What are some options for controlling wildlife damage to my market garden?
Rhode IslandAnswer: Thank you for your recent request for information from ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. I am pleased to provide you with information on wildlife damage management for market gardeners and farmers.
Motion-Activated Sprinkler Devices
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, infrared motion sensors and/or timers can be used to trigger scare devices, which can scare away deer. Flashing and strobe lights, and water sprayers or sprinklers activated by motion sensors, or set on timers, can also deter deer. Motion-activated water sprayers, triggered by infrared or motion sensors, can prevent deer from getting used to them, and can repel deer.Sources
Wildlife Control SuppliesSmartHome USA
Control measures for squirrels include exclusion, alternative food sources, repellants, trapping, and shooting. No toxicants or fumigants are labeled for use in controlling tree squirrels.Exclusion Methods
• 1 inch wire mesh fence with electric wire running along the top.
• 2 to 3 inch PVC pipe split lengthwise and placed over telephone and other wires to provide an unstable surface to inhibit squirrel movement.
• Wrap trees and posts with 2 foot wide metal flashing.
Box and cage traps can be baited with orange, apple, walnuts, or pecans removed from the shell, and peanut butter. Transporting squirrels is problematic due to the stress of movement to a new habitat.Repellants
Capsaicin is the chemical in hot peppers that cause the burning sensation when eaten. The easiest and cheapest way to use this chemical is to purchase ground cayenne pepper at the grocery store and sprinkle it liberally in the vegetable beds. It is also effective at deterring other small animals as well.Alternative Food Sources
You can provide alternative food sources such as shelled corn in feeders located at a distance away from the wire-enclosed garden.
For control methods and fencing design solutions I first suggest you read the ATTRA publication Deer Control Options. You can access this publication online at:
http://www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/deercontrol.pdf.Other great resources for control options include:
DeNicola, Anthony J., Kurt C. VerCauteren, Paul D. Curtis, and Scott E. Hygnstrom. Managing White-Tailed Deer in Suburban Environments: A Technical Guide. Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Wildlife Society?Wildlife Damage Management Working Group, and the Northeast Wildlife Damage Research and Outreach Cooperative.
This publication includes an appendix on Deer Damage Control Supplies and Materials. I highly recommend this publication. Craven, Scott R. and Scott E. Hygnstrom. 1994. Deer, in Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, Gary E. Larson. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2 vols. http://icwdm.org/handbook/mammals/mam_d25.pdfO’Dell, Charlie. 1997. Low-Cost Slant Fence Excludes Deer from Plantings. Virginia Cooperative Extension.
http://www.wildlifemanagement.info/files/deer_9.pdfMasters, Ron, Paul Mitchell, and Steve Dobbs. Ornamental and Garden Plants: Controlling Deer Damage. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension.
Rene M. Bollengier, Jr. 1994. Woodchucks, in Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, Gary E. Larson. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2 vols.
http://icwdm.org/handbook/allPDF/RO_B183.PDFThe above publication (enclosed) addresses fencing for groundhog exclusion. I have also included a paper on rabbit control. One idea is to utilize a groundhog control fence integrated into your deer fence by placing woven wire against your deer fence and bury the lower edge 10 to 12 inches in the ground or bend the lower edge at an L-shaped angle leading outward and bury it in the ground 1 to 2 inches.
Suppliers of electric fencing materials
Use fencing system catalogs to compare prices and get an idea of the products and techniques available in fencing systems. Several companies have toll-free numbers and will send you catalogs for free. In addition, some companies offer free installation manuals you can download from their Web site. A list of major suppliers follows. If you call for a catalog, ask about dealers or company representatives in your area. These people can sometimes give you a better deal than the company itself and may provide some practical consultation.Gallagher Power Fence
Gallagher POWER FENCE Manual
Gallagher Wildlife Management
http://www.gallagherusa.com/wildlife.default.aspx Kencove Farm Fence
www.kencove.com/fence Pasture Management Systems, Inc.
www.pasturemgmt.com Premier 1 Fence Supplies
www.premier1supplies.com Speedrite Agri-Systems
Suppliers of poly deer fencing materials
Kencove Farm Fence
www.kencove.com/fence Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply
http://www.groworganic.com/default.html?welcome=T&theses=5202079Organic Growers Supply, Fedco Coop Garden Supplies
References and ResourcesJackson, Jeffrey J. 1994. Tree Squirrels, in Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Edited by Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, and Gary E. Larson. Cooperative Extension Division Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Deer Damage Management Techniques.
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/ddmtintro.asp Pierce, Robert A. II. 2007. Tree Squirrels: Managing Habitat and Controlling Damage. University of Missouri.