Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Seeds?

December 31, 2021 // 7 minute read // 15 Shares

Articles » Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Squirrels Away?

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Squirrels, although undeniably cute, can cause significant damage to your backyard. They gnaw on almost anything, and it’s double the nuisance when they visit bird feeders and eat seeds that aren’t for them. For this reason, many bird watchers are searching for ways to keep squirrels away from bird feeders. And one of the many things they ask is: does cayenne pepper keep squirrels away from bird seeds? 

Quick answer is: Yes, cayenne pepper keeps squirrels away! 

Just mix the cayenne pepper into your birdseed mix, and squirrels will surely run away the first time they taste it. Why? Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article. We’ll tackle: 

  • Why does cayenne pepper deter squirrels
  • How to make spicy birds seeds with cayenne pepper
  • What else to put in bird seeds that will keep squirrels away
  • Hot pepper as squirrel-repellent spray
  • FAQs

So, if you’re ready to know more about how you can effectively repel squirrels with cayenne pepper, read on… 

Why Cayenne Pepper Deters Squirrels

The truth is, cayenne pepper is not the main cause why squirrels run away from hot bird seeds. It’s mainly because of the compound Capsaicin found in cayenne pepper. 

Capsaicin is an ingredient that gives pepper its heat. This means that anything spicy like bell peppers, jalapeños, habaneros, cayenne pepper, and other chili peppers contain capsaicin. And the more capsaicin a pepper has, the hotter it is. 

Now, what does this have to do with deterring squirrels? 

Well, squirrels are mammals. And in the whole animal kingdom, mammals are the only ones affected by capsaicin. That means we’re the only ones that can taste spiciness in food. 

That’s why when squirrels eat bird seeds with cayenne pepper, they would immediately run away because of the spiciness. Chances are, they won’t even try to go back for another taste. 

And because mammals are the only ones affected by the compound, birds can safely eat these hot bird seeds without any problems. This is what makes this squirrel deterrent effective. 

Perky-Pet Copper Bird Feeder With Spicy Bird Seed
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How To Make Spicy Bird Seeds With Cayenne Pepper

Hot-pepper birdseed mix is available in the market. However, you can also easily make one at home. All you need are your bird seeds and your cayenne pepper powder. 

Ingredient List:Material List:

Step 1: Make your own bird seed mix any birds will love

Get a 1-pound bag of your best wild bird seed and empty it in a large bowl. This will serve as the base of your birdseed mix. So, even if you get a bag with more millet seeds and milo grains, that’s perfectly fine.

After that, pour 1 cup of black-oil sunflower seeds into your mix and 1 cup of cracked corn. These are two of the birds’ most-loved food, so it’s important that you put a combination of these into your mix. 

Mix everything, and now you have the perfect mix of bird seeds any bird will enjoy. 

Step 2: Mix in your cayenne pepper

Scoop out three tablespoons of cayenne powder and put it in your birdseed mix. Mix them all together, making sure that the cayenne pepper is distributed evenly through each birdseed. 

Step 3: Store properly

Once you’re sure that you’ve mixed everything well, store your mix in a large air-tight container. Store it in a cool, dry place, ready to be transferred to bird feeders when you already need to refill. 

And you’re done!

That’s just three steps and won’t even take you more than 10 minutes to make. 

You can also opt to buy a high-quality birdseed mix that already contains lots of the birds’ favorites. This way, you won’t have to add anything, and just proceed to mix cayenne powder to the mix. 

Making your own hot-pepper birdseed mix may take more time than just buying straight from your local store, but you get to save more. It’s perfect for those who are on a tight budget. 

What Else To Put In Bird Seeds To Keep Squirrels Away

Aside from cayenne pepper, you can use any chili powder you’ll find in your home to deter squirrels away. But then again, you need to remember that the hotter the chili, the spicier it will be for squirrels. 

You can also use chili flakes rather than chili powder if you want to. You’ll just need to use the same formula as from above. 

The only problem with chili flakes is that it’s harder to ensure that each birdseed will have a chili flake attached to them. 

In addition to spicing up bird seed, you can also install squirrel resistant bird feeders.

Click the button below to view our buyer’s guide. 

Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeders

Hot Peppers As Squirrel-Repellent Spray

Mixing hot pepper flakes or powders into birdseed is not the only effective way you can repel squirrels. You can also turn your hot pepper into tea and spray it in areas you wouldn’t want squirrels to go, like the base of your bird feeder pole or the plants surrounding your bird feeders. 

Making a hot pepper spray is easy. All you need are: 

  • 1-quart water
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 2 chopped jalapeño peppers

Mix all your ingredients together and add the mixture to a pot of boiling water. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes before removing it from heat. After that, let it cool down and strain before transferring into a spray bottle. 

And now, you have a hot pepper spray ready! 

Find an area where you find squirrels frequently, and then spray that area with the mixture. It’s highly recommended to spray areas near the bird feeders to stop squirrels on track. 

You can use this on top of the technique above to make it more effective in repelling squirrels. 

Spicy Bird Seed
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FAQs On How Cayenne Pepper Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Seeds

Can birds taste cayenne pepper? 

No, birds can’t taste cayenne pepper. It has been found that birds will happily eat very high concentrations of capsaicin, and that’s because they don’t feel any burning sensation when eating something spicy. 

Why are birds not affected by hot chili? 

Capsaicin is mainly concentrated on the surface of pepper seeds. While birds can taste its spiciness, they don’t feel the burning sensation as they don’t have pain receptors found in mammals that the compound triggers. 

So, don’t be surprised when you see birds not having any problems eating spicy food. 

Does cayenne pepper hurt squirrels? 

Cayenne pepper will burn squirrels’ mouths just as it would to humans. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about because cayenne pepper doesn’t put squirrels into any harm, other than just driving them away from eating more bird seeds.

Are there any challenges when feeding hot-pepper birdseed to birds? 

The only major problem we’ve seen when serving hot-pepper birdseed to birds is the weather. When it rains or when the wind blows hard, it can easily wash or blow off the cayenne powder mixed with bird seeds. That’s why it’s still important to place a baffle on top of your bird feeders in case these things happen. 

Final Thoughts On How Cayenne Pepper Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Seeds

There are many ways we can drive squirrels away from bird feeders. And mixing cayenne pepper to your birdseed mix is certainly one of those. 

Because mammals are the only ones affected by capsaicin, you can easily deter many other rodents besides squirrels, keeping your backyard an excellent environment for all the birds passing by. 

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