Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

How to Make a Squirrel and Raccoon Bird Feeder Baffle

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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 needed at most any home improvement center. To make this baffle, you will need:

Materials Needed

  • 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



Please Leave a Comment

35 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.

  9. Marge White Says:
    December 10th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Where do I buy a pole for the baffle and what do I need with the pole? help!
    Thanks
    Marge

  10. CC Says:
    January 13th, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    GREAT article! I need 2 try 2 make this 4 my deck posts. However, my posts measure 5.5″, Any idea of what equipment I would need 2 make this happen based on the consideration I’m not mounting on a small pole? I am not experienced in working with metal, but I am sure I can do it if I have an idea of the right tools 2 use & right pipe 2 get with that considered. All & any info appreciated, GREATLY!

  11. Chris Innis Says:
    January 14th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I built this baffle after my post last February. It works like a charm, lots of squirrel and raccoon prints along the bottom edge, but none have succeeded in climbing it.

  12. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    January 15th, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Chris,
    Glad to hear our squirrel/raccoon baffle worked for you! Thanks for the feedback.

  13. Greg Neislar Says:
    June 9th, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Our shepherd staff feeder poles have braces at ground level which makes the raccoon baffle impossible to use without cutting the cap with tin snips; causing the cap to come apart. I was hoping this solution would have worked but unfortunately i continue to search for an answer to the hungry coons.

  14. Michal Says:
    June 15th, 2013 at 6:58 am

    For Greg.
    I had a same problem my post is not removable and it is not possible to slip anything on the pole. My solution was instead of a pipe cap cut a wooden circle made from two halves, made a clamp with brackets on it to screw it into the wooden top. Slipped the bracket which is U shaped on the post and tighten it with a bolt and a nut through the ends of the U. Put the 2 wooden halves on the top and fasten it to the bracket with short wood screws, which held the halves together. For the pipe I used a ducting pipe, which you can take apart at the seam. Slipped it around the pole, put it together again, slid it at the top over the wooden top and used wood screws put it together. So far it works. Hope this will help.

  15. Larry Says:
    June 20th, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Not sure how you managed to pick up the parts for under $10. I shopped around and checked Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply and called a couple of Wood Stove places and Tractor Supply was the cheapest for the 6″x24″ Black stove pipe. $6.99 for the pipe. Tractor supply didnt have the 6″ cap, so i drove across the street and bought one at Lowes for $9.50. Hose clamp was .50, so total cost for me was $17. Still cheaper than commercially available ones. I saw a Stokes Select Stove Pipe Baffle on Amazon for $24.52 and free shipping with Prime. But the satisfaction of making it yourself and doing it for $7.52 cheaper is worth it. The split stove pipes can be a bear to get together. I had to pry open the one side a little in order to get mine together. Watched the squirrels for the first time this morning climbing up inside it, then back down and then resorting to scavenging for dropped seed on the ground. Another victory over the rodents!

  16. Marian Scott Says:
    September 6th, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Will it work for rats?

  17. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 20th, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Marian,
    Yes, it should work for rats trying to climb up a bird feeder as well.

  18. Lisa Park Says:
    January 17th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I’m going to try this project. My problem is not squirrels or raccoons…its RATS!
    Will it work for small rodents as well??

  19. Lisa Park Says:
    January 17th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Just saw your comment to Marian about the Rats! Thanks!

  20. Dhanabal Says:
    April 20th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Excellent idea – very economical and efficient squirrel baffle. Bought 10$ black pipe from lowes and 5$ galvanised cap from home-depot and 50cents for the clamp. After 5 minutes, everything done. Squirrels tried multiple times and failed every single time. They are on the ground picking the sprinkled seeds!

  21. Therese Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Love this idea…

    Wondering if I can use this for bird houses too.
    Last night some animal totally wrecked our bird house with a nest in it… So sad. I can tell it was an animal… pole and house are full with scratches.

  22. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Therese,
    If the bird house is mounted on a pole, it should work great. Good luck!

  23. David L. Says:
    April 28th, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Between Home Depot & Lowe’s, I was able to get all the items and spent less than $20. I used a 2′ x 6″ galvanized dryer vent pipe and had to spray paint it black. The first night, I watched the racoon try and figure out how to get around the baffle, but after 5 minutes, he gave up and wandered back to the woods. I do see some muddie prints where the raccoon and some squirrels have jumped at it, but no luck for either one! Also, I bent the bottom ends inward, so the squirrels couldn’t climb up inside the baffle. I am so glad I ran across your web page. Thank you for this idea!

  24. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 28th, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    David,
    Glad to hear the baffle worked for you. I’ve had one I made on my feeder for several years now, and it’s done a great job keeping the critters away!

  25. Brad Says:
    May 3rd, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Finally thought we had the answer to stopping the squirrels but the figured out how to climb the darn pipe. May try putting a larger piece on top. oh well.

  26. Larry T. Says:
    May 25th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    I have had 3 raccoons getting on 6 of my feeders that are on poles every night for the past month or so! I tried a variety of deterrents. Some worked, but the raccoons were still on top of the feeders…trying. I put up the stove pipes on all 6 feeders yesterday…this morning, not one of them was disturbed. I was going to put up aluminum sheeting around them…but this was much easier. Although putting up 6 of them was quite a bit of money initially…it will definitely pay off over time. Thank you for this excellent idea!

  27. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    May 25th, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Hi Larry,
    Glad the baffle worked. Mine has been up for years now and not a squirrel or raccoon has gotten past it yet!

  28. Jim K Says:
    July 4th, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Bought a 6″ x 24″ galvanized pipe ($3.98) and end cap ($4.98) at HD. Also bought the clamps but didn’t use them. Drilled a hole in the end cap big enough to get the tip of my tin snips in and cut an X in it. Drilled a small hole in each flap and bent them up. Used deck screws to attach it to my wooden pole, salvaged from a storm damaged umbrella. Watched a couple of squirrels this morning get shut out of my platform feeder. Works great, less than $9 and only took a short time to assemble and install. Thank you very much.

  29. Mike Says:
    August 1st, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I have a tube feeder and larger platform feeder on a couple of 5 inch cedar poles – racoons and squirrels have been raiding them pretty hard – googled and came up with your solution which I set up. I used 6 inch 36 inch long pipes capped and screwed to the top of the posts, then put feeders right over them – works like a charm! Wish I had come up with this solution years ago – would have saved me a ton on seeds… Thanks for putting it out there.

    Mike

  30. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 1st, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Hi Mike,
    Glad to hear our squirrel baffle worked for you, thanks for the feedback!

  31. Jill McDonald Says:
    August 17th, 2014 at 10:06 am

    About 15 years ago I bought an inexpensive pole set that included a baffle like this. I love it but have never found one since that I deemed affordable. I bought a metal dome baffle which works, but it needs to remain loose at the top so it makes so much noise during a windy night. You are brilliant for coming up with this! Definitely a “why didn’t I think of this” moment for me since I have installed the same pipe to vents in my attic. I am excited to go buy the parts because I know it will work.

  32. Joanne Clark Says:
    August 19th, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I just made a bird feeder using your baffle plan to keep the squirrels out, as well as other critters. Day 3: working great so far…very happy about the results. I used a 3-foot section of ventilation pipe and cut a piece of sheet metal in a circle instead of buying a cap. All is well…had 4 black squirrels this morning doing a bit of window shopping but they were unable to buy anything.
    Thanks for the baffle plan!

  33. Richard Says:
    August 20th, 2014 at 10:12 am

    What a brilliant idea, I am going to HD today to get the pipe & cap!

  34. Mike Dameron Says:
    August 21st, 2014 at 8:55 am

    And I thought I came up with this idea back in the 80′s in Maryland. It’s the most effective baffle I ever used, plus I added a large “rat guard” too. I beg to differ about the raccoons, though. I lived in a forest in North Carolina for 14 years and nothing short of a live trap stopped raccoons from getting where ever they wanted to be. I have photos of them standing and laying on top of the feeders while my terriers yapped at them from below. However, I’ll never know how many were deterred from the feeders by the guard. It’s an excellent idea and I have one on my feeder…it now lives in central west Florida…and so do I.

  35. John Riehl Says:
    December 16th, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I just finished the assembly and installation of a shield. I got my stovepipe from the local True Value Hardware. The assembly was a bit of a bear because of my stovepipe being out of round when I finally got it united. I had a bit of trouble getting the cap to slide on. However it’s installed on the feeder. I found zip screws worked well. I hadn’t worked with stovepipe before and was surprised by its thickness and strength. I drilled a series of 1/4 inch holes and cut out a 1 1/4 inch hole with metal snips so as to fit over the 1 inch pipe our feeder uses. I hope our neighborhood squirrels are surprised in the morning.

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