Practical Control Strategies for Starling Infestations

Published 28 November 13

Many dairy farmers faced with the annual problem may think starlings are a pest, however because of their protected status as a species in decline, there is no legal lethal method of control.

The cost to the farmer of an average starling infestation was determined in the 2012 study to be £96 per 100 cows per day, rising to £106 in 2013 (based on prices at the time of writing this report). Losses over the winter period can amount to many thousands of pounds, allowing the adoption of many mitigation methods to be cost effective if starling numbers can be reduced.
A range of control measures are being used on farms which, when implemented correctly, offer some degree of starling control. The effectiveness of mitigation methods very much depends on their suitability for the individual farm, together with timing and the level of diligence and persistency of implementation.

This document reports on trial work investigating two possible methods to reduce the effect of starling infestations as well as exploring measures which can be adopted by farmers so that the cost of the winter starling infestation can be at least reduced, or at best, prevented.