winged rats

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MaKettle, Oct 17, 2004.

  1. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    In spite of efforts of cats and dog, the sparrow population in the barn has continued to grow. There is a loud rush of wings as the things head from the feed set out for the chickens, etc., to the barn rafters when I open the barn door. I think they are consuming more than their fair share. They are sitting by the feeders on the back porch and staring in the windows, willing me to hurry up with the chow (chow time doesn't start until next month).

    So--trip to farm store did not provide with eradication solution I am willing to use. Caulk-type tubes of sticky stuff to entangle them until I can collect them and dispose of them. Have hated sticky traps ever since first using one for whatever was raiding the garden and catching a little finch that was so hopelessly imbedded I couldn't peel it off and had to kill it. Well, that is the idea, I suppose, but if killing is necessary, I don't want to be directly involved.

    B-B gun? Not a good idea in a metal pole barn. Poison is out.

    Trap, like a Hav-a-hart?? Farm store did not carry them. Anyone know of a source? Or of a source of plans to make them?
     
  2. jacksun

    jacksun Active Member

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    try using an owl decoy or hawk they work great in gardens ect.
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Fake snake draped over the rafters in the barn?
     
  4. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I thought sparrows were winged mice and pigeons were winged rats.

    I have tried several of these traps with varying success: http://wildlifedamage.unl.edu/handbook/handbook/birds/bir_e101.pdf

    The best luck we ever had, a friend and I built a box of hardware cloth about 1' tall, 2' wide, and 3' long. Cut a circle about 10" diameter out of the top. Make a funnel of hardware cloth with a hole big enough for a sparrow at the bottom of the funnel, and let the funnel be about 10" deep so it ends 2" from the floor.

    We set it in his chicken pen, put the mash he fed inside the cage, and it filled with sparrows. I mean filled. Empty it out and it fills again. In a week he had no sparrows and his chicken feed bill went way down. The sparrow gets in, hops around, and doesn't duck his head to get back out again. If they do get out, mash the top of the trap down a little so the funnel sits lower.
     
  5. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    A BB gun might be more effective then you think. I've used a .22 loaded with shotshells inside metal buildings with no problems.
     
  6. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ed's suggestion is the best. Don't waste your money on plastic predators, ultrasonic repellers, or recordings. They only provide a very temporary relief. I have seen bird traps and they match the description of Ed's. Since they are already eating the chicken feed, you have completed the first step. So after you make the simple trap he described, you only need to figure out what you're going to do with a trap full. You could drown them easily, but if you release them you will have to take them on a very long drive, like in excess of 100 miles.
     
  7. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) MaKettle, this may not be an option for you. I am trying to picture this. I don't have a barn...just duck houses, pens and yards. Is there someway you can feed your chickens in a section of the barn that the wild birds have no access to?

    I am much pickier how I feed my ducks now that West Nile and other diseases are giving us trouble here in the states as these things are transferred via wild birds.. I no longer feed them in their yards..only in the pens where the wire is too small for the wild birds to get in.

    I guess I am wondering if some sort of wire pen inside your barn could be used for feeding your poultry and then you could let them out once they eat and close up the pen again. This wouldn't be hard..many types of wire close enough to keep out small birds will "free stand" when a "cage" is make out of it. You can put together some large panels of the stuff for a good sized pen for feeding the chickens.


    My ducks rush right inside their pens to eat, no problems there! LOL

    Hope you solve this, I know it is hard to watch that feed going to waste and worrying about the disease part of things too.

    Good luck with things....LQ
     
  8. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    lay some 2x4's in the rafters and lean a ladder up to it, your cat can then patrol
     
  9. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    Ed, I love your idea. I Googled sparrow traps and the traps for multiple catches are very expensive with no guarantee that they would work. Your looks the simplest and most effective.

    Quacker, I fill the feeders in the morning and evening, and it is then free choice for corn, mash, and grain. The baby ducks generally stay by the water bowl where they have grow mix. I know. It is a bad arrangement. I did convert a stall to a chicken coop with light, nest boxes, etc. The chickens were raised with the geese and refuse to leave them, so the sparrow-proof pen is used by Lonesome Turkey.

    Eons ago my son had a BB gun, and would take shots at the sparrows in the back yard. They would flee when they saw him. Then he tried leaving the house by the front door and sneaking around to the back door. They caught on. Then he tried leaving a window open a crack and shooting from inside the house. They caught on. Robins and other birds were oblivious. No one was shooting at them. Am so glad to hear that a trap may be successful.

    Thanx guys.
     
  10. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    What about setting out poison ??

    I know, I know, dont yell at me for this... It would solve the problem...
     
  11. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Please, don't poison birds. You can find other ways to deal with them effectively.

    In addition to trapping, you can modify the structure to eliminate nesting places. This will improve the situation, and changing your feeding behavior for the chickens will also effect them greatly.

    Trapping is very specific. You know exactly which birds are trapped.

    You won't be so lucky at controlling which bird eats your poison. Plus, you won't be able to buy the only product labeled for use on birds because it is restricted.
     
  12. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    A 12ga shotgun loaded with #7 bird shot. Kill some & scare the rest away. If you shoot at them enough they WILL go somewhere else!
     
  13. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    A teflon pan used as a smudge pot will quick gas roosting birds.
     
  14. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Ya know you guys...humor nonwithstanding..that as long as there is a source of food where they can get to it...the birds will come. That's just the way nature works. If the source of the food is eliminated...no birds....it's that simple.

    There's not enough shot gun pellets in the world, or cats, or poison to handle all of those sparrows and other trash birds.


    LQ
     
  15. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    Passenger pigeons, anyone?

    But you're right, exclusion is the first line of defense.
     
  16. mygrayfarm

    mygrayfarm Well-Known Member

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  17. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    AARGH!! Those darned non-indigenous birds frost my flakes!!! :mad:

    I understand the statements about not providing food for them, but it's not always easy to remove the attraction for one species without removing it for all. Personally, I like the recommendation about trapping the darned things, but you have to be willing to eradicate them. MIL was quite upset when I told her the only reason we have sparrows here is because, many many years ago, some homesick Brit decided to bring them over on a boat. She was even more upset when I showed her a wildlife management book that said the best way to handle a trap full of sparrows is to destroy them.

    My biggest gripe against them is the effect they've had on the native bluebird population. I'm 46 years old, and I've only seen two live bluebirds in my entire life. :waa:

    Pony!
     
  18. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) I know just what you mean Pony! Sparrows and Starlings! AARRGGHHHH!!! Actually though, you don't have to feed these "trash birds" to feed our song birds.

    You have to know what draws them and more importantly, what the best and most nutritious foods are for our native birds that won't attract those @@%%$!!&&***@@!!! sparrows and starlings! LOLD

    Did you know that millions of backyard birdfeeders keep logs on what foods draw what birds? These reports are collated(by bird clubs and our Fish & Wildlife Service) and reported in Bird Watching mags. Firstly, these little flying pests are attracted to foods with certain types of seeds. White proso millet is a favorite of sparrows. This stuff is found in many cage bird mixes and that trashy so-called Wild Bird Seed crap.

    So, you don't want to put this stuff out in your bird feeders. The two most popular(from the birds point of view) seeds for our songbirds are Black Oil Sunflower seed and Niger(thistle)seeds. Neither will attract the European Sparrow.

    For Starlings just get(or make) a feeder that is inside wire guard that will not admit larger birds.

    So, there are ways to feed our song birds and other native birds without drawing or supporting the trash birds. AND feed your poulty and live stock so you don't add to the problem.

    Hope this gives you some ideas..... ;) LQ
     
  19. landlord

    landlord Well-Known Member

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    I had dead sparrows hanging on a electric fence line. The line was close to the cattle panel. Apparently a fly landed on the line while the sparrow was sitting on the cattle panel. When I found the dead sparrow it was swinging in the wind hanging from it's beak. Good Sparrow... :)
     
  20. boren

    boren Well-Known Member

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    I have similar problem with by pole barn. They're not eating food I leave out, since I don't leave any out. They just use the building as shelter. I use my .22 with CCI's shotshells and they are great. The range is only ~10 maybe 20 feet, bet the pellets can't even penetrate wood. I wear safety goggles when shooting around the pole barn, just in case. They don't cycle my semi-auto .22, but that's not a huge deal.

    Here's the ammo: http://www.cci-ammunition.com/default.asp?menu=1&s1=3&pg=18&prod_id=9

    It works great, very selective, and quick.