Reviews

den kit company - original kit review

The Original Den Kit – Unboxing and review

A haversack containing the promise of an outdoor adventure…

The Original Den Kit is something I’ve been itching to get my hands on since I first spotted them online in the spring.

Den Kit Co. founders Kay & Jo invented the kits to try and encourage children outside, so I thought we’d be an excellent pairing and they kindly agreed to send me one of the kits to try.

the original den kit review

When it arrived, the box sat in a box in my office for a week before I had a chance to unwrap it for the unboxing video which you will see below, and my children drove me crazy asking to open it every five minutes… We finally got a chance to try it out in the beautiful sunshine last weekend.

As you will see the contents of the kit are high quality and simple, kids have to use their imagination to make the kit come to life. My children love being outdoors and so this was a perfect gift for them, but the kit would also work indoors during the winter months. In fact, my daughter has already requested a toy campfire for just this scenario.

What the Original Den Kit contains…

  • Green Haversack bag
  • Camouflage tarpaulin
  • Green groundsheet
  • Natural wood mallet
  • 2 x face paints
  • Enamel mug
  • 10 metres high quality rope
  • 8 tent pegs with drawstring bag
  • Instructions

original den kit unbox and review

 

We tried the den out in several configurations. My husband was responsible for the first rigging creating a wide and low set up which was great for the children to wriggle under. We shall call this set up the Comando den!

The next day the kids decided they wanted to use the tarpaulin as a roof over their hideout in a corner of the garden, so we cut the rope in half (there’s 10 metres, so even cutting it in half doesn’t limit possibilities!) and used it to hang the tarpaulin from four corners like a canopy.

Then a few days later we rigged it a third time with the A frame set up but pitched higher so the kids could sit under it properly… Not very tactical my husband said!

Face paint was also supplied which they loved. I had to take my turn to be painted too, I’m pleased to say it comes off quite easily!

The Den Kit Co are constantly trying to improve the contents and they tell me that they have recently changed the face paint in the kits for a UK supplied brand that is vegan and water-based.

den kit company - original kit review

applying face paint in a den

We had loads of fun with The Original Den Kit and I think its beautifully presented. If you’ve got an outdoorsy kid in the family I think it would make a great gift. The Den Kit Co also do variations on this kit including a cottage garden version with a fleecey rose throw and a Pirate Den Kit with bunting and eye patch.

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the best squirrel proof bird feeders

The best squirrel proof bird feeders

If you’ve ever bought a bird feeder you will know how incredibly frustrating it can be to see it being emptied at speed by a greedy grey squirrel or worse still stolen from its hanging point, emptied and cast aside in a corner of the garden!

I don’t object to feeding squirrels, but most of us are buying bird feeders as we are choosing to feed birds and if the squirrels get their first there is often no seed left for our feathered friends.

the best squirrel proof bird feeders

Buying a squirrel proof bird feeder is a great way to encourage wildlife into the garden and as we head into colder months it’s a nice way to be able to engage children with wildlife without leaving the warmth of the home, but if you are going to invest, which bird feeder should you buy? In this post we give you the run down of the top 5.

Five of the best squirrel proof bird feeders in the UK

best squirrel proof bird feeders - squirrel buster review

(1) The Squirrel Buster (Original)

This intimidating sounding bird feeder is Canadian designed and available in six versions and comes with a two-year guarantee. It looks very similar to many cheaper bird feeders with it metal and mesh cylindrical design, but the perches are on springs which trigger the closing of doors over the feeder windows if a squirrel or pigeon rests on them. This allows small birds to feed freely whilst preventing food being stolen by those it is not intended for. The patented Seed Tube Ventilation System lets fresh air enter ensuring that the seed does not get damp and rot inside the feeder. The paint is also UV resistant meaning it won’t fade in the sun and will stay looking good in your arden for longer.

Like many squirrel proof bird feeders the Squirrel Buster only works if it has 18 inches of clearance all round, which means you also need to buy an 18 inch (45 centimetre) hanging basket bracket to hang it from and you’ll need to ensure you find a spot where there are no branches or bushes close by where squirrels can lean to the feeder from. We have ours fixed to a brick wall next to a large window and the combination of a hard to scale wall and human movement close to the feeder has so far deterred any squirrels from attempting to feed from this.

Pros :

Four perches
2 year guarantee
Ventilation system
Adjustable

Cons :

Small seed mixes can be dropped underneath
Need to choose your location with care

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roamwild pest off squirrel proof bird feeder

(2) Roamwild Pest Off Bird Feeder (Mixed Seed)

This squirrel proof bird feeder works in a very similar way to the Squirrel Buster but is a slightly different design with less perches and a plastic tube instead of a mesh cylinder. Like the Squirrel Buster you’ll need to ensure you place this at the end of an 18 inch bracket or fixing well away from any undergrowth to ensure that squirrels cannot reach over and access the feeder by pulling it towards them. Once again the mechanism on this feeder relies on a squirrel only being able to access the feeder from above and in doing so placing its weight on the perches which close off access to the feeding tube.

Designed in the UK it has a built in rain guard over the feeding tube to prevent birds and seed getting damp in the British weather. Each perch is individually sprung so that the feeder will not close if multiple birds come to feed.

Pros :

Plastic tube makes it easy to clean
Rain guard
Designed in the UK

Cons :

More expensive than the Squirrel Buster
Only two perches
Needs to be in the right location to work effectively

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gardman squirrel proof bird feeder review

(3) Gardman Heavy Duty Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

This feeder is more of a conventional squirrel proof design made by one of the better known manufacturers of bird feeders and feeder stations. It has a central clear tube to hold seed and a cage around the outside which allows small birds to pass through to the feeder, but keeps squirrels and larger birds from accessing the food. In this heavy duty design, the exterior cage is made from metal and there is a polycarbonate inner tube which can be removed for cleaning.

The design means you don’t have to be as careful with choosing the site to hang the feeder and it’s suitable for hanging from a tree or feed statione. It has a FeedSafe biocidal coating which helps to protect against microbes and germs

Pros :

Location isn’t as important as with other squirrel-proof designs
FeedSafe coating
Allows many birds to feed at once

Cons :

Many parts to clean
No warranty

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happy beaks squirrel proof bird feeder

(4) Happy Beaks Hanging Squirrel Proof Domed Wild Bird Feeder

 

This bird feeder for small birds is a striking modern design that looks more like a space ship or perhaps a jellyfish than your conventional garden feeder! It works by allowing song birds like tits and robins to fly under the dome to access food, but stopping squirrels from approaching above via the slippery plastic dome. The domed design also allows birds to be protected from the weather, keeping them and their feed dy on wet British days!

The design also allows you to place different feeds in the tray together or alternating and it is easy to clean. It can be hung from a branch or a bird feeder station and location isn’t as important for squirrel proofing as with other designs.

Pros :

Striking modern design
Can be used for a variety of different feeds
Weatherproof
Easy to clean

Cons :

Not as robust as some other designs

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perky pet squirrel proof bird feeder

(5) Perky-Pet Copper Panorama Bird Feeder

 

This copper colured modern bird feeder is gravity fed with seed from the large clear dispenser slowly flowing down into a trough like feeder at the bottom as it is eaten. It’s unique squirrel proof design is centered around the lid which is held in place by a strong Sure-Lock cap system which needs to be squeezed to be released up the cord to allow you to refill the central vessel or for any squirrel to get their hands on the seeds.

You do have to be careful where you site it in the garden though as the metal ring around the base is excellent for squirrels to hang on to and if there are any leaning branches of trees or bushes nearby they will simple swing over and grab the base and then help themselves from the trough. However if you follow the guidelines advised by the manufacturers of our first two feeders (18 inches clearance all round) this bird feeder is a simple, attractive and economical option.

This bird feeder also comes in red and blue metal with the same clear central window.

Pros :

Allows multiple birds to perch around the feeder
Modern clean design
Easy to clean
Big seed container (900g)

Cons :

Squirrels can still access the food easily if placed near plants
Excess seed is easily split on the ground

 

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