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Help! My barn has gone to the birds!

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  • Help! My barn has gone to the birds!

    Due to the snow having covered absolutely everything, the birds have taken up residence in my barn. It's awful. Birdcrap is on everything. My poor chestnut looks like a spotted deer, and it's going to be a long while before a bath is possible.

    I'm thinking that those spiky strips are my best/cheapest/quickest option. What are they called and where can I find them? My other thought is putting in a ceiling so they can't roost in the rafters, but I don't really want to sacrifice circulation.

    Finally, do birds carry parasites or diseases that I need to be worried about for horse and/or human? I'm petrified about this. All feed is covered and I don't store hay in there so food should be ok, but for pity's sake they're crapping on everything! Everytime I go out to the barn they fly out of the openings, and some fly into windows trying to get out. It's a darn Alfred Hitchcock scene every time I feed.

    I have barn cats but they are positively useless. They don't even do a sufficient job on mouse patrol. I'm not mean enough to evict them but when these go, I'm definitely not replacing them. Anyway, any help is greatly appreciated. I know this problem will subside when the snow melts and they have other places to go, and I know the birds are just looking for food, but I'm at my wit's end. They gots to go now!

  • #2
    Are you referring to carpet strips? You can get those at Home Depot or Lowe's. They're pretty cheap.

    I'd start nailing 'em up now because they're going to start nesting soon. And then you're going to have bird poop everywhere.

    Some people put up deer netting and that seems to discourage birds - but they'll also get hung up in it if it's not stretched properly. I don't know how people manage to get it up there properly.

    But netting is cheap, too.



    Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
    Due to the snow having covered absolutely everything, the birds have taken up residence in my barn. It's awful. Birdcrap is on everything. My poor chestnut looks like a spotted deer, and it's going to be a long while before a bath is possible.

    I'm thinking that those spiky strips are my best/cheapest/quickest option. What are they called and where can I find them? My other thought is putting in a ceiling so they can't roost in the rafters, but I don't really want to sacrifice circulation.

    Finally, do birds carry parasites or diseases that I need to be worried about for horse and/or human? I'm petrified about this. All feed is covered and I don't store hay in there so food should be ok, but for pity's sake they're crapping on everything! Everytime I go out to the barn they fly out of the openings, and some fly into windows trying to get out. It's a darn Alfred Hitchcock scene every time I feed.

    I have barn cats but they are positively useless. They don't even do a sufficient job on mouse patrol. I'm not mean enough to evict them but when these go, I'm definitely not replacing them. Anyway, any help is greatly appreciated. I know this problem will subside when the snow melts and they have other places to go, and I know the birds are just looking for food, but I'm at my wit's end. They gots to go now!
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Jswan, you're a lifesaver! I never even thought of carpet strips! I have seen the spike strips on other buildings and so I have been googling fruitlessly for them. I'm such an idiot. I am so excited I can probably get everything I need from Lowes and get this done by the weekend.

      I'm still googling to find out if the bird poo is going to kill me and my horses. I'm convinced it is. I bet they carry worms and parasites and all kinds of nasty diseases. Wasn't there an episode of house with sick pigeons that ended up killing one guy and nearly offing Foreman? Ewww I have the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here are bird spike strips, plastic and steel ones and all other kinds of anti-bird stuff.
        You can use bird netting on the rafters and still keep airflow.
        They sell it here also:

        http://www.gemplers.com/product/1603...ikes-8-x-50-ft

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks Bluey! I was finding lots on google, but all seemed to be wholesalers.

          Carpet tack strips aren't as tall...I wonder if they might not work as well? I need to take some measurements and see how much of this stuff I'll need.

          Birds carry all kinds of nasty diseases, but there seems to be some debate on whether or not these pass over to humans or other animals. I still think I might outsource this job due to the grossness factor. Fortunately with this economy there's no shortage of people willing to do dirty jobs.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have several families of mud swallows who live year-round in my horse barn. I used bird strips to discourage them from the areas where they made messes, but we left a couple of out of the way perches for them. It sounds like the birds in your barn are struggling with the cold, so go easy on them...it's hard for critters in winter.

            Those plastic owls with the scary eyes work OK, too. You might also try setting up a bird feeder in a location where you don't mind them congregating, to encourage them to leave the barn.

            Don't trip out too much on the disease thing. If you think about it, there's lots of nasty stuff you can get from other humans or your horse or rodents. My horse gave me ringworm, for example, and my son gave me the mother of all flu viruses. Those cute swallows just keep eating bugs!

            Comment


            • #7
              No, I'm the idiot. I could have painted them in custom barn colors and sold them for a fortune. (smacks head at yet another wasted opportunity to make millions and realize my goal of ruling the world....)

              Yeah - you can probably catch all kinds of cooties. I tend not to worry too much about that stuff unless I'm scraping it or raising dust and might inhale a bunch. (cleaning a chicken coop comes to mind - nasty job)

              You could try hanging a fake owl up there but I don't know if it would discourage them. People hang fake giant eyeballs and fake owls in their vegetable garden but I don't know if they work.

              Since you mention House I will mention Dirty Jobs. There was an episode on collecting goose down and the lady showed Mike Rowe how to make a fake owl out of the wing of a Canada Goose. The lady said she sold the goose wings/fake owls to people to keep birds out of gardens.

              I don't know how she did it but the darn thing did look like a barn owl. Pretty big.

              Good luck with your project. I've never tried those strips but I did kneel on them once. It got my attention.



              Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
              Jswan, you're a lifesaver! I never even thought of carpet strips! I have seen the spike strips on other buildings and so I have been googling fruitlessly for them. I'm such an idiot. I am so excited I can probably get everything I need from Lowes and get this done by the weekend.

              I'm still googling to find out if the bird poo is going to kill me and my horses. I'm convinced it is. I bet they carry worms and parasites and all kinds of nasty diseases. Wasn't there an episode of house with sick pigeons that ended up killing one guy and nearly offing Foreman? Ewww I have the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.
              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
              -Rudyard Kipling

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Watermark, I do kind of feel like an ogre for evicting them in foul weather, but hey, my name is meaty ogre.
                Seriously though, they totally wig me out. I can clean up any form of my own child's excrement. I don't faint at the sight of blood (not even horsey blood in volumes that seem to prohibit living). I'm not a sissy girl, except for these danged birds. Have you ever seen the Ace Ventura movie where Jim Carey runs out the bat cave squealing like a little girl, "They're in my hair! They're in my hair!" Well, that is me. I hunch down and creep in the barn, trying not to wake them, yet they still flutter around like nuts, crashing into the walls and windows. I swear they're mentally ill (and it's contagious of course!). And my poor horse...he seriously looks like a spotted deer, and the cowboy magic isn't telling that crap anything. I just can't do it. Can I at least get a few points for not evicting the worthless barn cats?

                We did have several really high bird houses that were specifically for some type of bird that eats mosquitos, but they didn't pan out. Purple somethings? Something named Martin? I don't know. At any rate, we have virtually no trees and usually lots of wind, so not too much in the way of mosquito issues...more flies.

                I'm going to check out the carpet strips anyway. Maybe I can make my own bird strips with nails? Who am I kidding...I can't even use a nail gun. Well, at least now I have some options. I'll get them a seed cake or something as a going away present cause now I feel like crap for putting the birds out, but seriously, they can't stay. They're in my hair!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was waiting to post to see what the other suggestions were-here's my .02.
                  I had a horrible bird infestation about 5 years after we built the barn. I think because the barn was set up to be very "open"- with dutch doors,etc-it is very conducive to the birds moving in. I love the barn swallows(purple martins,too) because they are great at insect control. The sparrows-not so much! In fact, when the da*% sparrows moved in, the barn swallows moved out!(something about decreased property values-lol)
                  I tried everything. Shiny metallic strips-spooked the horses.
                  Fake barn owl-sparrows sat on its head.
                  Anti bird spikes-does work to discourage nesting but won't completely eliminate the problem-plus you have to put them on all the cross bracing of the rafters-not just the straight parts. Plus it's a bit pricey.
                  Next I put vinyl curtains (like the type on walk in freezers) on all the dutch doors- they also keep the bird and insect population down and the horses actually like them-plus it helps a little bit with the wind.
                  When I happened to switch from sweet feed to pelleted, that really made a difference-the sparrows no longer consider my horse feed a worthy food source. Plus, there's nothing in the horse manure worth rifling through so the sparrows went elsewhere.
                  I have noticed with the snow that the birds are definitely more aggressive so I've been throwing out the hay chaff outside for them to pick through and it seems to keep them at bay.
                  Once they decide that they like your barn, it's really a challenge to get rid of them!
                  PM me if you want any additional info-I know your pain!
                  PS-my neighbor does the same thing with birds-she ducks whenever they fly overhead. I'm ok with birds but reptiles scare the bejeezes out of me!!
                  http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Oo, the vinyl curtains are a good idea! I always think of those just for wind protection and bug protection but they would keep flying rats...erm...sparrows out too. And the SAME thing happened to me Mkevent...3 families of sparrows moved in my barn to nest and my barn swallows left their newly redecorated nest and moved out. Pissed me right off! Fred and Ginger were there every summer since we built the barn and they were unique swallows...antisocial ones that chased all other swallows out so I had the benefit of bug control without having vast colonies of swallows in there. Not to mention the fun of watching one or two batches of babies grow up every season...such grumpy looking little cuties when they're little. My swallows were so spoiled I had a special small fan that was temperature controlled on their rafter blowing on thier nest for the hot August weather.
                    Also Mkevent has a great idea in removing all food sources...they LOVE sweet feeds, cracked corn, etc. If you have timothy hay, sprinkle timothy heads on the snow far away from the barn. They like the timothy heads.
                    You can also remove them all at once using a leaf blower...sparrows may be shaped like tiny flying bowling balls but they're LIGHT bowling balls and boy howdy do they blow FAR! It's non-injuring to them...actually gives a lot more body and fluff to their feathers. And they really do not like such a windy environment. I got rid of my sparrows that way...but have to admit that I've caved on the three females living in the barn over the winter. They're such chatty little biddies...they chuckle and chatter to me when I do barn chores and follow me around for some unknown reason. The males all moved out and I haven't seen them since last October...I don't know a lot about sparrows so I don't know their divorce rates. I can tell you that sparrows do not like Strider pelleted feed...but they did adore Vintage Victory when I was feeding that to my mare.
                    You jump in the saddle,
                    Hold onto the bridle!
                    Jump in the line!
                    ...Belefonte

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      OMG, I am so getting the blower out and going to town on them. My barn was such a wreck last night...droppings absolutely everywhere and the horses don't want to come anywhere near the barn. I had to move their water troughs. The last straw was watching my mini horse carry 4 of them on her back across the field this morning. She didn't seem to mind but I do. I also discovered they found there way into my trailer and the run-in shed too, and the seat of my precious polaris ranger is now white. This is war. There will be no suet cake parting gift, and I no longer feel guilty about the eviction.

                      There's a strip that electrocutes (well, not really...it just zaps them) to deter them from landing-I'm voting for that. Mr. MO wants to just put a ceiling in to cover the rafters and give them no place to roost, and put spikes on any of the remaining inside eaves or other possible roosting places. That's probably the most sensible idea I guess. The curtains aren't a bad idea but I'm just not sure how they work if they're not completely closed? I also don't want to sacrifice the openness of my barn, though I know that is part of the problem. I've moved past disliking them greatly and am firmly in the loathing them category. If I were a better shot and weren't afraid of holes in my barn I'd be shooting them right now. Stupied winged rodents. I asked Mr. MO if we could poison them and he told me to get ahold of myself. I know he's right but this is horrible...the birds have basically evicted my horses, on the coldest day of the year.

                      I feed pellets and alfalfa hay. I'm not sure what exactly they're drawn to, though I think it is mainly the fact that everything else is covered in several inches of snow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My grandfather died from Histoplasmosis less than a year ago. Yes, bird droppings can carry the fungus and it can lead to death if not caught and treated.
                        #JusticeForSunshine

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Watermark Farm View Post
                          I have several families of mud swallows who live year-round in my horse barn. I used bird strips to discourage them from the areas where they made messes, but we left a couple of out of the way perches for them. It sounds like the birds in your barn are struggling with the cold, so go easy on them...it's hard for critters in winter.

                          Those plastic owls with the scary eyes work OK, too. You might also try setting up a bird feeder in a location where you don't mind them congregating, to encourage them to leave the barn.

                          Don't trip out too much on the disease thing. If you think about it, there's lots of nasty stuff you can get from other humans or your horse or rodents. My horse gave me ringworm, for example, and my son gave me the mother of all flu viruses. Those cute swallows just keep eating bugs!
                          Those plastic owls don't always work as well as ppl say they do. We have a BS feed mill here in a very small town. IT draws the pigeons of the whole state I think. There are owls on half hte buildings in town in ppls attempt to keep them off their buildings. Every time I drive by there are pigeons sitting on top of the owls. The elect co tried them on top of poles where we lived to keep birds from blowing the transformer to no avail also.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WaningMoon View Post
                            Those plastic owls don't always work as well as ppl say they do. We have a BS feed mill here in a very small town. IT draws the pigeons of the whole state I think. There are owls on half hte buildings in town in ppls attempt to keep them off their buildings. Every time I drive by there are pigeons sitting on top of the owls. The elect co tried them on top of poles where we lived to keep birds from blowing the transformer to no avail also.

                            That's a job for raptors.

                            Seriously - folks with real problems - try and attract raptors or see if there are any falconers in your area.

                            A raptor flying around a flock of birds looks like Moses parting the Red Sea.
                            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                            -Rudyard Kipling

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              A raptor?! From freakin' Jurasic Park? I'm guess no...off to do some googling. JSwan you're so enlightening (or I'm such a dummy?).

                              Thank goodness the weekend has warm enough weather that hubby and enlisted freind are going to deal with the de-birding.

                              Now to find out how to attract a raptor (right after I find out what one is so I can make sure I really want one around!).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think a raptor is a bird of prey-like falcons, hawks,etc.
                                I had a hawk fly through my barn once and it got eerily quiet-the sparrows shut up immediately, and for the next 15 minutes everytime I moved something a sparrow would fly out from its' hiding place! It wasn't a pretty scene since I startle easily(like Vera from the bad tv sitcom Mel's Diner) so between the raptor scare and my startle/shriek response, it scared the crap out of the sparrows! Come to think of it, maybe that's how I finally got rid of them and I wasted all that money on the other stuff!(just kiddin)
                                http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  A few places in Charleston, SC have had great success with stringing fishing line up to keep birds away. Apparently, they are reluctant to fly too close lest they get tangled up.

                                  Here is an article that has some info and research: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/vi...&context=vpc14

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
                                    A raptor?! From freakin' Jurasic Park? I'm guess no...off to do some googling. JSwan you're so enlightening (or I'm such a dummy?).
                                    Yeah - just like Jurassic Park!

                                    But it's their descendants.

                                    http://www.n-a-f-a.org/

                                    http://www.pbs.org/falconer/falconry/index.htm

                                    http://vafalconry.swva.net/

                                    http://rrc.boisestate.edu/current%20projects/narms.htm

                                    http://hawkcount.org/

                                    Check these out! I heart raptors!

                                    (my chickens do not share my love of raptors )
                                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                    -Rudyard Kipling

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I had the same problem in my indoor arena. I wanted to use the vinyl strips but some boarders were concerned it would block the air flow in the arena. Instead we used black weed barrier cut into long strips inside the big sliding door and within a week...no pigeons! It also worked great with the air flow issue. Plus it was about $5 total cost which was a nice added bonus

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        (like Vera from the bad tv sitcom Mel's Diner)
                                        LOL MKEvent...we must be around the same age. I know *exactly* what type of "scare" you're referring to since I remember the show well. "Kiss mah grits Mel!"

                                        Meaty Ogre...the raptors from Jurassic Park are more for getting rid of Parelli folks or non-paying boarders or those who can't remember riding ring etiquette.
                                        Regular raptors are birds of prey and like to prey on other birds.

                                        Stoli...the weed barrier strips are a pretty good idea! No breeze blockage and cheap as heck...I might look into those as a barrier strip for my barn door for summer. Might offer a little more shade, less bugs and birds and the horses can come and go. The plastic strips can be hot in summer.
                                        You jump in the saddle,
                                        Hold onto the bridle!
                                        Jump in the line!
                                        ...Belefonte

                                        Comment

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