Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!


Monday, 26 May 2014

The problem with squirrels

 @JacobiJayne  #feedthebirds


As well the Woodpecker "problem"  I talked about in my last post, we also have a real problem with squirrels. Our wood is home to a number of grey squirrels and, as long as that is where they stay, we adopt a "live and let live" attitude to them. Indeed we are amused and entertained by their antics. One year, though,  the numbers multiplied and suddenly they were eating all the apples, all the growing crops and even chewed into the polytunnel. That year we had to resort to live trapping and shooting some to restore the balance, but usually we all get along together. The squirrels do however love to eat the bird peanuts and seed and will chew up any vulnerable feeder to get to the food. I use squirrel proof metal Droll Yankee nut feeders which work well but have not, so far, come across any squirrel proof seed feeders. I have been resigned to just regularly buying complete new feeders to replace the damaged ones.

So when I was contacted by conservation products company Jacobi Jayne & Co to see if I would like to try out some of their products I immediately said yes.  I had a lovely chat on the 'phone with Graham from Jacobi Jayne about squirrels, gardening, birds and wildlife in general and I outlined my problem with squirrel damaged feeders. As a result I was offered two different seed feeders to try;  one of which says it is 100%  squirrel proof and the other a general purpose easy to clean feeder but in which all the parts can be replaced.


When the parcel arrived I realised I had also been sent a couple of big feeder hanging hooks and a 12.5 kg bag of Special Mix bird food, so thanks Graham!

The One feeder is a standard looking bird feeder but is very easy to take apart for cleaning ( it is a very good design) and I can see it would be easy to just replace any chewed or damaged parts so I was impressed even before I hung it out.

The Squirrel Buster was easy to assemble and I could immediately see how hard it would be for a squirrel to get at the seed!


 Fill up the inner hopper


 Add the outer mesh cover - here it is open for birds to eat the seed


but if a squirrel tries to get to the food  (Compostman's hand pretending to be the squirrel, here)  the extra weight of the squirrel makes the cover slide down and blocks the feed. What a brilliant idea.



These two new feeders went out on to the bird table along with the Droll Yankee nut feeder - the birds immediately began to use the new feeders, and as usual the hens hung around waiting for the dropped seed (sigh)
 
You can buy Jacobi Jayne conservation products in shops or online at their website Living with birds
There is a wealth of useful information on the site and they sell lots of other products for wildlife. The Squirrel Buster retails at £24.95, The One feeder will be launched in mid June and the medium sized one (above, lhs of the pole) I am using would sell for £11.49.

I haven't seen a squirrel try the Squirrel Buster yet but I bet it will find it hard to get at the feed. I will keep you posted and try to get a photo if I can!


Disclaimer. I was sent the feeders, a couple of hanging hooks and a bag of seed to review. All opinions are my own.

4 comments:

  1. It amazes me how the simplest ideas are the ones that are clever, I know someone who "suffers" with squirrels so I will pass this on x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is working really well! And it seems more stable for the birds ( because it is heavy?) and they are all using it. Much cheaper than buying replacement feeders I think.

      Delete
  2. Wonder what will happen when a squirrel realises they can hang upside down from the top to get to the food, thereby not setting off the trap door?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Still sets off the downward motion of the mesh Dc

    ReplyDelete

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