Saturday, April 4, 2009

Squirrel proof Suet Cakes

I have been talking about birds a lot lately from my Georgia Garden. I am behind on posts and just playing catch up until there is more to talk about in the garden. Birds are a big part of our gardens as they do so much for us and we in the return, try to help them out at times. One such way we help the birds in our yard is to provide them food. We have 6 different types of woodpeckers visit us and they enjoy such treats as the suet cakes we provide them. The suet really gets a work out during the cold winter months when bugs are scarce. Other birds such as the wren, nuthatch, titmouse, blue jay, sparrows to name a few enjoy the suet as well.

We were having an issue with the squirrels eating the cakes within a day and had to do something to squirrel proof the cakes. I decided we needed a suet pole. This was my solution that the Saint put into action. We work well together, I come up with ideas and he does the hard labor to construct my little projects. This has worked well for us as we have been with each other for 23 years!
We purchased a stove pipe baffle that fits on a square fence post and installed it before setting up the pole. This is the long type baffle keeping both squirrels and raccoons at bay from the treasures above. This picture was taken before our spring cleaning and you can see the green mildew from the icky wet winter. She shines with a wash down each spring.
We lost a tree during a storm and decided to utilize the stump to mount the suet pole. As you can see the pole has been in this spot for some time as the stump is starting to rot. In time, we will remove the pole from the stump and dig a hole and place the pole in the ground as if a fence post would be mounted. You can see we have plenty of pole to hide in the ground by looking at the first picture. We can easily move the stove pipe and cages up a bit.
We then took inexpensive suet cages and mounted them to the pole with washers and wood screws. Simple enough.
There are different types of suet cages but we chose the one that opens from the front for easy cake installation.
We only placed cages on three sides so we can view the activity from the sun-room windows.

We hope to attract the Pileated Woodpecker to the suet in time. So far he and the misses prefer to use our birdbaths and not the suet cakes. Upon research, we learned that they will come to suet cages if mounted verses swinging on chains as our other suet cages.

Cute little Mr. Wren, above, enjoys a snack from our SQUIRREL PROOF SUET CAKES, In the Garden...

Update: Since setting this topic to post, we made an improvement to our Suet Pole. The Saint installed a birdhouse on the top of the pole. I know we will probably not have any nests with this being so close to food but I just had to have one of the "See Rock City" barns in my life. I miss them since leaving Tennessee and need a reminder of my home. We both always thought the pole looked unfinished but now are happy with the over all look...


  1. Oh I want those birds in my garden, too! I love birds.. Plz mail them to me ... Can you do it now, plz, plz ...
    Oh excuse my excitement. Sometimes, birds do this to me...

  2. I remember those red barns too.

  3. The house is a good topper.
    You may know that I've been fighting with the darn squirrels also. This really works?
    Do they slide off?
    Are you going to patten it?
    Very cool!

  4. If you want to attract Pileated Woodpeckers to your suet cakes you need to put them on top of each other. The ones I have seen are that way. The woodpecker lands with his feet on the bottom suet cake basket and eats out of the top one. The way you have them, he has no place for his feet and his long tail that he uses to balance himself with. I have seen people make their own suet cages for Pileated woodpeckers and they are always tall and narrow. You might try it if you see any Pileated Woodpeckers hanging around.

  5. Ingenious Skeeter! I love seeing creative solutions like this. Great job. Love the new Rock City bird house too!

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Hi Skeeter...I love the See Rock City Bird Houses! You've reminded me to head over to a place that used to sell them and get one! TMy son gave me a great suet feeder that has a built in spot for the woodpecker tails to rest....Every woodpecker in the yard visits...but the pleated! I am going to have to get one that's mounted like yours...thanks for the info and ideas! Have a good weekend...the cold weather is going to be a shock next week! gail

  7. Blossom, wish I could send you some...

    Les, We still see a few of the barns on our drive from GA through TN...

    Patsi, Yes, this method really works. Squirrels cannot get to the suet cakes. The baffle moves so they cannot get a grip of the things. I should patent this idea. Oh, more money for more plants!

    Abe, we do have a pair of pileated woodpeckers in our woods. They come to the bird bath during drought season. We will have to add another cage on top as you suggest. I will let you know if it works. WE get the Red Belly, Downey, Hairy, Yellow belly sap sucker all on the suet cages...

    Janet, I do love those barns...

    Garden girl, Thanks, we do have to keep on step ahead of the wildlife around here...

    Gail, We picked this one up at Cracker Barrel. I love that store as they have some really great stuff at reasonable prices! Rainy and windy at the Gulf so a bit of a bummer. Still having fun though.,..

  8. I believe the bird house at the top is like icing on a cake!

  9. What a great idea and love the See Rock City Barn --we always look for those when out driving:) Have a super weekend --trying to motivate Boy 1 --he has piano but doesn't want to get up --too many video games last night:) Ah, Spring break is over --heheheh. Ciao!

  10. You seem to do a whale of a job in keeping ahead of the wildlife as much as you can.

    The red barn really makes the pole have a great finished look.

  11. What a great idea Skeeter, I may have to try that with one of the split rail post! It's the only plase for a suet now, and I do miss them. Great barn!

  12. Not only a gardener but an inventor too! Great idea!

  13. Skeeter, you and the Saint are really very creative. I liked this bird spot when I saw and now like it even more! The See Rock City birdhouse rocks!!

    Morning all!

  14. Great idea! I love seeing all the ideas great gardeners come up with! I hope you get to see a Pileated Woodpecker soon!

  15. I personally don't mind the squirrels eating my suet cakes since their acrobatics to accomplish this are nothing short of Cirque du Soleil to watch! (What can I say? I'm a cheap date.) :)

  16. Ah! I wish I too had so many different birds visiting my terrace garden! You are brilliant, Skeeter and you and Saint seem a great couple. What a harmony! Great ideas and implementations! Cool! I love the birdhouse too. It looks cute.

  17. You all are the BEST team! This is another GREAT idea. I can see I need to get someone around here to implement my ideas. Things would go a lot smoother. I hope the pileated woodpecker pays your suet pole a visit real soon.

  18. Skeeter, what a wonderful feeding station. I love the red barn "See Rock City". I have cousins in Cleveland Tn. and I have seen so many of the barns over the years.
    I love to watch the birds and see pictures of them.

  19. Great suet pole-- and I love the See Rock City birdhouse! :-)


  20. Great suet pole, but if you really want to keep the squirrels sprinkle a little bit of orange oil around the pole they hate the odor of Oranges. Thanks for picking my post on blotanical. I enjoyed reading your bird post.

  21. Been on the road all day today and am finally at our next destination. Was nice riding in the sunshine but would have rather had that while at the beach. But still enjoying time with my parents...

    Thanks for your wonderful comments on the suet pole. It is great to have the Saint carry out my ideas in life :-)...

  22. That was a clever idea for the suet cages. I don't have problems with squirrels eating my suet, but the Starlings really make pigs of themselves.

  23. you are blessed to have a variety of woodpeckers on your land. They are highly favored in my opinion. good luck keeping the squirrels away.

  24. Raquel, we are lucky that we dont have starlings or grackels in our yard. thus far anyway...

    Wayne, we do enjoy all of our different woodpeckers. They are so much fun to observe...