Feeding Squirrels in your Backyard During Winter

Feeding Squirrels in your Backyard During Winter

During the frosty months of winter, many wildlife enthusiasts find joy in feeding the squirrels in their backyard. This simple act of kindness not only brings a sense of appreciation for nature but also plays a vital role in helping squirrels survive the harsh elements. This article is designed to guide you through the best practices of feeding squirrels during winter, understanding their dietary needs, and even tips for creating a squirrel friendly garden so that the squirrels would love to gnaw and play all day long.

Why Should We Feed Squirrels During Winter?

While you may love watching the furry acrobatics of squirrels, feeding the squirrels goes beyond mere entertainment. For wild squirrels, winter means a natural food shortage and they must struggle to make it through the winter period.

The Natural Food Shortage for Wild Squirrels in Winter

Squirrels are already adept at storing food for winter, hiding away acorn, pecan, and other types of nuts in the ground. However, in the middle of winter, their hidden stash can run out or become inaccessible due to heavy snowfall. This is the time when your feed becomes lifesaving to wild squirrels.

Helping Our Furry Backyard Critters Thrive in Cold Weather

By providing squirrel feed, you help these wild animals not only to survive winter, but also to stay healthy and active during a time when natural food sources are scarce. Feeding the squirrels in your backyard serves as a nutritional backup when they need it the most. Additionally, it might save them some energy that they would otherwise spend searching for food.

Enriching Your Backyard Ecosystem

Feeding squirrels also adds to the overall health and diversity of your backyard ecosystem. Squirrels are active critters that scatter and bury seeds, contributing to your garden’s strength, beauty, and diversity over time.

What Type of Food Should You Give Squirrels During Winter?

When it comes to the type of food to give squirrels, to keep squirrels healthy, a mix of natural foods like sunflower seeds, peanuts, and walnut is preferred.

Understanding the Squirrels’ Favorite Food

Squirrels love a wide variety of nuts including acorns, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. They also appreciate corn, sunflower seeds, and the occasional fruit. Remember, whatever you feed squirrels, make sure it’s not salted or sugar coated.

Best Squirrel Food to Buy: Squirrels Love Nuts

Peanuts and sunflower seeds are usually the best thing to feed squirrels, although a wide variety of other seeds and nuts will also do. Adding a dedicated squirrel feeder to your backyard filled with these foods can keep the squirrels contented all winter long.

Why Natural Food is Preferred

Naturally occurring foods like nuts contain the essential nutrients that squirrels need to keep their energy level high and to maintain their body health for the cold months. The squirrel food you provide should complement their natural diet, and not replace it. Therefore, avoid food items which are high in fat, sugar, or artificial content to keep squirrels healthy.

Feeding Tips to Keep Squirrels Healthy and Safe

Feeding squirrels can be a rewarding experience. However, certain factors must be considered to keep these backyard squirrels safe and well-fed during winter, such as the presence of fungus or attracting unwanted pests.

Keeping the Squirrel Feed Clean from Fungus

Squirrels are not immune to diseases or health problems that can be caused by fungus on their feed. Ensure to give squirrels fungus-free food by keeping the feed dry and changing it regularly.

Factors to Consider when You Feed Squirrels in Your Backyard

One factor to note when feeding squirrels is the prevention of rats and other unwanted guests in your garden. Another is ensuring that your feeding practices do not attract too many squirrels, which could result in territorial disputes among them.

Avoiding Foods that Attract Rats

While feeding squirrels during winter, do ensure that your practice does not inadvertently attract rats and other pests. You can do this by being careful with the type of food you provide and the way you store the food.

Installing a Squirrel Feeder: What You Need to Know

A dedicated squirrel feeder is a great way to ensure a supply of food for the squirrels during winter. Not only does it provide a safe and easily accessible place for the squirrels to eat, it also prevents them from vandalizing other bird feeders in your garden.

Choosing the Best Squirrel Feeder

The best squirrel feeder ensures that the bird food is safe from squirrels, while the squirrel food is easily accessible to them. Choose a design that is sturdy, easy to clean, and has a large enough tray to place food.

Why a Bird Feeder Might Not Be Squirrel Friendly

While birds and squirrels may seem to coexist harmoniously, a bird feeder might not be the friendly place for squirrels. Squirrels are often heavier and more acrobatic, and can potentially damage bird feeders while trying to access the food inside. Consider getting a separate squirrel friendly feeder to prevent such inconveniences.

Proper Placement of the Squirrel Feeder

The placement of the squirrel feeder in your garden so that the squirrels can use it comfortably is important. It should be placed high enough that predators cannot reach it, but still accessible for squirrels.

Outfitting Your Backyard for Winter: Ideas to Keep Squirrels Happy and Busy

Once you’ve got the feeding down, there are other ways to help the squirrels in your backyard thrive during winter. Here are few ideas to attract and keep squirrels entertained through the cold days.

Tips to Create a Squirrel Friendly Backyard

You can keep squirrels busy by outfitting your backyard with squirrel-friendly features. This could include squirrel nesting boxes, water sources, and plenty of trees and shrubs for cover and means of escape from predators.

Best Practices to Attract and Keep Squirrels

Having a consistent supply of food and water, providing lots of cover, and keeping predators away are all essential to making your backyard a haven for squirrels during winter. A bird and squirrel-friendly garden will mean you get to enjoy watching these critters all year round.

Engaging Activities for Squirrels During Winter

Installing platforms or hanging swings from trees can provide an entertaining workout for the squirrels. You could also create a squirrel maze with rewards of food at the end. As squirrels are active climbers and jumpers, any addition to your backyard that permits these activities will keep them engaged.


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