Kathi D

11 Years
May 19, 2008
I have a flock that is eating the chicken food, which is bad enough. But I have had my first infestation of red mites in the nest boxes, which I blame on the starlings, and now I am finding broken and eaten eggs!

Am I correct in thinking the starlings might have brought the red mites? And how do I get rid of them? I put those shiny strips all around, that supposedly scare birds away, and all they did was scare the hens, the starlings don't mind them a bit.
Ugh... I hate starlings. They push our native birds out of their nests and take over. They are so destructive and aggressive. I'd say it's possible the mites came from them. Wild birds can carry lots of yucky stuff. Just try to keep the feed cleaned up the best you can or relocate it somehow to throw them off. Shoo them away every time you see them! Or maybe put one of those plastic owls nearby to keep them away
Starlings are a terrible invasive species here in the USA. They are, of course, only doing what is natural for them-- they are opportunistic. But they are really doing a number on our native birds.

Anyhow, there are three options I know of in this situation. If folks have other options maybe they can share. One thing I'd suggest never doing is using a poison.

You can shoot them or have someone else shoot them, if firing a pellet gun is legal in your area (check your laws). They aren't stupid birds and you don't need to kill them all for them to learn to avoid the area. This will sound really weird, but people eat other wild bird species... if you live in a more rural area and you know the starlings are eating a good diet (i.e. not human trash), they are actually pretty good with a slice of bacon wrapped around the breast and cooked.

You can trap them live-- they make some really nice starling traps these days. The problem with this method is that you will need to dispatch them after trapping them. Releasing them just makes them trap-smart, and transporting them doesn't do much as they can fly long distances, and it may be illegal. It would certainly be irresponsible, as well, given that they are invasive.

You can move your chicken feed indoors (inside the coop) ... this usually deters them. If this does not deter them OR if you cannot move the feed inside, the only way to keep them from it that I know of is to keep your chicken in a run and cover the run with hardware cloth.

Best wishes!

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