Monday, June 23, 2008

Oh Deer!

Dear Mindy,
We recently put in a new playground for our children in the backyard. Unfortunately, the deer have decided that it is their new resting spot and personal potty. Because our children our young, we are always out there when they are playing on the playground, however, we are constantly having to clean out the deer "waste." There is already a fence surrounding the playground, plus making any adjustments to the fence surrounding the yard are just out of the question for now. What can we do to keep the deer out of the playground and yard?

Sincerely, Kellie
Hi Kellie,
Thanks for your question. To find an answer, I consulted a book called "Grandmother's Critter Ridder" by Dr. Myles H. Bader. He has several pages of all-natural deer deterrents, but I have narrowed down his suggestions to the ones that would be the most appropriate for keeping deer away from an outdoor play area.

The key seems to be this: Surround the area where you don't want the deer to go with things that smell of humans and/or house pets. Below are some examples of how you can do this, and I would suggest trying several of these idea simultaneously:
- drop used bars of soap into used pantyhose and hang them from the trees (not kidding!)
- sweep up hair cuttings from a local beauty shop and spread it on the ground or put the hair in dirty socks and hang from trees
- cut up an old dog or cat blanket and drop the pieces around the area.

Unfortunately, you'll have to keep re-doing these things after every 2 or 3 rainstorms, because the scents do wash away. If you have access to lots of human hair, you can actually dig a shallow trench circling the area where you don't want the deer to go and fill it with hair, almost like a moat. According to Dr. Bader, "This keeps the deer away and the birds have a ball using the hair for their nests. The hair is rich in nitrogen and can be worked into the soil after the deer season is over." So there you have it! Let us know how it goes.


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