Does anyone know of a remedy to keep birds out of an open-sided machine shed? I've heard of various ideas, from hanging ballons to electronic emitting devices, wondering if any work before spending time and money.
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I haven't heard of any solutions either. Maybe the key is to deny a roosting place. For example, nail up fine chicken wire or hardware cloth under the bottom chord. It might be a nuisance to block every single crack and cranny they could get into.
A local seed dealer has used the hanging balls with large "eyes" on them for years. I've never seen any birds in his buildings, although they aren't open-sided. The doors are open most of the time when the store is open, though. I haven't seen any ads in the back of the farm magazines for the balls lately. I have a newspaper clipping with a website: pestdetour.com. I just looked at it, and they have all sorts of products to scare or deter birds. Their scare eyes aren't balls; they're more like bags, kind of shaped like cattle dust bags, with an eye on them. Take a look.
There's some type of electronic device that emits a sound or pulse of some sort that keeps the birds from coming close to the opening. I don't know if it would work for a large, long opening such as an open faced shed or not or if you would need more than one, and if you have power to the shed. I built a Jiffy-Lube a couple of years ago, and they always leave the overhead bay doors open in warmer weather, and birds are often a problem. They spec-ed a screen type of rolling door frame that would keep out birds and wandering customers, but the employees would either forget to roll it into position or didn't take the time to do it. About a year after I built the building, they had a low-voltage electrical contractor install that device and it seems to work well because they have had them installed on their other locations that I've done work on since.
I just had the oil changed a couple of weeks ago in the truck, and will swing by there for another oil change in another truck in a few weeks. I'll get the name of the device and post it back here if you would like.
Other than that, maybe put some chicken wire on the underside of the trusses like Jim said, or an idea that I've used in the past for shop doors that are left open for air circulation is to make like a hanging screen door from the opening horizontally that's on hinges. You can raise it up by a rope, or let it dangle so if something hits it it will swing with the object hitting it. It can hang down as low as you want it so that birds have to swoop real low to get under it, and if the opening is real big they won't. It's a pretty good deterrent and you must paint some stripes on it so they can see it. I used white paint and painted angled stripes on it, and it hung down to approximately 10' from the floor so that it would clear their forklifts, but if they would hit it, it would swing away.
We tried the ballons that look like a giant eye and can tell you they don't work. Birds grow accustom to them very quickly. We also tried the metal wands that you fill with a liquid poison and did not care for them. No like handling the stuff and you never refill them as often as you should.
I have not tried the electronic emitters for birds but did try one years ago from the local REC that was supposed to keep mice away and it was not very effective.
One method I have heard of but have not tried is to string lots fishing line up in the rafter area attached at both ends and strung tight. Birds supposedly have a hard time seeing it and do not like flying into it. Might be a cheap method to try.
Also saw in a magazine where a farmer made for easy access to the rafter area for his cats and even put cat food up there which he claimed helped keep birds out of his shed.
Wonder if posting a couple of those plastic owls around would help. I've read they get used to almost anything you do if it's not moved around, though.
This link is kind of interesting, and has good info on getting them out of structures further down the page. http://www.urbanwildlifesociety.org/UWS/BrdCtrl/BrdsDmgCtrlKSU.html
Hardware cloth or chicken wire may be too narrow to span between shed trusses...I've used the poly bird netting, which comes in huge rolls from FARMTEK. It should be light enough to put up with a staple gun. Might have to come up with some sort of clip or tiefor metal trusses. If you call them and ask, I bet they've got something appropriate.
Please let us know what you figure out.
On occasion I have sat in the machinery shed armed with a .22 rifle loaded up with bird shot shells. It won't penetrate the roof or siding and makes for cheap entertainment on a rainy day.
there is a product called avitrol that makes birds sick or kills them. after a couple get sick they all stop staying in the building. it has to mixed on something like cracked corn and put in the refters in some type of pan. It also needs to be refilled or changed about every month or two. It will not kill pets. It does not work on birds like barn swallows that eat only insects. Not sure if it is a restrcted use product. I had a pest control co. do it for many years to keep starling and sparrows out of hog buildings. i googled avitrol and it apparently is still available. hope this helps.
We have an open sided machine shed and the plastic owl works wonderfully. Every now and then we change the location of it, but usually the birds will fly in, see the thing and then fly back out and not return. When we put up the grain leg last year, the starlings came to roost and crap all over, but now that the owl is wired to the top of the leg the birds leave it alone.