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I have a 4x4 wood post that's quite tall (probably 8 - 10 feet) that's used to hang lights and bird feeders. In particular, I have a suet feeder hanging from a hook about 4 feet off the ground. Unfortunately, the squirrels keep climbing the post and eating the suet. I don't dislike squirrels, but they eat a lot of suet and don't leave any for the birds (and the suet is too expensive compared to how much they eat).

What can I do to keep the squirrels off of the pole so that they can't eat the suet? (Simply getting a flavor that squirrels don't like, such as ones with pepper in them, would not be preferable since those kinds tend to be significantly more expensive).

I considered a squirrel baffle, but most of the ones I've been able to find are designed for small poles. The ones designed for 4x4 posts that I have been able to find seem to be a single piece, so I'm not sure how I would install them given that there are already multiple hooks and other obstructions that would prevent me from slipping it down to where it would need to go.

I've considered using Cocoanut oil or Vaseline, but I'm not sure if it's safe to use on the wood.

I did not install the posts myself - they came with the house - and I'm not sure how old they are or exactly how they were treated.

Also, I've probably already made this obvious from my question, but I'm a first-time homeowner and am quite inexperienced with home repairs.

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3 Answers 3

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A: Accept that the squirrels will probably beat whatever you come up with, they are persistent and clever.

B: For an existing post of a non-standard size, attempt to build an exclusion cone from metal flashing. Mock up the shape with cardboard or paper to get a pattern and cut from metal flashing so you have a cone or pyramid flaring away from the pole downwards, and screw or nail it onto the pole.

Given the post is not really a non-standard size, (might be for your local bird feeder supply place, but not for web ordering) looking for a 4x4 squirrel guard and selecting one with a "wrap-round" installation method (a joint or seam) would (attempt to, see A:) solve your problem most easily, evidently. They are available. A roll of flashing and a pair of aviation snips might cost less and give you some tooling and material for other jobs, though.

Wrap around 4x4 baffle

Image Source example, not endorsement

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    If the hook is 4 feet from the ground, you might need to move that up, anyway, since the feeder presumably hangs below it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 22 at 20:07
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    If you cannot make this, then that looks suspiciously like a dustbin lid - just cut the square hole... See screwfix.com/p/apollo-galvanised-incinerator-bin-80ltr/51344
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 23 at 10:30
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    +1 simply for recommending accepting squirrels will out-smart your attempts to get between them and food eventually. Commented Jan 23 at 10:42
  • You may need another metal cone that they cannot get a claw-hold on as a roof. They will try jumping down from any nearby trees or other high objects they can climb. A squirrel is not hurt by falling many tens of feet.
    – nigel222
    Commented Jan 24 at 11:56
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What I did that worked really well for both squirrels and raccoons climbing a 4x4 post I had bird feeders on was to get a piece of round snap-together HVAC duct around the post up as high as I needed. Since it's round and metal, they can't get their claws into it for any grip, and it's big enough around that they can't wrap around. For extra measure I did spray it with silicone spray after I put it up, but I don't know if that was really necessary. enter image description here

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    The two could (depending on your squirrels) also be used together (pipe below the cone) +1
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 22 at 20:08
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    A similar technique (but using stainless) is used in there parts to keep possums off the 22kV power lines, not out of care for the critters, but to prevent blackouts.
    – Jasen
    Commented Jan 23 at 11:53
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    Clever idea I gotta say.
    – JonH
    Commented Jan 23 at 17:27
  • This is a genius solution -- reasonably cheap and easy to install. One way of installing it loosely, per the suggestion by SquirrelNut, would be to put screws below it so that the duct rests on them. Thanks for the idea!
    – ichabod
    Commented Jan 24 at 22:15
  • The silicone spray is un-necessary. I built a 5-foot-tall fence around my pear tress out of sheet metal and no squirrels have gotten in for several years. They can't climb smooth sheet metal, and as long as its tall enough they can't jump it.
    – user4574
    Commented Jan 25 at 21:31
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When positioning either the HVAC pipe or the flared cone fashioned from flashing, or both if you use the combination, a bonus discouragement is to hang them loosely around the 4x4 as the movement this allows will lessen the critters ability to grip. Easy to do, just drill a hole on one side near the top and hang the device of choice from a nail above.

Also, if you use the HVAC pipe, snipping half inch triangles at the bottom edge and pressing every other one inward a little bit will discourage them from trying to go inside the pipe between the wood and metal, as this creates very sharp points.

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    Username checks out Commented Jan 23 at 16:30
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    Careful with the sharp points, you don't want them to turn red...
    – JGH
    Commented Jan 23 at 16:33
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    Given the username of this poster, and the fact that they are new here, I'm convinced the clever little squirrels have infiltrated our little online community and are now writing posts to create "anti-squirrel" techniques they already know how to defeat. That would be so squirrel. Commented Jan 24 at 6:06
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    Why in the world should I believe anti-squirrel advice from a squirrel nut? :) Where is the flaw you are hiding? Commented Jan 25 at 19:29

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