Wildlife on Your Farm
It is widely known that wildlife on your farm can damage agricultural crops and harm livestock. Wildlife ruins pastures, infrastructure and equipment. Wildlife also spread diseases and insects. There are several methods used to reduce the impact of wildlife on agricultural enterprises. These include: fencing, repellents, scare tactics, habitat modification, netting and trapping.
First of all, woven wire fencing and electric fencing are the two most common fence designs. They are both effective in preventing the intrusion of unwanted wildlife on your farm and protecting crops.
Most importantly, if using electric fencing, be sure to post warning signs anywhere that may get pedestrian traffic.
Use natural repellents like plants, animals and natural products. These are offensive to wildlife on your farm and are preferable to using chemical repellents.
Scare Tactics for Wildlife on Your Farm
Various devices are used to scare wildlife away from crop land, livestock and farm animals. Generate noise either continuously or intermittently as a scare tactic.
Using audible sounds like propane-fired cannons and broadcasting distress, alarm and predator bird calls will unsettle birds. Other common methods include: a shell launcher orchard pistol, people clapping their hands, banging pails and blowing air horns etc.
Furthermore, visual devices such as inflated owls or other fake predators, kites with the likeness of predatory birds, Mylar strips or flash tape are reliable deterrents.
Moreover, bear in mind that using a variety of scare tactics intermittently is most effective. Be conscious of using scare tactics in such a way that the wildlife will not become too used to them.
Therefore, farmers need to monitor wildlife habits and crop damage being inflicted to develop an integrated wildlife management plan.
Above all, be considerate of neighbors by operating noise devices between dawn and dusk only. This will reduce the impact of the noisemakers on neighbors. Also, noise devices should only be used when required for the protection of specific crops and if a problem exists.
Certainly, using scare devices can be disturbing to neighbors. For this reason, the Ministry has revised the guidelines for the use of audible bird scare devices. They are divided into two main categories. Category ‘A’ bird scare devices create an impulse sound from impacts or explosions. Category ‘B’ are any other stationary devices which generate sounds to scare birds. Devices that broadcast bird calls or other sounds through loudspeakers are Category ‘B’. Firearms and shell launchers such as orchard pistols are not included. Farmers are permitted to use devices for the protection of crops between May 15 and November 15.
To avoid encouraging wildlife, access to food, water and shelter should be reduced or eliminated. Removing weeds and plant debris, and eliminating hiding places for breeding are effective deterrents to wildlife.
Be sure to reduce water retention that can turn into ponds. Use land leveling and contouring. This will reduce the number of birds being attracted to a field. Screen pens that contain fur bearing animals to avoid birds being attracted.
Netting & Trapping of Wildlife on Your Farm
In conclusion, it may be necessary to remove certain species or specific animals that are causing damage to crops or livestock. However, removal of wildlife must be done in accordance with the Wildlife Act as well as other relevant provincial and/or federal legislation.
Finally, farmers should take all reasonable steps to protect their crops or livestock from wildlife damage. Do this before applying for permits to remove or kill problem wildlife. Consult the Ministry of Environment for more information about the Wildlife Act.