Most of us love animals and would not wish to cause harm or death to them, no matter the circumstance. However, there are times when their presence might cause some conflict with our ways of living. But that doesn’t mean we have to hurt them. There is more than one way to stop foxes or coyotes from harming the wild birds, rabbits, or even pets in your yard rather than simply killing them, and you can protect your vegetable patch from hungry pigeons and rabbits too.
Once we learn how we can implement simple yet effective methods of preventing these conflicts with wild animals, we can continue to live alongside them in peace, without the need for stress or bloodshed. These options are economical too – once built, they last a long time if properly maintained, and are cheaper than constantly replacing flowers, vegetables, or other items lost to wildlife. They will also keep animals well protected; nothing can compare to the feeling of knowing your beloved friends are safe from harm.
Properly predator-proofing your garden or enclosure might take extra effort in the beginning, but it ensures other animals you might have invited into your backyard are protected from harm, so long as you maintain the enclosure.
If you have created a bird feeding station or leave out tidbits for hedgehogs or other small critters, consider creating an enclosure with a concrete bottom, to prevent predators from digging a tunnel under a simple fence to reach their prey. You can put fence around the concrete with openings large enough for small animals to get through – but not so large that a coyote could wiggle in.
If a concrete base is not suitable, another alternative that will help prevent animals from digging into your enclosure is to create a wire apron buried into the ground. Digging a 12” trench around the perimeter of your enclosure and laying wire into the ground will stop predators from getting under your enclosure fences, and having a good apron of wire around the perimeter will cause virtually all animals to give up digging, as they are unable to work out how to get around this obstacle. Predators will dig where the fence meets the ground, but the apron extends this wall much further than the actual pen, out-foxing the foxes!
2. Protecting Your Garden
Many keen people with a green-thumb have lost a plant or several to hungry wildlife, be it the carrot tops lost to birds in your vegetable patch, or your prized roses lost to hungry slugs. Luckily, there are a lot of prevention techniques out there, so we can forget about harsh insecticides, setting traps and calling the pest controller.
One great method is to use raised beds to plant your vegetables in, and flowers can be planted here too for a beautiful display. Raised beds help to keep insects such as slugs out and protect your plants from the cold, but they have the added benefit of deterring rabbits from entering and eating your produce, as they are reluctant to leave the ground where they are less easily spotted by aerial predators. Certain flowers and herbs naturally deter wildlife. By planting onions, chives, garlics, marigolds, rosemary, peppermint and lavender around your flower bed and vegetable patches, you can help repel species such as deer, rabbits, mice and squirrels, while attracting a wider variety of beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.
Adding mulch to your crops may also help to deter wild animals from digging there and eating them, as well as providing plenty of nourishment to growing plants. Areas around plants and vegetable rows that are uncovered and mulched will prevent rabbits, mice and other small creatures from passing through, due to the feeling of being exposed with nowhere to hide. Floating row covers are another great repellent, as they are fine enough to allow water and sunlight to penetrate the plants below, but help to keep animals and insects out.
This next alternative, for defeating groundhogs and similar pests who climb fences, sounds fun and is pretty cheap to set up. Where solid fences and walls are a must for most protective barriers, installing a “floppy fence” is a humane way to deter these climbers. The idea is to secure the fence tightly at the bottom to the barrier you are protecting, but allow the top two to three feet to hang loose. The result is that the groundhog’s weight as he climbs will cause the fence to sag, getting him nowhere.
3. Natural Repellents
There are several methods aside from growing certain plants that can be employed to keep slugs, aphids and other pests from eating your garden. Sprinkling cayenne pepper on and around target plants deters many insects from approaching, and scattering chunky mulch or spiny plants at the base of plants will discourage soft-bodied slugs and snails from getting close to them. Mixing a concoction of washing up liquid with an ounce of hot sauce and spraying on plants which have been nibbled on will prevent deer and rabbits from doing so again. You can also a hang a bar of smelly soap from branches or fence posts – the smell keeps many animals away, and the rain and humidity outside helps to keep the soap damp and fragrant.
With these tips in mind, you can create a healthy, thriving yard that doesn’t require resorting to any extreme or harmful measures. Got any other ideas, Green Monsters? Tell us in the comments!
Lead image source: Steve K/Flickr