We are experiencing a bird and slug problem. The birds eat our fruit and the snails and slugs eat our seedlings. We would like to attract more birds to eat the slugs and snails, but we like our fruit too much and choose to aim our slingshot in their direction. We have a huge amount of old VHS tapes which we unwind and use the tape as bird tape,but it doesn't seem to work.
So my question is, how do we encourage the birds to eat the bugs and not the fruit?!
Hum.... I think that might be shooting in the wrong direction
For the snails - get a couple of ducks, I recommend Indian Runners (2 females and one male = a good family group). Best to raise them altogether or add the male after the others are older. They will take care of the snails and other orchard pests, plus leave you eggs as a bonus.
For the birds - you need an outdoor cat, raised without a never empty food dish. By feeding inside the garage, shed or shop the cat only eats when you are around to let her in. This set-up works great for training as the time will come when she is hungry and you are not around. This feeding patterns after the feast and famine of nature and helps hone the cats hunting skills. Place a water dish for the cat under your trees, just to help things along. You can also hide treats to encourage loitering....
Realize once you have a cat that hunts birds you may not want to put out bird food feeders. Or maybe you would want to 'feed' these birds so they leave your fruit alone and give the cat something to target. Your cat won't catch/kill many of these birds at all, but her presence will be a great deterrent.
Raise the cat around the ducks and you'll have no problems, or wait until the ducks are about the size of a small cat and you'll have no problems between the two then either. Ducks can be a good alarm system for strange animals coming around, but if they are around the family dog and cat they won't honk when another dog or cat with bad intentions comes around.
Some dogs can be trained to scare off birds too, but I covered the two easiest solutions.
Hope this helps.
Joined: Sep 23, 2009
Thanks for the tips Jami!
We certainly have cats around the house, and we only feed them some of our tasty jkitchen scraps. They are certainly prolific hunters. Leaving water dishes or treats around trees is a good idea (right now they love lounging in the lavender!).
As far as ducks, I'm worried that ducks will eat the seedlings and veggies too! What is your experience on this?
my ducks ate seedling vegies. thats why they had a very short stay at my place. I wasn't set up to do quick rotations through the garden with them. they would have probably been safe after they were a bit larger but I almost always have something started in the garden. I hate to suggest stuff that costs much but maybe motion sensing sprinklers? aluminum pie plates are supposed to be good bird deterrents but I don't have any personal experience with them. birds always got the rasberries and cherries when we I was growing up. now they are tomato enemies.
Veggie starts they could destroy, my garden is enclosed and their access is managed.
As for other plants, most of what I grow outside the garden - horseradish, mint, Lilly, dahlias, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, peppers ect. they leave alone. They do love lamb's ear and a pink clover - but I have panels of wire I surround young plants with until they are established, or with lambs ear use all the time.
Ducks are not very nimble and so I've been able to use boards and terracing to keep them out of certain planted areas on hills. And planter-boxes to raise other plants. In other words, simple physical discouragements work well with ducks. They do not have to be high or very strong, this is good.
With my animals, garden and yard it is always a question of management (work) however, it is still much less work and expense letting the animals do their thing
As for video tape, pie plates, rubber snakes and owls - I have never had them work well. They may work a little in the very beginning and then their affect stops altogether. And I'm going to be a girl and say..... They look ugly, and looks matter to me Well, I do make one exception - my tree face (she is very cool).
Good luck ♣
Joined: Jun 26, 2008
your're sure right about the ugly thing jami my instinct is that birds will quickly become accustomed to things also even if they work at first. if you just have a few trees bird netting is an option.
Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Location: North Central Michigan
as for the slugs and snails..don't count on the critters eating them..if they are a problem..lay boards near the plants that you have the problem with..each morning turn over the baords and scrape the slugs and snails off into a bowl of water..if you can get the critters to eat them..fine..if not..kill em..
as for the birds eating the fruit..use bird netting..
Bloom where you are planted.
I saw my aunt leave a half full beer can out for slugs, the slimy ones not your husband It worked well for her and it was entertaining to watch the birds slurmp them out like spaggetti, especially after they had eaten a few beer soaked slugs! Hope this helps.
i remember grenda groth said that the birds prefer the honeysuckle berries to her fruit , so grow lots of honeysuckle. My grandmother had what she called a frit cage a geat hall of posts ans bird netting . I could not use it as i don't live in my garden only weekend and birds got caught inside the cage somtimes and you have to be able to let them out. i saw a documentary on cats out on th emountainside killing all the baby eider duck or some such they did it for fun killing much more than they need, so cats are very destructive. bird poop feritlizes the garden and they bring seeds in their poop to .
I am still keen in propagating my idea that birds like jays and magpies maybe crows eat things like tent worms and we need more in our provinces not less. There used to be so many magpies when i first came to spain and now their aren't many. agri rose macaskie.
Joined: May 09, 2009
I want to say i think Brenda Groth gives out lots of usefull information on growing plants and veggies.
i have remembered something else , i once went through my great grandmothers bird book, it gives a longer bit on each bird than my more modern ones, noting only what the birds ate and what they made their nests of, roots often and the kingfishers, fish bones, and they all ate insects in spring when they were nesting, so if you get rid of them you may encourage lots of other insects, snails aren't the only insects in the garden. Chairman Mao decided sparrows ate the crops and oredered that they be killed and as he was all powerfull they were and there was as a consequence a terrible loss of crops and famine. Birds eat lots of insects in spring. We just don't want to lose anything to other species.
We repeat the big faults of the all powerfull communists on the ecological level but more slowly, like using all the water of rivers for irrigation in places that before did not have much and then drying up some sea or lake and then having less rain because there is more rain where there are large bodies of water. Water should be found by increasing vegetation using drought hardy plants and so increasing rainfall there is more rainfall were there are trees and i suppose herbaciouse vegetation. Also we can increase the water at our disposal by using the tricks for getting the rain to seep into the soil such as lots of organic matter in the soil and holding the water up in puddles, ponds and canals on the level, as high as possible for as long as possible, so it seeps in instead of running to the rivers and off to the sea in gushes when it rains, instead of at a steady tricklle from our water soaked soils. agri rose macaskie.
So here is something I read about a long time ago. And if you like birdies, you mightl want to skip this post.
A farmer was getting his crops wiped out by birds.
At the same time, he wanted to give his pigs more protein.
So he built bird houses on a long tube. He drilled downward, diagonal holes in the tubes and put in several bicycle spokes. The birds go into the bird houses and pop out the bottom as pig food. Apparently it worked very well.
Joined: May 09, 2009
I like birds but eat meat so i can't complain , only it is true that Chairman Mao wiped out sparrows and there was a big famine. He did not calculate how many insects they eat in spring. birds are necessary. they eat insects in spring when they are feeding their chicks, grain eating ones do, maybe not snails but other insects .
I bet that if you did not treat magpies and crows and blue tails as vermin and kill tthem you would have fewer tent worms, they use blue tails or long tails i don't know what they are calle din America,in China to get rid of tent worms i saw it in a documentary and i have heard from one source here that magpies eat tent worms.
The great sparrow wars is the name of Chairman Maos sparrow offensive. i have just looked it up and in the article i found, it said that Chairman mao ordered sparrows killed because they ate grain and as he was Chairman Mao many children and workers were put to work killing them . on the 13 of december 1958. The result, a famine because sparrow eat grasshoppers and locusts and so no sparrows meant a plague of grass hoppers and locusts . The human death toll in the famine was meant to have been 35 million. people. Horrible eh How there are any chinese people left with the one child laws and all the famins chair man mao started beats me.
The communist countries serve as examples because their leaders had so much power they could do what we want to do but can't get through at the stroke o f a pen, nobody to stop cjairman mao when he had an idea.ANother example is of when they helped the peoplein one part of russia letting them irrigate as much as they cared to and drying the Aral sea. Now the peope of chad are dryjng up lake chad. in africa. i don't think they have a totalitarian government though. Totaliratrianism is not a bad idea. The article said the north americans had tried the same sort of thing killing sparrows before with similar results had chairman mao only known it he would hav ebeen saved a nasty moment.
The permaculture answer for snails is meant to be ducks anway. then you can eat duck instead of pig. The french a eat snails with a butter and garlic sauce the spainiards eat them with a cummin indianey type sauce . they are very good and wholesome . agri rose macaskie.