As homesteaders, we get pretty used to being the weird ones…
But I recently started doing something that is on a whole new level of weird… So much so, that I often warn friends beforehand so they don’t think I’m completely off my rocker. (At least, not any more than they already do)
Last summer, every time I’d walk into my chicken coop, it felt like I was in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds. As soon as I’d open the door, I would be greeted by a frenzied flock of sparrows who would proceed to fly wildly around the coop and get uncomfortably close to my face… And hair. Not that my hair is any sort of masterpiece or anything, but I sure didn’t want one of their tiny bird-legs stuck in my messy bun.
Something had to be done…
Why Wild Birds and Chickens Don’t Mix
Some of you might be thinking I’m a bit cold-hearted for wanting to boot the sparrows out of my coop, but I do have two rather legitimate reasons for my vendetta, other than the whole bird-in-my-hair thing:
1. Wild birds can carry disease which may be passed to your chicken flock.
2. Wild birds will mow down your chicken feed. For reals. It felt like I was refilling my chicken feeder non-stop last summer. Adding a flock of 20 sparrows will do a number on your feed supply, and considering how I’m feeding a lovely non-GMO, custom-blended feed (my recipe is available in my Natural Homestead book), I didn’t really feel like sharing.
My Crazy Solution for Keeping Wild Birds Out of a Chicken Coop
When I started looking for a way to solve my sparrow problem, all the advice seemed pretty, well, blah…
Folks suggested just keeping the coop doors closed all the time (my hens would be furious..) or only offering a very small amount of feed, multiple times per day, to avoid thievery from wild birds. (I’m way too lazy to keep up with that sort of program.)
Neither of those options satisfied me, so I dug deeper.
And found my solution in the form of… (are you ready for this? It’s pretty high-tech…)
CDs and baling twine.
Oh yeah, baby.
Now do you see why I warn folks before they enter my coop? It’s kinda weird.
Of course, I was entirely skeptical at first that it would even work, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.
I dug through my CD (yes, as in compact-disc) collection to find any old, scratched ones that no longer played. I tied a length of baling twine through the hole, and attached the other end to the ceiling of my coop, and voila!
High tech sparrow-stoppers.
Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart.
But Do they Work?
Yes, yes, yes! It looks bizarre, but it works! Within 24 hours of me hanging my CD/twine contraptions, the sparrows were gone. And they didn’t come back.
I’m guessing the birds don’t like the shiny, swaying objects hanging haphazardly from the ceiling, which is why it’s a successful deterrent.
I tested the theory by removing the CDs for a while. Sure enough, the sparrows returned, only to disappear again once I rehung them.
So yeah, I look like a homesteader-gal who’s completely lost her marbles when you walk into my coop, but I don’t care. I no longer have to duck and dive when I check my chickens, and my feed supply is lasting way longer.
And that, my friends, is what you call a good old-fashioned, homestead hack. 🙂
Pssst. Like weird little tips like this one? Every week I send out a email with 4-5 of my favorite tips of the week. It usually includes a recipe or two, animal stuff, and crazy findings like this one. I call it the Homestead Toolbox. It’s 100% free, and you can sign up for it HERE.
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