Good housekeeping remains one of the best ways to control starlings, says Ken Bolton, extension dairy specialist in Jefferson County, Wis.

Bolton recommends the following:

1. Use good housekeeping to discourage starlings from feeding or roosting around livestock facilities. Clean up spilled feed. Store feed grain in bird-proof facilities or at least in covered facilities. Avoid feeding cows during early to mid-morning, as this is the preferred time for starlings to feed. Eliminate any puddles in livestock pens. Drain any waterers not currently in use. If you have fairly deep waterers, lower the water level a couple of inches from the top so that birds can’t reach it.

2. Try to keep starlings from even entering the barns. Start by placing netting under rafters, under the eves and beneath the ridge opening. Cover doorways with wide plastic strips. If building a new barn, ask for a “no perch” design that excludes traditional trusses.

Frightening the birds with loud noises or fake owls, repellents, baiting and trapping can work, but often times the results are short-lived. No fumigants are currently registered for starling control, and the once popular Starlicide is no longer available.

Although you can’t eradicate starlings, using the strategies listed above should help you get the problem under control.