Don't put feed in the feeders.
Depends on the model/construct of the feeder.. Rice Bran is an excellent source for all the reasons you mentioned... the issue is when it gets wet/damp it wants to bind up inside most feeders...Put rice bran in it instead of corn deer like rice bran better and racoons and crows don't bother it much.
You got a damn good reason to not kill em?I have a feeder behind the house that the ***** are invading. What is the best way besides shooting them to keep the out of the feeders. We have the spikes that are supposed to work but don't.