Feeding birds in your yard can be exciting and gratifying only until you start losing seeds to furry diners. Squirrels are no joke! We have all been there. You are busy running errands while checking on various birds feasting on their buffet; then suddenly, you spot your backyard adversary, a fox squirrel!
Although undeniably cute, squirrels can cause huge damage to your backyard. They nibble on almost anything, and it becomes a double tragedy when they visit bird feeders and eat bird seeds.
Luckily, it’s possible to keep squirrels away from bird feeders, which is why most people often ask whether cayenne pepper will keep squirrels away from consuming bird seeds. Read on for more information on cayenne pepper and how to use it to prevent squirrels from taking advantage of bird seeds.
Will Cayenne Pepper Hurt Squirrels?
Cayenne pepper contains a compound known as Capsaicin, which will burn a squirrel’s mouth as it does to humans.
Capsaicin gives pepper its heat, so squirrels immediately run away after eating cayenne. Chances are they would never come back for another bite.
Besides driving them away from bird feeders, there’s nothing to worry about since cayenne pepper does not harm squirrels.
Will Cayenne Pepper Hurt Birds?
The Capsaicin compound in cayenne pepper only affects mammals. Therefore, birds can eat these hot bird seeds without any issues.
In the American tropics, most birds eat red fruits from wild peppers without feeling the Capsaicin’s impact. Unlike mammals, birds have fewer taste buds, so the burning sensation caused by pepper doesn’t affect them.
However, there is a possibility of loose pepper from the seeds getting into the bird’s eyes. Besides, you can use the liquid cayenne product instead of the powdered one. This might cause mild irritation, but it’s still the best squirrel repellent.
How Much Cayenne Pepper Should You Add to Bird Seed?
According to most online recipes, three tablespoons of cayenne pepper can be added to one pound of birdseed. Are you wondering how it’s done? Let’s find out.
- Empty one pound of your best wild bird seed into a large empty bowl and sprinkle three tablespoons of cayenne pepper into the mixture. Mix them thoroughly to enable uniform distribution of the cayenne pepper in your birdseed.
- Store your mix in a large air-tight container once you are sure that you have mixed everything well. Please place it in a cool, dry place free of contamination and ready to be transferred to the bird feeders whenever you want to refill.
Home Remedy to Keep Squirrels Away from Bird Feeders
Apart from the cayenne powder, you can use chili powder to deter squirrels away from bird feeders.
There are two ways you can apply chili powder. One way is to sprinkle a bit of chili powder around the base. The powder will make the squirrels’ paws itch if they try to climb the pole, and the sharp chili smell will deter them from getting too close.
The other way is to sprinkle chili powder using the same formula as when applying the cayenne pepper. Adding hot sauce to the mix will help the chili powder or flakes stick to the seeds. This will prevent the squirrel from eating the bird seeds again.
Use Hot Pepper Spray
Other than mixing hot pepper powders or flakes into birdseed, using hot pepper spray is also another effective way to keep away squirrels from your backyard. You can spray hot pepper around the pole or plants surrounding your bird feeder.
You’ll need the following to make hot pepper spray:
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1-quart water (0.95 liter) water
- 2 chopped jalapeno peppers
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
After mixing all the ingredients thoroughly:
- Stir the mixture and put it in boiling water
- Allow it to boil for a few minutes, then remove from the heat source.
- Allow the contents to cool down, then transfer them into a spray bottle.
And now, you have a squirrel-repellent spray ready!
Spray hot pepper in areas where squirrels frequent the most. Remember, it’s always best to spray areas near bird feeders to stop squirrels from ever visiting.
Are There Any Obstacles Encountered When Adding Cayenne Pepper to Bird Seeds?
Weather is the only major challenge bird enthusiasts often face when serving hot-pepper birdseed to birds.
The cayenne powder can easily be blown or washed off from the bird seeds on particular days when the wind blows hard or rains heavily. That’s why placing a baffle on top of feeders is still important in case bad weather happens.