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How to Make a Squirrel and Raccoon Bird Feeder Baffle

By: Julie Day

Even if you love animals, it’s frustrating when greedy squirrels and raccoons empty bird feeders in a few short hours. The common bowl-shaped baffles are pretty good at keeping squirrels out, but raccoons have no trouble climbing right over them.

If squirrels or raccoons are eating you out of house and home, here’s a simple solution. This DIY raccoon and squirrel baffle is easy to make, inexpensive, and is sure to befuddle even the craftiest of critters.

What You’ll Need

I love this project, because not only does it solve a really big problem, but you can buy the parts for around $10 at any home improvement center. Talk about cost effective! I lose that much in bird seed in a weekend. To make this baffle, you will need:

Materials Needed

    Stovepipe, end cap, and clamp.

  • Stovepipe: One section of 6” diameter by 24” long stovepipe. Stovepipe comes in black, but you can also buy galvanized duct pipe and paint it yourself.
  • Stovepipe End Cap: One 6” diameter end cap that fits on stovepipe.
  • Sheet Metal Screws: 3 to 4 sheet metal screws, 1/2″ long or shorter.
  • Hose Clamp: One hose clamp, small enough to fit snugly around your bird feeder pole.

Tools Needed

  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Vise, clamp, or pliers
  • Large Drill Bit or Hole Saw: A metal cutting drill bit or hole saw the diameter (or slightly larger) of the feeder pole.
  • Small Drill Bit: A metal cutting drill bit slightly smaller than the sheet metal screws to drill pilot holes.

How To Build The Baffle

Making the baffle is pretty straightforward, with drilling or cutting a smooth hole in the end cap being the only operation that takes a bit of care to get right.

  Baffle with hole cut in cap.

Step 1: Drill Hole

Clamp the end cap firmly in a vise, or hold it with pliers. Don’t hold it with your hands as the drill bit can easily slip and cut you. Using the drill bit or hole saw, carefully drill a hole in the center of the end cap (see How to Find the Center of a Circle). If your pole is square, you may want to opt for drilling a small pilot hole, then using a saber saw or metal shears to cut the required shape.

Step 2: Fit End Cap

Hook the stovepipe together, and fit it snugly inside the end cap.

Step 3: Drill Pilot Holes

Lay the baffle carefully on its side, and drill pilot holes through the sides of the end cap, making sure the holes goes through both end cap and stovepipe.

    Hose Clamp on feeder pole.

Step 4: Attach Screws

Tighten the sheet metal screws to hold the end cap and stovepipe together.

Step 5: Slip Baffle Over Pole

With the baffle pointed down like a bell, slip the feeder pole through the hole in the center. The top of the baffle should be about 4’ to 5’ off the ground. Mark the pole at the top of the baffle, and raise the baffle out of the way.

Step 6: Attach Hose Clamp

Using the screwdriver, attach the hose clamp to the feeder pole at your mark.

Step 7: Install Baffle

Slip the baffle back down so that it rests on the hose clamp, and you’re done!

Finished squirrel and raccoon baffle installed on bird feeder pole.

Enjoy Feeding the Birds!

This baffle really works – the feeders featured in the photos have been consistently raid-free since installing it. The first days provided some enjoyment as squirrels and raccoons made determined attempts to get climb over the baffle. The squirrels repeatedly crawled up inside it and got stuck, and the raccoons simply couldn’t reach around it.

By the end of the first week, the baffle had some scratches, where it appears that a squirrel tried a mad leap and ended up sliding down the outside of the baffle. I wish I had seen that – who said foiling the critters can’t be fun?

Further Information

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Please Leave a Comment

8 Comments on “How to Make a Squirrel and Raccoon Bird Feeder Baffle”

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  1. henry lapidus Says:
    February 17th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    i was ready to give up on bird feeders and bird houses until I came across these instructions. I can’t do anything but I could easily follow these direction. I bought the needed materials at a Lowes and I din’t spend opver $10.00.
    A ready made one is about $4o.oo and mine looks and works just as well.

    thank you very much.

  2. Chris Innis Says:
    February 9th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    This looks great. I plan to get the material and build this over the weekend. My bird feeder pole is 2″ in diameter and none of the ready mades will fit it, this one looks better than any of them and certainly cheaper. Thanks!

  3. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 10th, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Hi Chris,
    I added a link at the bottom of the article above under “Further Information” to Julie’s video on how to make the baffle, which might help. I made one of Julie’s stove pipe bird feeder baffles for the bird feeder in my yard after raccoons had gone around the dinner plate sized metal guard and ripped the feeder off the pole, and it worked great. I’ve had it up over a year now, and while I’ve seen a few muddy paw prints trying to climb up it near the bottom, the raccoons or squirrels haven’t been able to get to the feeder since. Good luck with your project!

  4. Michael M. Says:
    June 7th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    What a great idea! I was looking online where to purchase a baffle when I came across this article. I am going out later today to buy the materials. Thank you so much!!! I love saving money.

  5. MIke Figg Says:
    July 18th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I have a severe problem with raccoons trashing my feeder and had been researching for a solution. I came across your site and decided to give it a try. I used 8″ stovepipe and a treated 4″ x 4″ post. I cut the square out of the top with an automotive type air sabre saw and mounted it on the post using four deck screws. One screw on each flat of the post with about 1″ of the screw shank exposed. This gave the stovepipe good support and the desired wobble at the same time. Last night was the first test and there was a gang of 6-8 various size raccoons on hand at dusk determined to trash my new feeder. I held my breath this morning as I looked out to see if my new baffle passed the test. A couple muddy prints on the stovepipe but they couldn’t defeat it. This is a great idea, inexpensive to make and looks good, too. Thank you!

  6. MaJorg Says:
    August 4th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    This baffle saved my summer from “Squirrel Wars.” We now have 6 of them at various locations in our yard. They actually keep squirrels from getting to feeders. Just to think that I was about to quit. Amazing!
    Thank you!

  7. Mark Rotenberg Says:
    August 22nd, 2012 at 6:08 am

    I’ve been feeding birds for 20+ years. I never had a problem with raccoons until about 2 months ago. I looked into purchasing a $60 raccoon baffle but then I found your page. I bought a 24″ long 8″ wide section of duct and customized it to fit the 4″x4″ post by cutting triangular flaps in the end cap. I bent the flaps up and screwed them to the post. This morning I woke up and anxiously went to see the results. Voila! I found some raccoon scratches on the bottom of the post and I’m thrilled to report that there were some very disappointed raccoons last night! Thanks for posting your plans for an effective and inexpensive way to defeat the crafty raccoons!!

  8. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 22nd, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Hi Mark,
    Glad to hear Julie’s baffle worked for you! Mine’s been up for over a year now, and I’ve had no more problems from raccoons or squirrels.

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