One problem that many bird lovers face is the infestation of mice, rats, or snakes on feeders. While the bird feeder itself doesn’t attract these pests, the seeds contained inside entice the animals. This will cause problems as rats and mice may spread on the neighborhood. Also, the presence of these pests will defeat the purpose of putting up bird feeders.
As the seeds fall on the ground, it will also attract other creatures to harbor within the area. This spells trouble for the owner of the bird feeder.
Rodents can ruin vegetable beds and bring in a myriad of communicable diseases. Meanwhile, snakes can be venomous, which will put you, your family, and your neighbors in danger. Mice and rats reproduce fast, which can lead to a full-blown infestation in just a few weeks. Rodents also chew through bird feeders to get their way in.
But if done right and if you chose the right bird feeder, you can prevent any pest infestation. Thousands of homeowners with bird feeders get to drive away rats, mice, and snakes, without sacrificing the birds.
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Tips to prevent rodents & snakes from eating bird food
It’s quite challenging to prevent rodents and snakes from getting into your bird feeder if it’s stuffed with food. Discovering these pests harboring on the feeder can be shocking, especially it’s also attacking birds. To prevent this, you can use the following tips:
1) Use a rodent-proof bird feeder
Rats can gnaw through plastic and wood feeders so you should consider getting a metal type. Some also have glass tubes where the seeds can be placed. Try to look for a feeder with metal access, top, and bottom so rodents can’t chew their way in.
Below, we reviewed two of the best bird feeder types that you can get to prevent rodents and snakes from invading the birds’ space.
2) Remove food bits on the ground
Along the process of feeding, birds will toss some bits of the food as they peck on the feeder. These bits can build up under the feeder, which can entice rodents around. And if it constantly gets filled up, the pests will consider this spot as a permanent source of food. It won’t take long for them to climb to the feeder to get more.
3) Clean up rodent attractants on your garden
Aside from the bird feeder, other things in your lawn might be attracting the rodents in the first place. Trim unkempt bushes and maintain a smaller stack of firewood so rats won’t have any spot to hide to. Also, keep your grass short as mice can sneak around tall grass.
Another effective option is setting up rat traps. This way rodents and even squirrels won’t dare touch your feeder.
4) Choose the right bird seed mix
Many cheap seed mixes nowadays contain tons of fillers that birds would not eat. These fillers end up on the ground, which magnetizes pests. A no-mess seed mix is made of pure digestible seeds that the birds will eat. Nothing gets wasted and rats won’t have any breadcrumbs to follow.
You can also consider Nyjer seeds as rats aren’t interested in eating this. Many birds still like Nyjer seeds, including goldfinches, quail, juncos, redpolls, and buntings.
5) Keep the feeder away from any branch or beam
If you are to hang your bird feeder, avoid placing it near branches, beams, and structures where rodents can crawl. For those mounting their feeders on poles, a great trick is rubbing any oil on the pole so rodents will slip if they try to climb.
6) Always clean your feeders
As much as wild birds won’t mind a dirty feeder, the filth is a strong attractant to snakes and rodents. Cleaning the feeder will also prevent any foul smell in your lawn and you can prevent the spread of any communicable disease that the birds might have brought in the feeder.
When cleaning the bird feeder, always wear gloves to avoid direct contact with any bacteria.
Top 2 Bird Seeds to Prevent Pests
If you’re switching to a new bag of bird seeds, we recommend these two options:
1) Wagner’s Nyjer Seed Bird Food
- The favorite seed of Finches including the desirable Goldfinch
- Contains 150,000 seeds per pound creating many visits to the feeder
Wagner’s Nyjer Seed Bird Food contains about 150,000 seeds per pound, which attracts more visits to your feeder. Also, it has less mess and wastes, unlike other birdseed mixes. This Nyjer seed is great for Goldfinches and Finches, though you may also spot other species like Songbirds and Pine Siskin.
This bag of Nyjer seeds is rich in protein and fat content that gives more energy to birds. And although you’ll spend more on this bag of seed, it lasts longer than other bags that are bigger than its size. What you’ll get is pure seeds with little to no edible components.
Moreover, this Nyjer seed from Wagner’s is available in 2 to 50-pound bags to suit the amount you need. You can also purchase the smallest bag first to see if the birds in your area will like it.
Take note that this seed is suitable for feeders with small holes. Also, you should freeze the Nyjer seeds if you’re not going to put it on the feeder as it can go stale over time.
- Less wastage
- Contains 150,000 seeds per pound
- Perfect for thistle feeders
- Should be frozen to prevent going stale
2) Lyric Sunflower Kernels
- Great all around bird food for wild birds
- Contains no shells and is 100% edible
For those who want to attract songbirds in their yards, the Lyric Sunflower Kernels are the best food. It’s appealing to finches, buntings, cardinals, towhees, chickadees, redpoll, and more. Each bag has 100% sunflower kernels so the birds can eat straight away without leaving any husk or waste.
However, this isn’t best for domesticated and caged birds. And as much as you love sunflower seeds, this bag isn’t intended for human consumption.
Wild birds get 18% protein, 25% fat, and 20% fiber on this food. It’s an energy booster that’s 100% edible. However, you have to hang your feeder at least 4 feet from the ground to prevent critters from climbing into it.
This seed can be used on a weight-sensitive and standard feeder. However, since sunflower kernels are larger, it’s not suitable for thistle type feeders.
- No husks or fillers
- Attracts a wide range of wild birds
- High-energy bird food
- Can attract meal moths
3 Best Bird Feeders that Prevent Pests
Are you looking for rodent and snake-proof bird feeder? Below, we reviewed three of the best options that you can consider:
1) Myard Weight-Sensitive Bird Feeder
- ▼ Durable powder coated steel body and acrylic construction.
- ▼ Squirrel's weight on perch closes access to seed. ▼ Assembly required, four sets of screws + nuts, and one cross bar. Easy to install.
This weight-sensitive feeder is a great choice for lawns with a notorious case of rodents and snakes. It has a mechanism that closes the opening when a heavier animal climbs on it. The best thing here is that the weight is adjustable and can be suited to various pests.
Assembly is required for this bird feeder, though it shouldn’t take rocket science to put up. It’s complete with nuts, screws, crossbar, and a metal hanger. You can also extend the length of the perch to accommodate bigger birds.
This bird feeder can hold up to 6 pounds of mixed seeds at a time. So if you expect lots of birds on your lawn, this is the right feeder to get.
Moreover, this feeder holds well under the rain, though you may want to take it off if heavy rains and winds are expected. It can be difficult to clean if the seeds get wet.
- Weight-sensitive mechanism
- Adjustable weight and perch length
- Double-sided design
- Requires assembly
2) Perky-Pet Finch Thistle Bird Feeder
- Powder-coated all-metal construction resist squirrels and damage
- Easy twist-off top for convenient, mess-free filling
If the rodents in your area are pesky chewers, you can get this Perky-Pet Thistle Bird Feeder. It works well for finches and there’s no way rats and snakes can steal the food.
This feeder has a metal top and base as well as a heavy-duty wire mesh body. It allows for birds to cling, perch, and feed easily. Also, the bottom tray catches food bits so it won’t fall on the ground and attract rodents. Also, overhang serves as a shelter for birds when it rains.
This feeder can hold up to 0.7 lb. of thistle seed at a time. And since the entire body of the feeder has openings, birds can flock and feed without fighting for the seeds.
Aside from Nyjer seeds, this bird feeder can also hold mixed Finch seeds as well as small sunflower kernels. Just note that this doesn’t come with the hardware for mounting on a pole, but it has a metal hanger at the top.
Lastly, this feeder is very easy to clean since you can remove the base and metal wire tube. So even if it got caught in the rain, a little rinsing will go a long way.
- 100% metal construction
- Easy to clean
- Larger feeding area
- Not made for pole mounting
3) Brome Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder with Cardinal Ring
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If you’re luring cardinals in your lawn, the Brome Bird Feeder is a must-try. This chew-proof feeder is made of RoxResin, which is guaranteed to last long. It’s rodent, critter, and snake-proof for your peace of mind.
This is also a weight-sensitive bird feeder that whenever a heavier animal steps on the ring, the shroud will close. Such a feature denies access to common pests that will try to steal the bird food. It also comes with an adjustable and patented spring inside so you can control what size of bird you want to feed.
What’s really amazing about the Brome Bird Feeder is it can be hung or mounted on a pole. And if a large number of birds flocks in your area, this feeder can hold up to 5.2 lbs. of bird seeds. You no longer have to refill many times!
Overall, this feeder can be used without additional tools or complicated assembly. You can also remove the ring as you wish.
- Adjustable weight-sensitive feature
- Can hold a large amount of seeds
- Can be hung or mounted on a pole
- Very heavy when filled, making it difficult to hang
Bird feeders are a great way to attract rare species to your lawn or garden. However, the problem arises when rodents and snakes try to steal the bird food. It can be a daunting task for homeowners to drive the pest away, but there’s always a simple workaround in these situations.
You should use the right bird feeder to discourage rodents from climbing and invading it. Choosing the right birdseed mix is also a big deal as some seeds are unappealing to rats. Paired with other tips we discussed here, you can maintain a bird feeder without worrying about sneaky critters.
Frequently Asked Questions