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How to Properly Protect Your Crops From Birds

Birds are a major problem for farmers. They can quickly decimate an entire crop, leaving the farmer with nothing but empty fields and no income.  Some birds, like pigeons and sparrows, will strip seeds from the ground as they sow themselves.  Other birds eat young plants and buds directly off of the plant. As such, it is important that you protect the crops you worked so hard for from being destroyed by birds.

Here’s how you can protect your crops from birds:

Bird Netting

One of the best methods for protecting your crops from birds is to put up bird netting. The netting has very small holes in it, so not even a tiny sparrow can sneak through and make a meal out of your plants.

However, if you cannot afford bird netting or if your crop requires a trellis or a similar structure, you can use PVC pipes as well. Cut them into 1-2 feet pieces, and place the ends of them around your crops. The pipes will have a similar effect as netting, but they are much cheaper to acquire. Just attach the pieces together using zip ties and clamp them to whatever support structure you have around the area where your crops are growing.

Use Repellents

Some farmers use all-natural repellents to keep birds away from their crops. The most popular and well-known one is made out of chili pepper powder and water. You can mix the ingredients together and spray them on your plants twice a week to protect them from ravaging birds.

Even though they will dissolve over time, they will still emit enough scent that keeps sparrows and pigeons at bay and allows flowers and fruits to flourish for several weeks. Using bird crop repellent is something you can do by yourself. Another, cheaper option is to soak cotton balls in hot sauce (make sure there are no open wounds on your hands when you do this). And then attach the cotton balls around or near your fruit trees, flower bushes, or vegetable gardens.

Bird Spikes

Another solution that you can use is bird spikes. Instead of blocking off the entire crop from birds, this product just covers the tops of plants where buds grow. It has sharp points coming out of it so that when a bird comes near it feels uncomfortable and leaves because it cannot land on top of the plant without hurting itself.

Motion Sensors or Lights

Some people have found success with motion sensors or lights. When the bird comes near the sensor, it will make a noise that startles them, and they fly away. If you are using lights, they also work in the same way, by startling the birds when they come into range of it. Both of these methods can be effective for protecting your crops from small birds.

Preemptive Strike

If you know certain types of birds are coming to eat at your crop, try scaring them off before they even get there. You can do this by shooting some loud firecrackers or blanks in their direction, so they fly away before eating any of your plants. Just be careful not to shoot the firecrackers too close to your own crops, or you might end up scaring away all the beneficial insects that help guard against pests on a farm as well.

Scare Crows

You can also use scarecrows in order to frighten away birds when they come close to your crops. This method does not work very well against larger birds but can be an effective defense against smaller ones.

Although it isn’t that effective, sometimes scare tactics will work on pests like pigeons and sparrows that fly into open fields. You can try simple things such as mirrors, for example. Place a mirror near your crop and when the bird comes into range, it will see its reflection and fly away in fright.

Mylar Balloons

Sometimes scaring them off or using light and motion sensors will not be enough to protect your crops from birds. In that case, you can use reflective mylar balloons. Birds do not like the way they look when they see their own reflection in a mirror, so it is believed that they will subconsciously associate looking at the balloon with seeing themselves and thus avoid it out of fear.

If none of these methods work for you, you might have to resort to more drastic measures, such as trapping them in cages and relocating them elsewhere. They will still eat your crops if you don’t trap them, though, so be sure to install some kind of bird netting or other protection before trying this method.

Fishing Line

If you still have issues with birds even after trying some of these deterrents, you can try using a fishing line as a last resort. Attach a fishing line to a small weight on one end and an object near your crop on the other. When a bird flies toward your plants, they will get tangled up in the line and thus scare them away from your crops.

Just make sure that the weights are light enough, so you don’t kill any birds accidentally via strangulation. This method is better used to keep large amounts of birds out than it is for keeping single ones away since it doesn’t work very well against individuals or smaller flocks.

Aluminium Screening

Aluminium screening is another method that can be quite effective for protecting your plants from birds. It will work against small birds and flocks, but not as well against larger ones. Make sure to check up on your plants often and remove any loose pieces of aluminium screening or the like, so you do not accidentally damage your plants while trying to protect them.

High-Tech Fake Owls

You can try using high-tech decoys to scare away birds. For example, put some fake owls around your crops so that they will see them and fly away since they are afraid of the predators. These are not meant to be used for keeping away single birds or smaller flocks but can work well against larger numbers of them.

Just make sure you get good-quality ones that look realistic enough for this method to work if you do decide to use it.

Protect Crops With Garden Fleece

Although not as effective against larger birds, garden fleece can definitely help you protect your crops from smaller ones. It might make them harder to see and thus scare them away, but it should work well enough for that purpose.

Just make sure you get the correct sizes and such for your needs. They might be a little more expensive than some other methods but still should save you money in the long run if they work well enough for your purpose.

There are many ways you can protect your crops from birds. Most of these methods focus more on scaring the pests away than actually harming them, though, so it is important to keep that in mind as you use them.