Starlings!

With the prolonged spell of cold plus snow cover across Ohio, starlings and similar pests are once again a problem on livestock farms. Nuisance birds are particularly troublesome on farms which have exposed feed in feeders and bunks that these pests can easily get to.

Not only can these birds carry and transmit disease, but they consume expensive feed. As Steve Boyles described last year, an average starling weighing 85 grams can consume over 2 pounds of feed in a 30-day period. Commonly seeing a 1,000 or more starlings at a feed bunk in the kind of weather we are experiencing can add up to more than a ton of feed lost to birds in only a month’s time!

The best approach to controlling nuisance birds usually involves employing a combination of techniques including exclusion, scare tactics, shooting, repellants and toxicants. For detail on how to employ each of these control measures as well as a list of labeled control materials, visit the USDA-APHIS publication titled European Starlings or their on-line Wildlife Damage Management page.

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