What to Put in a Squirrel Feeder? Open Platforms vs. Roof Style

If you’re running out of ideas of what to put in a squirrel feeder the list below will help. Many people just stick to bulk peanuts, but squirrels have nutritional needs that cannot be met on a diet of peanuts. Fortunately, it’s easy for us to help them out and supply much needed, vitamins, minerals and better forms of hydration.

The difference will come down to the type of squirrel feeder you’re working with.

What to Put in a Squirrel Feeder Based on Rain Exposure

Of course we care about the squirrel’s taste buds, but we also take into account spoilage and ease of cleaning. Whether your squirrel feeder has a protective roof or wide open platform will determine whether or not the foods are suitable.

Dry Weather Squirrel Feeder Food Ideas:

covered squirrel feeders

Squirrel feeders equipped with a roof present a distinct advantage in keeping food dry and protected from precipitation. A covered feeding station allows for a wider range of food options than just peanuts.


Nuts provide squirrels with essential fats and proteins. Squirrels respond best when offered a variety such as mixed nuts (unsalted), almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc. These are the best nuts can be placed in squirrel feeders that have roofs or covers.


Seeds are another nutritious option for squirrels and are readily accepted by them. Provide sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Squirrels also enjoy flaxseeds, millet, and soybeans. These can be offered in feeders designed to protect them from moisture.

  1. Mixed nuts (unsalted)
  2. Sunflower seeds (in moderation)
  3. Safflower seeds
  4. Pumpkin seeds
  5. Dried corn kernels
  6. Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots)
  7. Almonds
  8. Pecans
  9. Walnuts
  10. Hazelnuts
  11. Dried mealworms
  12. Soybeans (in moderation)
  13. Chickpeas
  14. Sesame seeds
  15. Flaxseeds
  16. Millet
  17. Oats
  18. Wild bird seed mix (without fillers like milo or wheat)

Rain-Exposed Squirrel Feeder Food Ideas:

platform style squirrel feeders

Open style squirrel feeders are great for watching, but are extremely susceptible to rain and moisture. Even worse if they don’t have drain holes.

Fruits and Vegetables:

Fresh fruits and vegetables can be a refreshing treat for squirrels. Offer apples, bananas, grapes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and celery. Leafy greens like lettuce, kale, and spinach are also appreciated. Ensure these foods are replaced regularly to prevent spoilage.

Grains and Legumes:

Grains and legumes are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber for squirrels. Corn, oats, beans and the like are great sources of energy.

Protein Sources:

Squirrels require protein for energy and muscle development. Offer dried mealworms, suets and mushrooms are welcome sources.


Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro can add variety to a squirrel’s diet.

  1. Fresh fruits (apples, avocado, bananas, grapes)
  2. Fresh vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower)
  3. Corn on the cob (can be secured in feeders with covers)
  4. Suet cakes (with high melting points to withstand rain)
  5. Fresh nuts in shells (acorns, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Fresh leafy greens (lettuce, kale, spinach)
  7. Birdseed mix fortified with vitamins and minerals
  8. Dried fruits (be mindful they don’t become waterlogged)
  9. Birdseed blocks or cakes
  10. Fresh mushrooms
  11. Hard cheese (sparingly due to potential spoilage)
  12. Cooked pasta or rice (plain, without seasoning as a rare treat)
  13. Cucumber slices
  14. Melon rinds (make sure they’re clean and free of pesticides)
  15. Apple slices (place in feeders with drainage to prevent water pooling)
  16. Green beans
  17. Zucchini slices
  18. Fresh herbs (parsley, basil, cilantro)
  19. Bird-friendly suet dough (formulated to resist rain)
  20. Commercially-prepared squirrel feed mixes designed for wet conditions

Feeding squirrels is a great activity and should be done with care. Remember to keep the feeding station clean and free of molds and unfriendly insects. Check feeders daily and don’t take chances with food that looks spoiled.

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