Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by fowltemptress, May 12, 2008.

  1. fowltemptress

    fowltemptress Frugal Fan Club President

    Jan 20, 2008
    I wanted to post this and see if anyone else does the same thing to control those pesky sparrows that love to steal chicken food.
    The last few times we've moved, the same thing happens. The coop is set up, chickens are let loose, and sparrows dominate the bird population. This only lasts for a few months, though . . . long enough for my bird feeders to be noticed by the song birds.
    As long as I only put out black oil sunflower seeds, fruit and nut mixes, suet, and things like that, the song birds move in and push the sparrows out, to the point that I NEVER see sparrows around. Since the song birds, unlike the sparrows, show little to no interest in my chicken area, I find this situation ideal. When I suggested this to my mother, she put up feeders, but was still plagued with sparrows. When I told her to do away with the mixed seeds that contained corn, her sparrow problem practically disappeared.
    I know some people are against feeding the wild song birds, for reasons such as it creates an unnatural abundance of birds in one area, they could contaminate the chickens, etc. As for the unnatural numbers, animals are always going to congregate more in areas that have a more abundant food source, and I'd rather those creatures be song birds at my bird feeders than sparrows at my chicken feeders. I keep my feeders in a separate area from my chickens, and since the song birds show little to no interest in flitting about a coop and run the way sparrows do, I find that my risk of contamination is decreased once I put feeders up.
    I would like to say that if you do use feeders, please leave them up year round. Too many people remove theirs in the winter, when the non migratory birds that have come to depend on the feeders being there need it the most. I also do not put up hummingbird feeders, as I do not trust myself to clean the feeders often enough to avoid the problems associated with feeding hummingbirds. Instead, I plant flowers specifically for them.
    I'm not sure if this will always positively work against sparrows, but I just thought I'd post how I deal with them. I wish I had some reputable scientific article I could quote to back me up, but the best I can say is, the one time money was too tight for me to consider feeding anything other than my own animals, the sparrows came back and I rarely saw a songbird. When I started filling bird feeders again, the sparrows disappeared and the song birds were once again heckling each other over their chosen territories and ignoring my chicken feed.
  2. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    The English house sparrow and European starling are both non-native species that were brought to NY Central Park in the late 1800's along with all the other European birds that are mentioned in Shakespear, all expenses paid for by an eccentric millionair fan of Shakespear. The only two species to survive were the cavity-nesting, super-aggressive English house sparrow and European starling. Within 25 years they were all the way to California, killing native cavity nesting birds in their wake and taking all the natural woodpecker holes.
    They are the ONLY two yard birds that are not protected by law; the government agencies encourage their being destroyed by shooting and/or trapping. This sounds awful to someone who has never seen what they do to bluebirds' and purple martins' babies, eggs, and nests. One experience with them killing your bluebirds and/or purple martins and you too will/would declare war.
    BTW, the English house sparrow is not really a sparrow at all; it's a weaver finch. There are many, many species of beautiful, gentle, true sparrows, so if you're going to join the war on "house sparrows", be SURE you know what they look like, male and female.
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I ALWAYS have feeders up and ready to be's more of a supplement to the natural foods than they're only food source.

    The closest Sparrows have come to eating the chicken food was a pair that was sitting in the mountain laurel outside my back door looking for Penny...They sat until I said that Penny had died and thanks for coming by...and they flew off.
  4. fowltemptress

    fowltemptress Frugal Fan Club President

    Jan 20, 2008
    I had heard about that ill advised plan to honor Shakespeare by importing every breed mentioned in his plays . . . people can be horribly short sighted. Those sparrows are just awful creatures (in America. In Europe they're just dandy).
  5. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    It looks like I'll have a natural sparrow deterent (other than my cats) since I started letting the new chickies out. My chicks' hatch dates range from feb 28 - March 13 of this year. Last weekend we started letting them out to free range a bit. I threw a bit of corn and feed out to encourage a little foraging. The sparrows came, and were immediately run off by 3 particular chicks (2 white leghorns and a california white) that seemed particularly hostile to sparrows. The giants, silkies, red jungle fowl and brown sex-link didn't seem to mind the intrusion, but those little white girls did a pretty good job keeping the sparrows away.

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