I don’t know what kind of unwanted yard visitors you get, but here, we get lots. We get deer, black bears, chipmunks, weasels, rabbits, skunks, snakes and foxes. I guess that’s what happens when you have a large field and back onto forested land.
The thing is we don’t want to have to kill or trap the animals that venture to far into the yard. We also don’t want to have to use chemicals around the yard and pose a risk to our kids, domestic and farm animals and our growing food.
So here are the ten methods we use to deter the unwanted guests:
1. Location, we have strategically place our gardens and plants close to our house and outbuildings. Our regular activities and lingering smells keep some of the larger animals like bears and deer at bay.
2. Fencing, Jon erected a fence around the gardens to deter unwanted visitors. The fence around the gardens stand approximately 5 feet tall with the raised bed base. The base of the raised bed and the garden lining keeps the smaller pests away. The fencing should be higher for deer (approximately 7 feet) but we’ll see how it goes with this height so close to the house. We use 1 inch hexagonal chicken wire which also discourages the smaller pests.
3. Ornaments, we get lots of wind at our place from the south. We use that to our advantage and hang wind chimes around the house, gardens and in some of the trees. Animals do not like the sound of metal on metal. I’ve included a few links to the ones I like from amazon.
4. Plants, deer have a strong sense of smell, which attracts them to gardens in the first place. Who can resist the smell of fresh beans, peas and carrots? We plant some strong smelling plants that the deer do not like around the garden to keep them away. Some of the plants we have are:
· Bleeding hear
· Lemon balm
· Nasturtium (for rabbits)
5. Dogs, or cats in our case. Our dog is a husky and far too friendly with visitors so he doesn’t guard our property very well, but our cats do. Our cats are excellent hunters, both male and very territorial despite being fixed. They have so far not been deterred by any animal that comes onto the property including running off tom cats and foxes.
6. Harvesting as soon as possible. A great way to keep black bears away is to get rid of the fruit. Harvest your fruit as soon as it is ripe and removed all fruit from the ground and get rid of it. If there is no fruit, there is no reason for the bears to come around.
7. Keep the yard clean, remove all food remnants and keep the garbage all cleaned up and secure. This includes keeping strong smelling foods out of the compost bin. I don’t put fruit into my compost bin until it has already started to decompose. A way to hide the smell of food in the compost is by putting dried leaves or shavings on the food to hide the smell.
8. If you have animals, secure their food. Dog and cat food and farm animal feed should be secured at all times. This will stop bears and some of the smaller animals like skunks and chipmunks from getting into the feed. We learned early that a metal garbage bin is the way to go. Animals will naw their way into a plastic bin eventually.
9. Keep hobby farm animals secure especially at night. I can’t count how many nocturnal attacks we’ve had from weasels, foxes and skunks on our chickens despite a secure building and what we thought was a secure fence. Keep your chickens in a secure coop at night, don’t leave them outside or the wildlife will come knocking on the door.
10. Lighting, motion detection and solar lighting help with deterring animals as well. It gives the impression of human activity and animals will think twice about coming too close.