Starlings in Feedlots

By The Old House Web

Starlings in Feedlots

The European Starling introduced to the United States from Europe at the turn of the century, now occurs in every state. In many Michigan areas, they stay through the winter, but when the ground is frozen or snow-covered, they are denied their natural food sources. Then they turn to livestock feeds. A hundred starlings may consume as much as 6 to 7 lb., of food a day. Population Reduction

Exclusion is impossible in most feedlots and repulsion fails in winter because the starlings depend upon the livestock feed to survive. Thus the only effective control is lethal control.

To eliminate starlings from feedlots, use Starlicide, a commercial bait which contains chloro-p-toluidine. It is more toxic to birds than to mammals and, as commercially formulated, poses little hazard to mammals. Chloro-p- toluidine only kills once and thus creates no secondary hazard to wildlife, pets or livestock. However, as a matter of good practice, it is important to expose the bait in areas where starlings can get it, but livestock cannot. Furthermore, because the material is comparatively expensive, it is uneconomical to let livestock eat it.

You must select a location where the starlings will readily feed, such as the spillage outside the feed trough if the livestock cannot consume the bait, tops of fence posts or above the feed bunker in special troughs directly over the feed itself or similar locations.

Normally starlings will refuse to feed from the locations where they normally feed or frequent. For example, bait troughs placed high up under the roof of a feed bunker normally will not be used by starlings. Troughs should be wide and shallow.

It is almost always necessary to prebait with a material similar to the commercial poison bait to accustom the starlings to eating at the desired location. In most instances, starlings will not accept a poison material on an area that has not been pre-baited.

Pre-baiting should continue until the birds regularly consume large amounts of the pre-bait. If the pre-bait is not consumed at all, place it in a new location. Continue until you find a site where the starling readily accept it.

All too often, livestock feedlot operators attempt to switch to the poison material too soon. Although feeding starlings a pre-bait for a week or more seems like a waste of time and money, it will insure that once the poison bait is exposed, the kill will be through. A permit is required from the Law Enforcement Division, Michigan DNR.

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