Date: 2/5/18 5:27 am From: Gmail <butchchq8...> Subject: Re: Hot Pepper on Bird Food
It is unlikely that your observation was due to the hot pepper oil. Birds vary considerably over time at our feeders, so unless you provided an experimental control with replicated trials, what you saw was more likely due to small sample size (one day of observation) rather than due to a real effect.
Birds are the primary seed dispersers of hot pepper seeds in the tropics, meaning they eat the seeds readily. In fact, perusing the literature on the subject one can find several articles where hot pepper introduced to the diets of chickens actually assisted weight gain in young chicks, so it seems there may be beneficial aspects to ingesting it.
Now that does not mean that more is better when mixed into bird seed, but it is unlikely to be harmful in moderation given that for some species it is part of their usual diet.
What I would recommend is following the instructions on the label and then adding less and less to future seed batches until you find the point where your squirrels are dining again on your seed. At this point increase the dosage again to deter them. This will be the minimum dosage that works for your yard. By doing this, you will save yourself some worry (if you still have any) and you will also save yourself some money, too.
> On Feb 4, 2018, at 22:00, Carolyn Minson <csminson...> wrote:
> Do any of you know about research as to whether hot pepper, either dry or oil, used on bird food to keep squirrels away is harmful to birds? When I tried the oil today on sunflower hearts, it definitely kept the squirrels from eating it, but the birds did not seem to eat as much as usual.
> Carolyn Minson
> Hot Springs Village