or maybe feed the squirrels something else away from the tree, like sunflower seeds?
Does this happen every year or is this year maybe harder on the squirrels than usual? If it's a yearly thing then maybe you should plant something that they will prefer to eat instead of the peaches.
Edited to add: If your trees are well away from any building, fence, tree, or other climbable you can wrap the trunk in sheet metal for 2 feet or so starting 2 feet off the ground. That will help stop them from climbing, until a branch breaks, or one dips low enough for a squirrel to jump to it, fruit is heavy.
The best way to protect your crop against squirrels is no doubt planting the trees about 100 meters or further away from any other trees or shrubs. Squirrels do not like to cross open ground. But if this is not possible things get more difficult...
One solution (so I've read) is to fan train your fruit/ nut tree against a wall and then net them with galvanized wire. But if you want to grow a "normal" shape tree or already have a big tree this of course is not an option.
I've been thinking of all kinds of "mad scientist" solutions. What if I built a stand around the tree and then put dense electric fencing on top of it so that the fencing surrounds the entire top of the tree... This would look awful but would it work...?
If you don't want to eat them or feed them to anything else, just remove the pellet and bury them in a spot where you will plant a new tree or bush.
Squirrels are the most "dynamic" accumulators of nutrients around
Other things that come to mind are 1)videos of squirrels drunk on fermenting fruit ...could one purposely cause some sort of disorientation? and on a lighter note: 2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5-d3rZZ-_M
Has anyone looked at/had success with attracting squirrel predators such as Red Tail Hawk, Kestrels, or other wild animals to a suburban setting to keep the squirrels in check? I read Barn Owls don't work since they are nocturnal and squirrels are day time critters.
A website suggests a 20'+ pole with a next box on top and a perch below to attract them. I wonder how successful that would be in luring them in and how to keep them from going after my 3 chickens during their evening garden stroll (they are protected by the portable run during the day).
A little info I've found:
Emerson White wrote:It's hard to net out squirrels (you need weldwire or at the very least hardware cloth) and you cannot satisfy them with a decoy because one squirrel can actually hide away more food than a man needs for a year. Trapping is really the answer, that or clearing all trees around an area and building a vermin proof fence.
If that option doesn't work perhaps you could allow someone to shoot them who is willing to eat them? Or find someone who will take the ones you shoot?
With that said, each state has their own hunting and trapping seasons you'll want to look into before going one of those routes. Most states do allow nuisance animals to be taken out of season. Those are typically a completely different set of rules than those for hunting or trapping.
The permaculture thing to do is to eat squirrel, thereby harvesting your effort.
Or you can sneak up on the little boogers and then jump at them, yelling loudly. Scare the stuffing out of them.
Pfft! I did that earlier this week. You should have seen the expression on his little face! He almost fell over the other side of the 6ft fence he scrambled up, and was 3/4ths the way up a telephone pole before it occurred to him to scold. Wasn't a very long-lived scold. I normally won't do that, but I figured it was payback for eating my strawberries and forcing me to put netting over them to keep him out.
Of course, I don't have a real squirrel problem. The cats keep them to a reasonable population (one year the kitten amused himself by bringing home squirrel tails, yes, just the tails, all summer), and usually all they do is pull stuff out of the ground to look at it and then toss it aside or put it back in upside down (like my onion sets). Once they learn that something is supposed to be there, they usually leave it alone.
I'm also going to try some New Brunswick stew. Might as well. Hence, steel shot and traps will be part of the integrated strategy.
Fortunately they're a good source of lean meat that can be used in much the same way as rabbit, and are especially good in a raised game pie, similar to a pork pie. Delia has a good recipe here - it looks far more complicated than it actually is. I recommend using a springform tin rather than a loose-based one. If you only have a loose-based tin, put a roasting tin on the shelf below to catch the fat that will drain out.
If there are enough squirrels it may be worth learning how to tan the skins. Over 250 million years of evolution have ensured that fur is one of the best insulators available, and it would be foolish to waste a valuable resource like that. The method traditionally used by native Americans doesn't use any strong, polluting chemicals - just the brains of the animal to soften the skin, and woodsmoke to cure and preserve it.
David Miller wrote:How do you keep ecoli and what not from passing to your chickens from the maggots?
I make sure the maggots wash their hands before they eat. LOL Just kidding
I just figure that chickens eat anything they can find out there in the pasture, so there really isn't any way to prevent illness in a free range bird unless you're loading them with antibiotics ( I don't) no matter what they are eating. They eat bugs and poop and all kinds of nasty stuff daily so simply encouraging the flies and maggots to congregate in one area really won't make a difference I guess. I always make sure that what goes in the bucket is "fresh" so the flies get to it quick before it sours. Maggots make quick work of flesh. Usually a small rat is gone in just 3 days or so. Seems nowadays they have a higher chance of getting sick from store bought veggies than from country born flies and maggots.
Paul's video about the Maggot Bucket