How to Control Against Pigeons

Pigeons and other birds can attack vegetable crops including cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, peas and kale having devastating effects on them. Attacks can occur quickly and entire crops can be destroyed. Pigeon attacks can also occur on fruit bushes such as Raspberry, Gooseberry and Blackcurrants.

Pigeon Damage
Signs of attack by pigeons can be recognized or diagnosed by the damage caused to the foliage. Foliage will appear frayed, often just a skeleton of the plant will remain – the green tissue of the leaves eaten, while the midrib and stems will remain in-tact. The attack can be sudden and extensive.

Pigeon & General Bird Control Options


Bird Netting

This is the most effective control against pigeon and other birds – if you choose fine netting (that is robust) it will also protect against caterpillars.

To set up netting you will need timber posts positioned at each corner of your vegetable rows. If you want to cover an entire plot you will need to space timber posts along at 2.5m intervals along the edge of the rows. These posts will hold the netting up off the crop and allow you to keep the netting tense and secure.

The netting itself can have a mesh size of anywhere from 0.5” to 4”. This means that the hexagonal gaps within the netting would be between 0.5” - 4”. If they are any larger small birds could still get in. If the mesh gaps are any smaller the netting would be too heavy and would shade out the plants beneath.

The size of the netting will depend on your plot size – allow for additional length so that the netting can overhang the posts and reach down to soil level.

If you use a fine mesh netting you will prevent beneficial insects such as bees from getting to the plants to pollinate the flowers which is crucial for fruit production.

Scaring Devices

Bird Scarers
Also an effective control against birds & pigeons, scaring devices has been used for many years on farms and provide protection for crops where netting is not cost effective or manageable.
Some examples of scaring devices include...

  • Hanging old CD’s from trees or sticks positioned in & around vegetables
  • Running lengths of cassette tape in and around your plot
  • Positioning strips of alluminium foil around crops
  • Investing in or making a scarecrow

The first three on the list work as the sunlight can reflect off these items and the flashes of light can confuse or scare the birds. In time however the birds can get used to these tactics and they can become ineffective.

So your best bet is to select the right bird netting and set it up before the birds have a chance to attack your crop.

With pigeons the threat only lasts while the plants are young, as once the plants have reached a height of 20cm or more, pigeons will not attack them

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