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  #1  
Old 04-13-2009, 11:09 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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What's The Best Kind Of Nuts To Feed Squirrels?

I got a can of mixed nuts, and I can't eat them so I gave them to the squirrels. They seemed to like them all.

But it's no fun giving them mixed nuts and probably not good for them with the salt and such. I like to watch them break the nuts open.

What's the best kind to give them? I'm thinking acorns or pine nuts. With my luck they'd probably like macadamia's but I am on a budget
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  #2  
Old 04-14-2009, 06:37 AM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
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Best choices in no particular order.

Mixes that include unshelled peanuts, corn, and black oil sunflower seeds.

Any of those by themselves, whole corn, peanuts (you'll pretty certainly pay more for peanuts intended for human consumption, best place to look for them is in pet stores/pet food section of your grocers, garden centers, the prices online look good ... until you get to the shipping charges), and black oil sunflower seeds. Buy in bulk it's cheaper. Buy in season, you can get 25 and 50 lb bags of shelled corn intended for deer feed during hunting season at places you wouldn't necessarily expect, whole ears after Halloween & T-Day in the supermarket.

The most fun is corn on the cob (not the sweet corn they sell in the produce section, dent or field corn like this) or "corn brittle" combined with a squirrel feeder for the corn.
Most of these are sold as diversion feeders and intentionally make eating the corn hard work for the squirrels, which also makes watching them more fun.
If you've got the choice get a metal one not wood! Squirrels ain't dumb and they will destroy anything that gets in the way of them eating (and when they want what your giving them nothing slows them down). My first bird feeder was hung with light rope with a feeder shield to keep the squirrels away. They didn't like that. Much to my surprise they chewed through the rope and then, now that they had the feeder on the ground, chewed away the feeder perches to get at the BOS seeds.

The other cool thing is squirrels ain't cowards, they will happily join you for lunch. I trained my squirrels to eat off of the railing of my deck, gradually moving the food closer to the door. Within a couple of days they started to sit on the railing by the door with a "Hey, can I get some service here" look on their faces. From there it was them on the railing and me sitting out with them no more than 4 or 5 feet away! "Training" them to eat off an elevated feeding station (deck rail, picnic table, platform feeder) gives them some added protection from predators too.

Black oil sunflower seeds are the squirrel bird feeder food of choice. When I started with bird feeders I got the standard "Bird Feeder Mix" and quickly noticed that the birds that used the feeder were NOT interested in anything but sunflower seeds. I'd see showers of seeds falling from the feeder as the birds dug around for them, seeds that the ground feeders completely ignored. Even with straight BOS birds are messy eaters, a bird feeder filled with BOS quickly becomes a squirrel feeder with the birds doling out the food instead of you!

CMC fnord!
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  #3  
Old 04-14-2009, 07:41 AM
Nicest of the Damned Nicest of the Damned is offline
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Whichever one is closest:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...park-squirrels
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  #4  
Old 04-14-2009, 07:54 AM
Chez Guevara Chez Guevara is offline
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A word of caution for inexperienced squirrel feeders.

Quote:
A part-time inventor from West Yorkshire suffered whiplash injuries when a squirrel landed on his head as he was testing out a feeding tray mounted on a hat.
Just leave the food where the squirrels can find it.

Link.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:22 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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I had a squirrel leap onto my back one time when I was offering food to another squirrel. It's disconcerting for all involved.
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  #6  
Old 04-14-2009, 09:30 AM
Savannah Savannah is offline
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The little f#ckers seem quite fond of unshelled peanuts, judging by how many I find tucked away in my potted plants and garden.

I don't know who's feeding them, but they take the nuts to my place to hide them.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2009, 09:49 AM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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Peanuts are actually not good for squirrels, particularly raw ones, which can be actively unhealthy (due to an enzyme that is denatured by roasting). Of course, the squirrels love them anyway, and getting a few in their diet won't hurt them. Just don't leave out peanuts for the squirrels to find all the time.

I used to live next door to a house that had a walnut tree, and a telephone line that stretched over the tree, almost touching the top. As you can imagine, the wire functioned as a squirrel monorail. The little rodents would steal the unripe walnuts (which are covered in a layer of green, fleshy rind), take them to a fence post to eat, and leave a cone-shaped pile of chewed-up rind on the fence.
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2009, 11:31 AM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
Peanuts are actually not good for squirrels, particularly raw ones, which can be actively unhealthy (due to an enzyme that is denatured by roasting). Of course, the squirrels love them anyway, and getting a few in their diet won't hurt them. Just don't leave out peanuts for the squirrels to find all the time.
Will it kill them? Because it sounds like a good, cheap way to kill squirrels that isn't poisonous to people.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2009, 11:57 AM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
Will it kill them? Because it sounds like a good, cheap way to kill squirrels that isn't poisonous to people.
No, raw peanuts probably won't kill them. They will interfere with their protein metabolism and make them look scroungy. Just what you want--a bunch of mangy-looking malnourished squirrels running around.
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2009, 12:02 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chez Guevara View Post
A word of caution for inexperienced squirrel feeders.

Just leave the food where the squirrels can find it.

Link.
Well, as the thread topic suggests, squirrels are attracted to nuts!
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2009, 12:09 PM
SirRay SirRay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowmanyclouds View Post
The most fun is corn on the cob (
Not sure how much fun, but even at the time it was amusing: One year my mom got one of those 3-cob 'Maize' Thankgiving decorations as a gift, and we hung it outside by the door. Of course a squirrel found it and every so often would munch away at the kernals, but it took me a day or so to figure out why the cobs were slowly turning different colors (because I used a different entrance, I didn't get close enough to see that bare cob was showing). Since we didn't really care, we let the squirrel finish up the cobs (took a week or so), and took down the bare cobs when it was done - it was amusing when I did see the squirrel eating the corn, as it was holding onto a railing with it's feet while stretched out over empty space, grasping one cob with it's paw while munching at the other cob.
I guess the corn wasn't treated or coated, as we didn't see any sick squirrels staggering around afterward...
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  #12  
Old 04-14-2009, 12:33 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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I'd say the best would be nuts treated with birth-control hormones.

Because we have more than we need around here.
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  #13  
Old 04-14-2009, 08:17 PM
Chez Guevara Chez Guevara is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
Well, as the thread topic suggests, squirrels are attracted to nuts!
I'm not totally sure the birdfood hat was the inventor's finest hour.

I think he showed good sense in abandoning plans for this remarkable piece of headgear, even if it took being decked by a squirrel to convince him.

By the way, at the time of the squirrel incident the guy was also working on a rotating fork for eating spaghetti and a suit made from bubble-wrap to protect people who fall over a lot.
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  #14  
Old 04-14-2009, 08:48 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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I buy a pound or so of peanuts in the shell from the bulk foods section a week. The squirrels will jump and hit the window to attract my attention if they see me inside. And we find little caches of peanuts in the yard in the spring where they hid them in the fall. The worst problem I have with squirrels is they hog all the peanuts and the peanut eating birds, like bluejays, don't get their share until the squirrels go away.
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  #15  
Old 04-14-2009, 09:13 PM
longhair75 longhair75 is offline
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I buy bags of field corn on the cob at the store for a couple of dollars. I break the cobs into three pieces and tos sthem to the squirrels. One of them will come up and take his corn from my hand
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  #16  
Old 04-15-2009, 12:35 AM
Wile E Wile E is offline
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Squirrels are really quite well endowed with their own nuts and don't need any extra.
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