Fact Sheets - Controlling Starling Damage at Feedlots
European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were introduced into
the United States in the late 1800's, and have since
increased their range from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts and from southern Canada to northern Mexico. There are
well over 160 million starlings in the US, and they are found in rural, suburban and urban areas in a variety of habitats. They consume seeds and fruits of wild and cultivated plants, insects and other invertebrates, livestock (feed) grains, and garbage. On dairy farms and cattle feedlots, starling damage occurs in several forms:
1. Consumption of cattle feed can cause considerable economic losses, since starlings can consume up to 50% of their body weight in grain each day. Flocks in the tens or hundreds of thousands staying for several months can be a significant economic hardship to producers.
2. Fecal contamination of cattle feed and drinking water can create disease hazards for cattle, especially calves and pregnant cows.
3. Fecal contamination, nesting materials and bird carcasses on and in structures and farm equipment such as dispenser pumps, grinder/mixers, augers, and vehicle engines, can hamper farm operation, and cause costly property damage.
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