Do-It-Yourself Shepherd's Hook & Squirrel Baffle
Adding a bird feeder to an open area without trees requires the use of a shepherd's hook. These hooks are designed to hold bird feeders and are stylish ornaments that add beauty to your backyard. Squirrels can be a problem, eating all the food meant for the birds. Adding a baffle, which restricts the squirrel's access to the feeder, allows for hours of peaceful bird watching. Making a shepherd's hook and squirrel baffle requires materials found at a local hardware store and can be completed in an afternoon.
Determine the height of the shepherd's hook needed for your garden. If your plan is to hang a bird feeder from the hook, figure on the height of the hook to be between 5 and 6 feet. Purchase a copper tube that is at least 2 1/2 to 3 feet longer than the desired height to accommodate the bending of the tubing and inserting the tubing into the ground.
Mark on the pole where the bends should go. For example, for the larger bend extending downward from the straight section of the pole, mark where the beginning, middle and end of the bend should be. Allow for 8 to 12 inches of pole for the smaller bend near the tip of the pole that will extend upward.
Heat the copper tubing with a torch, evenly over the entire area to be bent. This will alter the molecular structure of the copper, making it easier for you to bend it without flattening or kinking.
Fill the copper tubing with sand when the copper is cooled down enough to handle. The sand will provide additional support to the copper walls during the bending process.
Place the copper tubing into the metal bender and bend the copper to the desired curve. All metal benders are different; either use a lever to bend the copper or pull on the end of the tubing to make the curve. Bend the copper tubing slowly to avoid kinks.
Remove the sand from the tubing, and then repeat steps 3 through 5 to bend the smaller, upward-facing hook.
Cut a length of 5-inch-diameter PVC pipe that is 4 feet long. Squirrels are able to jump up to 4 feet into the air and can easily climb metal or wood. They cannot climb the slick surface of PVC pipe. The pipe is the baffle which will keep away the squirrels.
Slide the end of the shepherd's hook through the length of the PVC pipe.
Dig a in the ground with a shovel to insert the end of the shepherd's hook and PVC pipe.
Install the shepherd's hook into the hole. Push the piping between 8 to 12 inches into the ground.
Fill around the bottom of the shepherd's hook and PVC pipe with dirt. Pound the soil down around the bottom to secure the hook and pipe into position.
Fill the PVC pipe with sand to stabilize the shepherd's hook in place inside the pipe.