What should I do about the bird nests in the barn?
That really depends on personal preference and a little bit on how much you want to deal with the possibility, however remote, of salmonella. Nesting birds in the barn are great for insect control, but not so great for bird poop control.
Here’s why birds in the barn are not such a good idea:
-Bird poop. It can get everywhere! Water buckets, feed bins, your horse’s hay pile. Rodent and bird droppings are a fantastic source of salmonella. Salmonella is present all over the place already, including the soil and your horse’s gut, but why add to the risk of an outbreak?
-Birds in your horse’s water buckets. It’s common to find drowned or almost drowned birds in water buckets. I wouldn’t want a sip after that!
-Bird mites. Some birds have mites, and some of those mites can be transmitted to your horse, you, your barn cat, the barn dog.
-Some types of birds build nests with mud, saliva, and other sticky ingredients that can structurally damage your barn over time.
-Bird nests generate heat, which can be a source of wiring damage (this is bad and related to many barn fires). They can also damage wiring in their nest making stages.
BUT!!! HOWEVER!!! ON THE OTHER HAND!!!
-Birds are great at eating insects. SUPER AWESOME GREAT at it.
You could encourage your local birds to set up shop away from the barn by installing bird houses and boxes. Keeping the barn clear of old nests is also critical. Do your homework and make sure you can remove nests. Some nesting birds are protected by law, and you can’t remove the nests until the migration is long gone. A good example are the swallows that invade Southern California every spring. No rafter or overhang is safe. You must wait until September before you can remove their muddy and sticky nests, assuming that no other bird has decided to set up shop there.
My favorite bird house is this small outhouse!
If you are faced with restrictions, and you don’t want birds in the barn, get lots of cats to scare off the birds. You can also lure the birds to more attractive locations - like the nice birdhouses you just put up! Some birds like different shapes, so do some research on where you live and what types of birds visit and nest. You can still enjoy the birds and their bug eating abilities, but without the bird poopy barn.
What do you do with bird nests in the barn?