What are my options?
Options for bird control on dairy operations fall into two general categories: lethal and nonlethal. Lethal options include those already mentioned, such as shooting and poisoning. Nonlethal methods can be broken down a bit further into these categories:
Repellents. This category includes options like electronic bird control which uses sounds, like digital recordings of distressed birds, to frighten away their pesky peers. It also includes chemical repellents and scare tactics like propane cannons.
Exclusion. Options like birdproofing of buildings and bird netting fall into this category.
Other. Things like live trapping and habitat modification (practices that limit birds’ access to feed and water) fit here.
Tap into Wildlife Services
Wildlife Services is a program within the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Specialists with Wildlife Services can provide on-site assistance and recommendations for using the various control practices mentioned here. You may want to talk to them first before using baits or other lethal bird-control methods, some of which require training and certification. Call Wildlife Services at (866) 487-3297, or visit the Web site at: www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/
Efficacy and cost of birdcontrol methods on dairies
This table shows the effectiveness and average cost of various control strategies used on commercial dairies in Pennsylvania, New York and Wisconsin in 2009.
A look at the data shows that bird-control measures implemented by Wildlife Services received the highest rating (35 percent) in the “very effective” category. Chemical repellents received the lowest rating (7 percent) in this category, followed by live trapping (10 percent) and habitat modification (11 percent).
The survey results, published in the November 2012 Journal of Dairy Science, also show that cost of bird control differs substantially, with bird netting being the most expensive and live trapping the least.