Pest of the month: Pigeons

In a new series for 2019, we’ll be talking about a different pest each month. This month, we’re talking about the damage that pigeons can do at this time of year, particularly in the brassica department…

Pigeons are notoriously keen on brassicas and can completely destroy a crop, particularly whilst seedlings are still young and vulnerable. That said, they can do a lot of damage to established crops as well, and in fact we came back after Christmas to find that our entire row of sprouting broccoli has been savaged, leaving just the tough veins of the leaves, and a few entire leaves left in tact at the bottom of the plants! Cheeky pests!

Plants at risk:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale – all varieties
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbages
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard & Spinach (less so, but still can get nibbled!)

How can you tell?

The classic signs to look out for are a) leaves that have been largely stripped back to the vein and b) pigeon poo!

Preventing pigeon damage:

The only really effective method of control, in our humble opinion, is to carefully net your brassicas so that the pigeons can’t get in. Use a fine mesh (which will also stop cabbage white butterflies in the spring/summer) over hoops approximately 1m in height to give the plants space to grow.