Six ways to deter pigeons

  • Last updated: 4 August 2023
Head Gardener Emma shares her simple strategies for discouraging pigeons from your prized vegetables.
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Learn friendly ways to distract pigeons from eating your crops

Birds are an essential part of any plot, bringing colour, sound and valuable pest-control. But bigger birds such as pigeons can quickly become a problem if they’re allowed to roam freely among your crops. They love to pull up new seedlings and chomp on the tasty tops of brassicas!

Here’s some friendly techniques we use in our organic garden to make their pecking less troublesome.

  1. Prevention. Covering your crop is one of the most effective deterrents to keep pigeons off your precious crops. You can use eco-friendly fleece, netting or chicken wire. Do remember that netting can mean that some of your beneficial predators will also be shut out, so choose wisely.
  2. Barriers. I make pea sticks from off-cuts from our shrubs and trees on site - but you can use anything that will create a barrier. I like to weave ours together, so it looks as busy as possible.
  3. Planting. Densely packing plants together, such as growing flowers in between your vegetables for example, can put pigeons are put off as they prefer to land on bare ground. At Garden Organic, we fill every area in our produce garden with flowers, herbs and fruit to prevent open spaces – and this also supports lots of insects.
  4. Visual and auditory deterrents. A traditional scarecrow, ribbons, foil and wind chimes can deter birds. But remember these are indiscriminate and will affect all birds not just the ones you’re trying to discourage.
  5. Bird food. This is probably one of the easiest things to do. Leave windfall apples and seedheads on plants and they will attract the birds and keep them occupied. Bird tables will also attract pigeons, particularly if you put out whole grains.
  6. Fine string. Our colleagues at Five Acre Community Farm have found that stringing two canes above their crops with fine string prevents the pigeons from landing. Something we’ll be trying out here!
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Brassicas are particularly susceptible to pigeon pecks