Wild bird control in the poultry house
Radio interview source: Jesse Lyons, Extension Poultry Specialist, University of Missouri
Sometimes the chicken coop will become a favorite hangout for wild birds such as house sparrows and starlings. They create a mess with their nests and droppings, eat the chicken feed, and pose a risk of spreading parasites and disease to your flock.
Jesse Lyons is an extension poultry specialist at the University of Missouri. He says keeping wild birds away is a challenge in open-type housing where they can easily fly in-and-out. A key for control is making it tough for them to get inside.
"Leaving the entrance just the size for your chickens but not leaving the big human door open," says Lyons. "And, unscreened windows would be a good step. Keep the doors closed, then utilize openings a convenient size for your domestic birds to go back-and-forth from the building if they have outside access during the day."
Open containers of water and feed should be kept inside because they attract wild birds. Low bushes growing near the building are a place for birds to hide.
It may be impossible or impractical to prevent the birds from getting inside the chicken house, and they'll take advantage of a good nesting spot indoors. Lyons says in most cases you can take steps to prevent a population build-up.
"If it's a starling nest or sparrow nest, you can destroy the nest and the eggs. But other species are protected so I would give a call to the local authorities before destroying a nest like that," says Lyons. "If you're in there every day, I don't think they would have opportunity to really start building a nest."
Lyons says if you otherwise enjoy wild birds and have feeders out, be strategic with their placement. Keep feeders at a distance, and away from your walking path to the chicken house. Contaminated bird droppings on the ground could be carried in on your shoes.
Find more information on controlling wild birds in the poultry house
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