Stumbled upon a very interesting & lucky find re: Wildlife Feeders


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 4, 2009, 12:46 PM
This may help some of you who want to create a "demand feeder".

OK, this just dawned on me that it might work, and low and behold it works like a charm now that I've tried it (so far).

See this doohickey:

It's made to throw tennis balls to play with your dog.

Well, I put up a new feeder but really didn't want to use the timer that came with it, but instead create a demand feeder so deer could learn to release feed, but not feed every other critter in the forest, and mess with batteries and programming it, etc.

So it occurred to me that the round portion of this thing is just a smidge smaller than the funnel opening, and sure enough, dropped it in, and works even better than I imagined - the "opening" in the top for the tennis ball acts as a "transfer dispenser" when the stick is moved back and forth, for lack of a better phrase; it releases the feed stored in the "cup" when pushed backward, and the top seals it off to keep it from just freeflowing, then the botom seals it off when pushed back forward. Very cool.

By the way, your funnel portion of your feeder MUST be made from metal, not plastic to do this because without a timer and critter guard, the critters will chew the funnel away until it free flows, with a demand stick, if made from plastic.

This one I describe will work as long as it's high enough to keep the critters from jumping up and triggering it. Luckily, it's pretty short, so depending upon your feeder, it shouldn't be too hard to get it high enough. You can also cut it if necessary. Also, it's made from hard plastic, so it's not "tacky" enough for critters to hang on it very easily.

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October 5, 2009, 07:36 PM
Much easier:

Jimmy K

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 6, 2009, 09:46 AM
Much easier

Well, sortof, if a 40 lb pipsqueak feeder is big enough for you (i.e. if you have time to go back & fill it every week or two).

But I'm speaking to a CONVERSION for folks who have a timer feeder but are sick of messing with batteries, programming, feeding everything in the woods, and/or critters chewing the wires from the solar panels, etc. This will take a LARGE timer feeder and if the funnel size is right (and made of metal), convert it to a demand feeder. But sure, obviously if buying new, if you can find a large one like that, that'd be the way to go.

Art Eatman
October 6, 2009, 11:55 AM
Drifting: "...critters chewing the wires from the solar panels..."

There is a reason for the chewing: The insulation is vegetable-based plastic, not petroleum-based. Tellling which is which is a sometimes thing; the veggie-based stuff is a tad softer, generally.

A buddy was a service manager at a Ford dealership. A farmer had bought a new pickup, and kept it parked in his barn. It began to run rough, and he finally limped in to the dealer's shop. When they popped the hood to look, "It looked like an explosion in a spaghetti factory." Ford's wiring harnesses came from Brazil, with the insulation being veggie-based.

I learned to wrap the wires with window screen, and use 1" mesh chicken wire around the bottom of the control box. (Danged rock squirrels!)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 6, 2009, 02:35 PM
Interesting, Art - I did not know that; thanks! :)

Another point that I sortof implied but didn't make explicitly: There's a lot more choices in timer feeders than off-the-shelf demand feeders, with many varying features. So this is a way to get a demand feeder with the features you want, if the features you want are only found in feeders that come with timers, or come with no timer unit, but with a mount for a timer unit.

For example, in this case of mine, this is a pretty good large feeder with a ladder and platform to stand on while you fill the feeder. I have to have either a platform like this or a suspended cable/crank feeder system; otherwise I'd risk breaking my neck trying to stand on a chair or something trying to fill it. I quit using feeders several years back but decided to try one again this year. I don't view them as necessary in the least for hunting and never hunt right on them; but I put some protein pellets in this one, with the idea that next spring, this will help build healthy racks for next year; get them used to going to it now....

October 6, 2009, 02:58 PM
It will also prevent the unwanted encounter with the hornets that decided the timer box would make a nice home.

October 6, 2009, 03:18 PM
I'm curious to see how the plastic stick stands up to time and squirrels

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 7, 2009, 10:22 AM
This is a good point. I'm wondering that too. We shall see. It's hard plastic, but it sure aint invincible. Sure wish I could find something like this in aluminum or steel!

In fact, what I said above makes no sense if you think about it, on second thought. If critters cannot get UP TO the funnel to chew on it, then they can't chew on it, and if they can't hit your stick, then they cannot get even further up to the funnel. But critters always seem to find a way, so my guess is that the following are true:

1. They WILL find a way to hit the stick and probably even hang on it anyway, so you're gonna have SOME loss of feed to critters, inevitably, and
2. My advice about a metal funnel is sound, as they will also find a way to get up there and TRY to destroy the funnel area.

But whether they destroy this doohickey itself remains to be seen.

But I suppose if you could keep them off the stick, and/or lube it in such a way that they cannot hang on it, then you may be able to get by with a plastic funnel. I doubt it though, because even if this keeps the squirrels and coons off, crows and other birds can also chew up the plastic over time with their beaks, and they'll find a way to hang on there somehow.

It will also prevent the unwanted encounter with the hornets that decided the timer box would make a nice home.

Also a good point, 3pairs.

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