Monday, February 6, 2017

Crows, Crows, Go Away...


I've written about them they are such a nuisance to farmers. They scavenge just about anything, sometimes harmlessly, but sometimes they cause damage to growing crops or in this case to already preserved feed.  Here's a post written almost exactly two years ago about how they can damage a silage ag bag.

We don't put out silage ag bags any more, but we regularly have round bales of hay wrapped in plastic which are stored along the edge of the fields.  Jim then brings them into the barn as we need them.

Over the past couple of years, we've had problems with numerous animals damaging the bags.  We've had cats using them as scratching posts, and this year the damage has been from crows!

We've seen large flocks of them in the fields around us over the past few weeks, and last week we discovered that they'd been having a feast on some bales that we had stored along the edge of a field on some rental property.

This bale is laying on it's side now, but you can see all the tape that is covering up crow damage.  If you can imagine the bale rotated 90% counter clockwise, this would have been the top of the bale.  The birds sat on top and pecked away through the plastic until they reached the hay underneath. Once air gets inside the bag, spoiling begins quickly.  You can see near the middle of the picture, a hole that was either made after I initially taped the bale up, or one that I missed.  I think probably the birds came back because there was another hole pecked right through a piece of tape. Grrr...

They also sat on the ground around the bags and pecked away at "crow level"...anywhere from 8" - 12" from the ground.

This is one of the bales right after Jim opened it up...

You can see a bit of mold in the center right side of the picture.  Thankfully, Jim caught the damage pretty early, and the mold seems to be only on the first few outside layers.  A few days later and the bale could have been pretty seriously damaged, and into the gutters it would go, wasted.

I'm thinking back a few years to when flocks of crows were hanging around the local shopping mall, creating dirty messes on shoppers' cars and on the roof of the building.  In a letter to the editor in the newspaper, someone suggested that "the crows be sent out into the country into the farm fields where they could live in peace".

Hmmmmm....I'm glad that wasn't even a realistic option!


  1. Alicia,

    When I was a kid, my Dad work for a registered Angus breeder in Nebraska. We would have crow issues too. So many crows that they would drive the bulls away from the bunk and eat the feed ration.

    One year a man from Wisconsin came and asked to observe the crows. He was a retired CIA Agent or he worked in a penitentiary. Anyway in retirement he took to tracking the migration of crows. I don't remember him, but Mom and Dad said he was a fascinating man.

    Good Luck with your destructive bird battle.

  2. My sympathy. It's easy to imagine the origin of the Aussie expression "Stone the crows".

  3. Good luck with the crows. I know they are trouble!


  4. I feel your frustration at the pesky crows Alica... Yes the crows can really cost farmers a lot of money in wasted feed and crops. We used to grow big fields of corn for our dairy cows and had to stop because the crows damaged the corn so bad by pecking open the top and eating a bit and go to the next one and do the same. The rain would enter the corn and spoil it. Corn seeds are very costly as well as the fertilizer and labour, diesel and machinery. It wasn't worth it for us. The raccoons or the corn worms did a lot of damage as well.

  5. Wow, what a pain having to go and tape over any openings. I didn't realize that crows could be such a problem to bales. I guess I only thought of crops still in the field. -Jenn

  6. I didn't know they did that kind of damage. I know we have a couple around here who think they own the place, but that is pretty destructive. I hope they find some place else to live.

  7. We have flocks of them out here, but we really don't have anything they can damage. Sounds like they address a real pain for you.

  8. I too hate a ruined bale of hay! We will dump ours on the compost pile if there is mold and the heat kills any spores. A year later we'll use it on our gardens, but still, wasted feed makes me see red. Funny things about crows, when I'm in Ireland I find them romantic, but here in the US just a plain annoyance. But then again, I don't own a farm in Ireland!

  9. The tropical fish farmers here in Florida can buy fire works year round to shot off over the fish ponds. Tropical fish are raised in outside ponds here and the birds dive in the ponds and can clean out the small fish in a matter of hours.


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