Ok. The idea of suet flavored with hot peppers has always sounded pretty nasty to me. But when squirrels start driving you crazy, your views can change. I currently have seven suet cage feeders up around my house. During the warmer months and even into the cool days of fall, the squirrels left them mostly alone, only occasionally taking a nibble. But when the temperatures dropped into the teens and twenties, the squirrels started getting more desperate and the suet feeders suddenly got attractive to them.
Keeping squirrels completely out of all the suet feeders is probably not realistic, especially because two of them are placed right against tree trunks so that larger woodpeckers can use them. Only the suet feeder that dangles from a pole feeder seems to be completely out of squirrel reach. But I’d really like to keep the squirrels out of the suet feeders that dangle from thinner branches in bushes near the house because I’m worried that the squirrels will eventually break branches on the bush.
I could of course move these feeders to thicker branches elsewhere, but the birds like the cover in this location and we like that it is near a window so that we can watch the birds that visit these feeders. So I decided to give Hot Pepper Suet a try, gradually shifting blocks of this flavor in place of the almond flavored suet I have been using for a while now. Supposedly birds have a weaker sense of taste than squirrels and don’t mind the added spicy flavor, while squirrels do.
My findings? So-so. While it may be true that squirrels prefer more usual suet flavorings, it appears that a really hungry squirrel will still eat the spicy suet. The first day I had this suet on offer, I saw a squirrel take a bite, turn up its nose and leave. But fairly soon, I saw squirrels munching on the spicy suet for long periods of time.
So this solution didn’t work for me. (See update below!) Maybe your squirrels are pickier than mine. Or maybe it varies by individual squirrel. Or maybe this works better in the warmer months when squirrels have lots of other things to eat. For myself, I won’t go out of my way to use this suet, although the birds seem perfectly fine with it, so I wouldn’t NOT use it either.
UPDATE 04/17/17: I’ve found that this actually DOES work for me most of the year. Most of the time, they won’t eat it. It seems to be only when they are REALLY hungry that they will bother it.