Monday, October 27, 2008

DIY Squirrel Baffle

Well, I thought I was pretty clever yesterday. I needed to do something about the *%$#@! squirrels that live in my neighborhood; they’re eating me out of house and home. But squirrel guards are just too darn expensive; heck…a little ol’ piece of metal curled around a pole? Sheeshhhhhhhhh ...highway robbery.

So…I made my own! Yup.

I bought a flat length of that duct-pipe stuff; thin metal that rolls into a cylindrical shape and sort of locks together along the seam. Before I rolled it, I carefully (read that VERY carefully; this stuff is so sharp one could loose a finger and not know it for five minutes!) cut about 3” cuts every couple inches along one edge (not the edge that locks).

Once I finished that…and figured out I had to make a few wedge-shaped removals, too (to make the bunch squished around the pole less bulky)…I used some thin pliers to bend each section twice…so that I effectively made one opening a lot smaller and had a place with which to attach my coupling. You know; those metal collars with the screw that is used to tighten it down smaller? I took the whole thing outside, slipped it over a birdfeeder pole and tightened it down. Worked like a charm and cost me about $5.00

Okay…it wasn’t that easy. I figured out right away I needed to wear heavy leather gloves or risk a serious injury. It’s hard to wear such gloves while doing intricate work. The first cuts I made were not deep enough and I didn’t have enough metal to fold the end closed and still have enough to wrap the collar around. So I had to start over and cut deeper and re-fold. Now it works.

I also made judicious use of good ol’ duct-tape and made sure there were no sharp spots accessible to little birdie-toes. I wrapped one length around the top of the thin pipe where my cuts stopped, just to steady-up the whole thing…and then wrapped several more pieces around the exposed cuts that might cause problems.

But hey…the duct tape matches the duct pipe; so the end result is not too hokey or garish. Now, I’m just waiting to see if I’ve outfoxed the blankety-blank squirrels! Heh, heh, heh. To tell ya the truth, I’m rather proud of my invention. I’ve heard stove-pipes work too…but they were too expensive for my budget.

Okay, I have no draw programs here…I did this in Word; but it gives a fair representation, if my text leaves you scratching your head. Not an elegant piece of artwork, but then, neither is the baffle! LOL Of course, the bottom doesn't taper like's the same diameter at the bottom that it is at the top, before it's bent to attach to the pole. (Common'...I used Word!) Oh, and it's about 3" in diameter and perhaps 2' long...and attaches about five feet up the pole.


Lurker said...

Frankly, I’m shocked. I find your “squirrel guard” quite discriminatory against the hairier species. Why the hatred? Where's the love? This is about "redistribution" man... ;-)

Beverly said...

Yeah, I'm a biggot. It shames me. At least I have the common sense to hope Obama makes I can't be too bad!

PS...against the hairier species? My dog is an Akbash Dog! Not only THAT...he's rolled in something (a dead squirrel?) and is STILL allowed in the house. Lordy!!!

Yeah...I'm full of hatred.

Bosque Bill said...

Good job, Beverly!!!

Love the innovation... good ol' wild west ingenuity! Keep us posted on versions 1.1, 1.2,... 2.0... and watch out for those fingers.

Beverly said...

LOL Thanks, Bill. It was fun.

So far...I came home to find the flat-bed feeder still full of seeds! But then...I'd moved it to the pole I'd just added the baffle to; so perhaps birds (pigeons & doves) as well as the squirrels (I've seen six at once at the feeders!) were still checking things out.

I plan to make another…and the diameter will be larger. I will also take better care with my bending and cutting; the first one doesn’t ‘hang’ exactly straight. I am not sure what the deterrent is: that they climb up under the thing or that it is too slick to climb upon. We’ll see.

The cool thing is, I saved $15-20 and what I made doesn’t look half bad!

First though, I'm going to have to wash my dog. Gawd he stinks!!!

Bosque Bill said...

If you don't mind my two cents:

You might consider attaching it with the narrow end up. Then you'd have both the "slick" effect and the "climb under it" effect, especially if you made the wide-end wider (and maybe left it open.)

You could achieve the latter AND keep from making all those little cuts and bends by getting or making a disc, or donut, about half the diameter of the widest part, which would attach to the pole; then the cone would slip over that. Did you follow that?

Actually, you might not even need for that to be a true disc... how about a screw-type hose clamp and some "L" shaped pieces of tin left over from the cutting.

I'm also wanting you to get away from the duct tape thing. It will degrade rapidly in sunlight and fall apart leaving your baffle disarmed.

Maybe that was more than just 2 cents.

Beverly said...

I’m always up for new ideas! Thanks!

Let me start though, by saying I mentioned it was a function of the hokey draw-tool I was using in Word…that made the baffle look narrower at the bottom. It isn’t…it’s about 3” in diameter the entire length. It is closed only at the top, where I attached it to the pole.

And thanks for the tip regarding the tape…I wondered about that! Back to the drawing board.

I may have to revise my plan. I like what you said…to make something more like a collar than a sleeve; if I got it right. I’ve seen them fabricated that way, too and like the idea, but the stuff I found was too flimsy, really. I was also trying to avoid sharp edges sticking out at nearly right angles; sure enough, me (or my dog’s big nose) would find ‘em regularly!

I saw a big ol metal pizza pan…and considered it; but it was $17 and for that kind of money, I might as well actually BUY a squirrel guard! LOL

Remember the idea with plastic jugs? I got a neighbor to give me one…and they’re awful small (and I just don’t like the shape…hardly elegant, huh?) But they got me thinking…what about the black, or green, plastic containers I have stacked all over the place; potted plants come in them! I may move to some design that involves them. They’d be safer, too! LOL

Yup, lots more than two cents...but I appreciate the help!

NW Nature Nut said...

I will be checking back for updates. After watching that video, I'd say you are screwed. :)

Beverly said...

Well, she says wipping coffee from her monitor, I think you could be right!

One thing I'm beginning think is...the store-bought 'shepherd's hooks' I have are too short! First thing I'm going to have to do is figure out how to make them longer/higher. I'm thinking many of the feeders HANG too low; such acrobatic little ****ers can likely jump right up onto some of the bigger feeders.