The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Helium balloon crow deterrent

Helium crow deterrent

On the farm where our movie-star neighbor lives, crows are one of the worst problems in the garden.  Sure, our neighbors battle deer like we do, but their farm is less wooded, so the four-leggers aren't quite so ornery.  On the other hand, their garden plots are further from their houses, so critters that we never see a problem with move right in to eat.  Specifically, sprouting corn kernels are plucked right out of the ground by ornery crows on a regular basis.

For the last couple of years, our neighbors have used helium balloons as crow deterrents with pretty good success.  Our movie-star neighbor invested in a weather balloon last year, which kept its helium for quite a long time, but even these cheap supermarket balloons can last for a week or two in the garden.

If you battle crows in the garden, what strategies do you use to keep the corvids at bay?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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In the UK we are encouraged not to use helium in balloons etcetera as it is a finite resource.
Comment by Anonymous Thu May 22 09:05:39 2014


I had success against birds in my garden by building a "fence" around it using the magnetic tape from an old VCR movie. I simply put rebar at each corner of the garden and then used the magnetic tape as the runners of the fence. It was simplicity to just wind the tape directly from the spool from one rebar to the next.

The tape itself, though black, is quite reflective and so light-weight that the smallest breeze makes it spin crazily. The birds tended to give it a wide berth and left my vegetables alone. The squirrels, however, were not impressed in the least and ruined every single tomato. Sigh.



Comment by Bobby Nations Thu May 22 11:05:09 2014

I also have a terrible time with crows. The reflective tape works somewhat, as does stringing fishing line above the garden. However, I found the only way to keep them out of my garden is with a very lightweight net suspended over the majority of my garden. The coverage doesn't have to be 100%, the crows really dislike being under nets.

And Japanese farming wisdom says that if you kill a crow, string it up by its neck and it will keep two generations of crows away. I believe that is the same method that Robinson Crusoe used as well.

The only problem is how to get a crow in a country where (almost) nobody has a gun. Do you know how hard it is to hit a crow with a slingshot?

Comment by Eric Burke Thu May 22 19:48:42 2014

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