely that this is the reason why the plants actually produce the stuff; birds have a relatively short digestive tract and a relatively fast digestive transit, compare to many mammals; when chillies are eaten by birds, the outer capsule is digested, but the hard seeds pass through mostly intact; when mammals eat them, the whole lot may be digested. It is therefore in the interest of the plant (from the point of view of perpetuation of the species through seed distribution) to encourage consumption by birds and discourage consumption by mammals; capsaicin does this rather effectively.

That is, except for those pesky humans, who decided to be contrary and develop a taste for capsaicin.
Sounds interesting. Have you, or can you refer me to someone who has done a study on the subject? The reason we like chillies etc seems to me be in the taste as we pick it up in our mouths not in our digestive tracts. I have no idea how that would work with birds. Do they have taste buds? Presumably yes but not necessarily.
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Old Monday 1st May 2006, 22:36   #11
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Interesting way to keep squirrels from your feeders

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowyowl
Sounds interesting. Have you, or can you refer me to someone who has done a study on the subject? The reason we like chillies etc seems to me be in the taste as we pick it up in our mouths not in our digestive tracts. I have no idea how that would work with birds. Do they have taste buds? Presumably yes but not necessarily.

I have a similar problem with squirrels. My feeders are on those tall metal poles with the hooks at the tops often used for plant holders. Mine are about 6 and half feet tall.

A squirrel baffle worked for a while until one brainy squirrel figured out how to get around it. All of the others must have been watching. Before you know it they were all getting past the baffle.

I was so po'd that I took the WD40 can out and sprayed the pole.

Next time a squirrel tried to climb it he furiously did a hand over hand type of climb. Got up the pole about 3 ft. and then just hung there. He would slide down about a foot and then scramble to get back up. One managed to get with inches of the feeder but must have hit a really slippery spot. He slid in one fast slide all the way to the ground.
Funniest thing I've ever seen. Those of us watching were applauding his downfall
Once on the ground he actually looked at his front paws as if to ask " what's up with these things."
You need to respray about once a week or more if you get some rain.
Try it you'll enjoy it.
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Old Wednesday 3rd May 2006, 15:06   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiedog
I was so po'd that I took the WD40 can out and sprayed the pole. He would slide down about a foot and then scramble to get back up. One managed to get with inches of the feeder but must have hit a really slippery spot. He slid in one fast slide all the way to the ground.
Funniest thing I've ever seen. Those of us watching were applauding his downfall Once on the ground he actually looked at his front paws as if to ask " what's up with these things."
Glad I'm not the only one who takes pleasure in their falls. One of my recent tricks was to place white glue (non-toxic, I don't want to hear from the squirrel lovers) on the fence posts these rodents use to get into the yard. The glue-on-paw tragedy was HILARIOUS!!! I laughed my ass off as I watched him so annoyed with the glue, and furiously trying to rub it off on his tail.

I also broadcast some of the red pepper flakes, so when they are foraging on the ground under the feeders, they cannot help but pick up some flakes. They kind of do a hop-jump when it hits their mouths, it's very funny.

The glue trick worked, it has diminshed the number of squirrels, though some are still persistent. I might place a tray of peant butter mixed with red pepper flakes on a plate at the base of the tree they use to get into the yard. Maybe even place some glue dots on the plate! Double whammy!
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Old Thursday 4th May 2006, 12:47   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transformer
Glad I'm not the only one who takes pleasure in their falls. One of my recent tricks was to place white glue (non-toxic, I don't want to hear from the squirrel lovers) on the fence posts these rodents use to get into the yard. The glue-on-paw tragedy was HILARIOUS!!! I laughed my ass off as I watched him so annoyed with the glue, and furiously trying to rub it off on his tail.

I also broadcast some of the red pepper flakes, so when they are foraging on the ground under the feeders, they cannot help but pick up some flakes. They kind of do a hop-jump when it hits their mouths, it's very funny.

The glue trick worked, it has diminshed the number of squirrels, though some are still persistent. I might place a tray of peant butter mixed with red pepper flakes on a plate at the base of the tree they use to get into the yard. Maybe even place some glue dots on the plate! Double whammy!
Sounds rather sadistic to me. It reminds me of the guy here on BF who shot or electrocuted sparrows that used his Blue Bird boxes. We put out feed or nest boxes then kill or persecute animals that do what is natural to them.
If the squirrels are that much of a problem for you, live trap them and move them to woods some distance away.
I'm still waiting for your reply to my question about the source of your red pepper information.
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Old Tuesday 9th May 2006, 10:23   #14
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Sounds rather sadistic to me.
Lighten up. People like you...well...if you love the glorified rodents so much, by all means, invite them into your home. Leave the rest of us alone.

As for the red pepper flakes, boy, your head must be up a tree. Most every squirrel repellant contains capsicum in some form or another. Do you know what capsicum is? No? Then look it up.
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Old Tuesday 9th May 2006, 19:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transformer
Lighten up. People like you...well...if you love the glorified rodents so much, by all means, invite them into your home. Leave the rest of us alone.

As for the red pepper flakes, boy, your head must be up a tree. Most every squirrel repellant contains capsicum in some form or another. Do you know what capsicum is? No? Then look it up.
Thank you for the intelligent reply.
For the record, I don't use or need to use repellents. Careful sitting of feeders plus squirrel baffles will solve most problems. When I have an occasional problem, I live trap and re-locate pest animals whether squirrels, skunks or racoons. More than 25 squirrels and 6 skunks to date. Not difficult for people like me who care about wildlife
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Old Thursday 1st June 2006, 22:43   #16
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Thanks for all the info. I have a squirrel problem on my balcony, too. They chew on the satellite wiring and make a mess out of the seed I put up for birds. Does anyone know any recipes for homemade squirrel repellants with pepper? It would help me very much.
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Old Sunday 4th June 2006, 15:14   #17
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I used chili powder with some success in the UK with my squirrel problem, and the plus is that finches seem to relish the chili laced peanuts.

The problem is, that being territorial, no soon as you have eradicated one pair of squirrels (by whatever means), than another comes to take their place. It's never ending.
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Old Tuesday 6th June 2006, 00:06   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiedog
<snip> I was so po'd that I took the WD40 can out and sprayed the pole. <snip>.
Found my "Ahhhhh!!" in one of those auto shops. Grabbed some heavy axle grease-- a can runs from $2--$4/US, depending in the grade (regular, heavy duty). I placed my hand in a plastic bag, wrapped it, then dug into the grease. Smeared it up and down the pole. Seems to withstand heavy rains and baking sun -- makes sense, given the heat generated by cars during travel. But as the squirrels keep trying, I re-do it about every 3rd week -- the pole is still sticky, but not as effective as their fur almost wipes the pole clean.

To see the little varmints jump up, and slide down immemdiately, is priceless, not to mention gut-busting hysterical.

BTW, I've picked up googobs of tips here-- thank you so VERY much for sharing! New birder (yes, my maiden post), but I followed the advice given for binoculars, water, digital camera, etc., so I'm having big fun.
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Old Friday 27th October 2006, 22:04   #19
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I don't know how to reply via this forum--but here goes--I got the dang squirrel problem--it's been months since this post--but I am going to try those shepherd hook delaies and I have bear grease--maybe they need a predator scare. Now--lests see if I can send this miserable missive.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiedog
I have a similar problem with squirrels. My feeders are on those tall metal poles with the hooks at the tops often used for plant holders. Mine are about 6 and half feet tall.

A squirrel baffle worked for a while until one brainy squirrel figured out how to get around it. All of the others must have been watching. Before you know it they were all getting past the baffle.

I was so po'd that I took the WD40 can out and sprayed the pole.

Next time a squirrel tried to climb it he furiously did a hand over hand type of climb. Got up the pole about 3 ft. and then just hung there. He would slide down about a foot and then scramble to get back up. One managed to get with inches of the feeder but must have hit a really slippery spot. He slid in one fast slide all the way to the ground.
Funniest thing I've ever seen. Those of us watching were applauding his downfall
Once on the ground he actually looked at his front paws as if to ask " what's up with these things."
You need to respray about once a week or more if you get some rain.
Try it you'll enjoy it.
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Old Friday 27th October 2006, 22:47   #20
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I reckon any hot spices would be a nice culinary diversion from the bland seeds and nuts that these little critters consume. It could be like a Tex-mex style gettup. I did have one of those suet cakes with hot peppers - and it did deture the squirrels but the racky' loved it ! oh well ..
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Old Friday 27th October 2006, 22:50   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menom
I don't know how to reply via this forum--but here goes--I got the dang squirrel problem--it's been months since this post--but I am going to try those shepherd hook delaies and I have bear grease--maybe they need a predator scare. Now--lests see if I can send this miserable missive.
Menom
Hi menom. I see this is your first post so a warm welcome goes to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum

I would be a bit hesitant about using any heavy grease around the feeders as it can foul up a birds feathers.
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Old Friday 27th October 2006, 22:53   #22
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Quote:
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I reckon any hot spices would be a nice culinary diversion from the bland seeds and nuts that these little critters consume. It could be like a Tex-mex style gettup. I did have one of those suet cakes with hot peppers - and it did deture the squirrels but the racky' loved it ! oh well ..
Hi Dave.

I am still singing the praises of the hot pepper suet and thankfully, my raccoons have not found it or if they have, don't find it all that appealing as it is lasting so much longer than when the squirrels feasted on it. The birds absolutely love it. I found a great supplier here that ships it free so it is actually cheaper than in the big box stores.
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Old Saturday 4th November 2006, 23:49   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transformer
Mixing red pepper flakes with your mixed seed to deter squirrels...seems to work so far. The squirrels hate it! The birds either don't mind it, or they even like it. How much to mix in is a matter of judgment. Maybe 3/4 to 1 cup per 40 lb of seed. Also, I hear the chili flakes will kill any parasitic infections the birds may have.

Has anyone else tried it?

I tried it and it worked on squirrels but it killed my eyes when i cleaned the feeders and did not work against the clever raccons. the best deterent for squirrels I have found is making sure they have their own, always full, private feeding stations with corn cobs and roasted peanuts. I still have to grease a few poles and put up a few baffles but I have not lost a feeder to the squirrels since and now I get to watch the buggers bog on my squngee HEHE

PLuss havig them around tends to bring in a few ofthe larger hawks for me to get a good look at
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Old Tuesday 7th August 2007, 20:45   #24
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I'm not a big fan of the pepper solution. I've heard of squirrels touching it, then rubbing their eyes and screaming in pain.

There are so many effective baffles which are a lot less trouble than adding pepper.

I have a blog with some squirrel-proofing tips that might be helpful:
http://squirrelproofbirdfeedertips.blogspot.com/
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Old Wednesday 8th August 2007, 13:11   #25
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Bear grease is biodegradable and is not 'thick' like axle grease, we use it in our salves--squirrels don't like it too well--sort of like Red Fox urine --we just happen to have Bears on this Indian Rez and we hunt them each year.
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