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How to keep deer away from bird feeders?

Posted by brendainnj (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 1, 10 at 15:57

I have lived in the country before, and never encountered this problem. I have to bring my bird feeders in every night or the deer will clean them out. Would a cage around the feeder help? It's a hanging feeder w/small openings--either they're using their tongues, or just knocking the feeder around so the food falls out. My yard is fenced; I thought the smell of my dog would keep them out too, but no.

Thanks for any advice!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to keep deer away from bird feeders?

What seed(s) are you feeding? A change of the type of seed you're using may deter them.

We have 4 feeders that stay filled with corn, millet & sunflower and the 3 deer that practically live in my yard never bother them. They're too busy munching on the English Laurel!

Are you postive it's the deer? What about rats and/or raccoons?

RE: How to keep deer away from bird feeders?

Feed the deer. My bird feeders are hung outside my windows so I can see the birds, which are about 10 feet off the ground. I buy about 300 pounds of corn every 2 weeks to feed the deer and turkeys. A flock of 15 to 30 turkeys come every day and a buck and 6 or 7 does every day. It is so beautiful to see them up close. With 3 foot of snow in the yard I could not stand to see these beautiful beasts go hungry.

RE: How to keep deer away from bird feeders?

I have a neighbour who used to say that the deer were so beautiful they could eat what ever they wanted. Even put out food for them. Fast forward to spring and some of his cedars and fruit trees were totally ruined. Asked him what happened ( I knew ) and those deer were not so Beautiful anymore. In fact one of the last things I heard was something along the line of deer steak etc. No more feeding those lovely critters in his yard.

RE: How to keep deer away from bird feeders?


The deer eat me out of house and home during this time of year. Why wouldn't they? The snow is several feet deep with a hard icy crust on top, and it's still well below freezing all the time. They have already eaten all the berries they can reach from the crabapples, they've already cleaned all the sunflower heads from the fields. Here is food, easy to get to (as long as the dogs are in the house), and tasty.

We put out sunflower seeds and corn for the deer, the resident herd (about a dozen deer) can eat it in ten minutes. We feed the birds, the birds and deer empty 10 feeders in two days.

To me, it's part of life in the country. I love watching both birds and deer and I take a deep breath and go buy more food. The newspaper recently had an article that February and March are the most critical times for the deer - they are running out of accessible food. If eating my bird food helps even a few of them get through the winter, good for them!

There are those who say we should not feed the deer - it spreads disease, and there are too many deer anyway. The disease issue seems to be significant only where large numbers are feeding in a very small area. As for numbers, the hunters do their best to take care of that problem in the fall.

As for eating my garden plants in summer - for the most part they stay out of the yard in summer - there's food in the fields and there's dogs in the yard. But, they do eat some of my flowering plants. Again, that's life in the country. I learn what they like less and plant more of that. Or I spray my roses with a repellent.

So, another vote for feed the deer. And enjoy them. Look at this lady's beautiful eyes, how could you resist?

RE: How to keep deer away from bird feeders?

I did not have a deer problem, but I found a way to defeat the squirrels by having the bird feeders hanging high on tree limbs. It works well it you have trees near the house. Here is how I did it: I bought a very long length of the plastic-covered cable they sell in hardware stores by the foot. I put a carabiner clip on a loop on one end. The other end was tied to a small sandbag. Using the sandbag, I flung the cable over the highest tree limb I could toss it over. I then untied the sandbag and attached the birdfeeder to the carabiner clip. I pulled on the loose cable end and walked it to the porch where I had a plant hanger on the wall. I tied a loop in the cable end and looped it onto a curly-cue on the plant hanger. When I wanted to fill the birdfeeder, I just lowered it using the cable. It was important to attach the loop end of the cable to something, or I might end up having to fling the cable over the tree limb again. The birdfeeder was too tall for squirrels or deer to reach. A squirrel baffle kept the squirrels from coming down from the limb. Keeping the feeder 12 ft from the tree trunk ensured they could not jump to get to it.

RE: How to keep deer away from bird feeders?

Two things...

First, set feeder higher than 5 feet from the ground.
Second, because deer lick, don't use tray style feeders.

RE: How to keep deer away from bird feeders?

I have three bird feeders in my back yard; one tube-style feeder, and two "regular" bird feeders. The deer used to prefer the tube feeder, but once I put that out of reach, it started knocking the other two feeders down. I never caught it in the act, but it must have been rearing up on its hind legs and using its nose to knock them down. I had these feeders HIGH--over six feet off the ground.

This was extremely annoying, in no small part because of how incredibly expensive quality bird seed is (I use the Scotts brand seed with fruit and nuts. My guess is the deer has eaten and spilled at least $20 worth of seed.)

Today I went to Lowe's and bought a rope, a pulley, a stake to put in the ground (the kind you normally use to restrain a dog), and some items designed to form loops with the rope without compromising its strength. I secured the pulley to a branch around ten feet off the ground using a simple "S" hook. I put a hook on one end of the rope and hung the bird feeder off of it, with the rope going through the pulley of course. At the appropriate point in the rope, I put another loop, so I can attach it to the stake in the ground. I didn't put that loop at the end of the rope because when the bird feeder is lowered, I need extra rope beyond that loop so I can reach it to raise the bird feeder again.

I expect this to work unless the bloody deer is smart enough to chew through the rope...

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