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Crows

 
Posts: 264
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We have a healthy and noisy population of crows here. It doesn't seem like an enormous number. I only see a half dozen or less at a time. But we are the only real agricultural area in the area. They come and eat our melons and whatever else interests them. The university students are working hard to develop a successful agronomy program that will sustain the kitchen needs as well as bring in some money to the program.

The issue is that we're working on the smallest of budgets . . . Even non-existent . . . Are there ways to effectively fight the crows with a minimal budget? Perhaps feeding them to the students? Ha.

I have a slingshot on it's way to discourage the goats and stray dogs. Perhaps that would do the trick? Get the neighborhood kids to hunt them for supper?
 
steward
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Have you tried scarecrows?  I've only had the slightest bit of experience with them but it worked to keep my tiny oat patch from being eaten before it sprouted.
 
Priscilla Stilwell
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Mike Jay wrote:Have you tried scarecrows?  I've only had the slightest bit of experience with them but it worked to keep my tiny oat patch from being eaten before it sprouted.



Yes, the students put three in the corn patch when these other birds were taking strips of the leaves to build their nests. I was not worried since they eat lots of bugs and benefit us much more than they damage. I'll suggest they move them to the melon patch. Good idea! Plus, I hear crows are tough.
 
pollinator
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We use cut up pieces of old black hoses. Got to move them periodically. Went from losing >1/2 the tomatoes to almost none from crows. Lost them from stink bugs but that’s another story...
 
Mike Jay
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So you laid them around to simulate snakes?  And moved them so the crows didn't figure it out?
 
Tj Jefferson
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Yes sorry that’s not clear. I’m on my phone working on the computer issues. Super fun
 
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Aluminum pie pans on a string work for me.  Eagle decoys work foe a lot of pests also.  Drive a stake about 3' tall into the ground.  Tie a black trash bag to a small white trash bag and then to the stake.  Move around periodically.
 
Priscilla Stilwell
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We get tons of tin cans! I bet that plus plastic sacks would maybe do the trick! Time to do some experiments! :)

Don't want to scare away the good birds that eat the bad bugs though, so that's a predicament. Though we also have tons of lizards, so maybe they would take care of the bug population?
 
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This method is a little gross, but it works: Kill a couple of them, and hang the bodies where the others will see. Crows are intelligent animals, and they recognize their dead. At first, they will make one of the creepiest sounds you could ever hear while they mourn the loss of their flock-mates. Then, they'll stay far far away from where the bodies were hung, often for years, because they know it could have just as easily been them.

Personally, I prefer the fake snake method. Move the hose pieces at least once a day, so that they're at a 90-degree angle from where they were. If a snake holds still for too long, the crows will figure out its not a threat. One that moves is always a threat.
 
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:This method is a little gross, but it works: Kill a couple of them, and hang the bodies where the others will see. Crows are intelligent animals, and they recognize their dead. At first, they will make one of the creepiest sounds you could ever hear while they mourn the loss of their flock-mates. Then, they'll stay far far away from where the bodies were hung, often for years, because they know it could have just as easily been them.



I would caution against this approach, crows are intelligent enough to hold a grudge. In a valley I used to live in one large farm was anyways struggling to move distractions around to keep the crows at bay and when I asked them why they didn't just shoot some they told me the tale of their old neighbor who shot some crows and put them on stakes on his fence. He then proceeded to be the only farm in the valley beset by crows until he finally retired and moved away and the crows slowly spread back to the neighboring farms
 
Priscilla Stilwell
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Or I could just kill all of them . . . Haha
 
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I hate crows.

I live in an area thick with coyotes and yet the only predator loss I have ever had on my sheep farm was from a crow. A newborn lamb was just born, and the crow pecked the bloody umbilical cord and thus killed the lamb.

The beauty of shooting crows is that you only need to kill a few of them, and the rest of them stay away. Crows are some of the smartest birds out there. They understand being dead.
 
Tj Jefferson
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While I have not yet done so, we actually have crow season and you can hunt them. I dislike killing something I’m not going to eat however and I eat enough crow at work...
 
gardener
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So sorry to hear that crows are a problem for you.  I have crow gatherings daily in my forest garden and it's so wonderful.  They gather as a group and discuss God knows what for a while and then they all take off to do their other crow things.  I've actually never seen any damage from them.  I have no idea why.  Perhaps I just grow so much stuff that I don't notice???  Maybe they like me as much as I like them???  Crows are very intelligent wonderful birds in my opinion.  

If they go after your corn the standard advice is to plant it deeper so the seed is spent when the corn comes up.  Then they won't bother them.  If they are a problem for your melons then perhaps pick another crop they don't like so much.  I'm just never a fan of killing wildlife.  There's so little left that I think protecting them is more important than loosing a crop here or there.  For me my forest garden is an ark (for the plants as well as for wildlife) as much as it's a resilient food source for me.  Here's a shocking reality, granted not counting birds:

Just makes me very sad.
 
Greg Martin
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A quick read to demonstrate that crows use language and work with tools.  I suspect that crows can become valuable allies if they adopt you as one of their tribe.  Perhaps I've been adopted and that's why they gather at my place but don't damage my crops?
 
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Crows remember faces and hold grudges.
 
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Personally I would never consider killing a crow...I feel bad enough killing a few insects here and there during farming

I can understand it's frustrating when they are damaging your produce after such hard work, though.

Is there any way you can afford to buy some cover/mesh and try sticking some wires in the ground to act as supports like a mini hoop house? Just use landscaping stakes to make sure it stays put. If you have a large garden area that may be difficult though.

I have seen some others use pinwheels in the garden, or anything that wind causes noise/motion.

Hang a few lines across the area like a clothes line and put different color shirts. etc. on it to blow around...they might think its a busy human crowd and stay away???
 
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