2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2, Page #16[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Squirrels Get A Charge Out Of This Bird Feeder
His home-built feeder uses an old electric bug zapper to shock the seed-stealing squirrels.
The feeder sets on top of a 2 1/2-ft. dia. wooden disc made from 1/2-in. thick plywood. The disc mounts on a metal pole and is surrounded by a wire ring with a series of 1 1/2-ft. long metal rods hanging from it. The rods, hooked at the top, are suspended from the ring at 1 1/2-in. intervals by rubber spacers made from 1/4-in. dia. rubber tubing.
The bug light sets on the ground below the feeder and is plugged into a 110-volt outlet. The bug light is equipped with two grids, with a wire connected to each one. One wire is wrapped around the pole to complete the circuit. The other wire runs up alongside the pole and is connected to the perimeter wire, so that all the hanging rods are electrified.
"It works unbelievably well. I've made several of these bird feeders for my friends, and they all like them," says Teegarden. "The ring hangs outside the disc and also slightly below it, so there's no way a squirrel can go up the metal pipe and get around without touching one of the rods. It's amazing how fast squirrels learn to stay away. Once a squirrel gets shocked, he'll never try to climb up the pole again. If there's a new squirrel in the neighborhood he shinnies up the pole, but as soon as he touches a rod he jumps off and tears off through the yard.
"I still have a lot of squirrels eating bird feed off the ground, so I'm not starving them. I'm just keeping them out of my bird feeder."
The bug light provides about 18,000 volts. Teegarden says he found that it takes that much voltage to discourage the squirrels. "I started out using a 24-volt transformer and worked up to a 110-volt transformer, but it didn't phase the squirrels. I kept increasing the voltage until I found something that would stop them. An old electric fencer would work just as well as the bug light."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Charles D. Teegarden, 5525 82nd St., Kenosha, Wis. 53142 (ph 262 694-4240; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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