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I had an excellent stand of heirloom field corn (Mosby's Prolific). When the corn was an inch or two tall birds started pulling it up to get to the attached corn seed. I lost about 25% of my crop and the corn is now tall enough the birds have stopped. Commercial corn sometimes has a strong coloring on it that I suspect is poison. Does anyone know for sure what the coloring is? For my next batch I might have to start treating my heirloom seeds to stop this problem. I really dislike adding poison to my crop, but something has to deter the birds. The birds do not touch the pinto beans planted right beside the corn.
 

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I haven't done this, but what about some of the typical bird deterrants? Hang some old CDs from twine. Pin-wheels, etc. They even make reflective "tape" (like flagging tape) that you can string around. I've seen the reflective tape and also fake owls in the garden center at Wal-Mart. Also I believe they have fake snakes to scare off birds. Hope that helps.
 

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A Round American Woman
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Row covers is your best bet.

My neighbor actually had two crows sitting in a tree while he planted his corn. When he walked away he looked back and they had flown down behind him and were plucking it up from the ground!! He now covers his planting area with row covers and bird netting until the plants are big enough for them to ignore.

The color is fungicide so that the seed doesn't rot in a cooler/moister than desired soil.
 

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I have control issues
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I don't know how much corn you have planted, but I had much the same issue....crows would always pull up my corn when it was an inch or so high. So, one year, I tried an experiment....I started the corn in my greenhouse, and then transplanted it outside when the corn got to be about 5 or six inches high...big enough that the crows would leave it alone. It worked GREAT! Now that we've relocated, I don't have the issue with crows that I used to, and the smaller birds here seem to leave the corn alone pretty well.
 

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You talkin' to me?
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20 gauge with #4 shot, works every time.

Barring that, try cheap aluminum pie plates tied to fence posts intermingeled with your corn, add a couple of long narrow white rags on top of the posts.

These steps work for me.
 

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My chickens went behind me and plucked out each and every corn seed as soon as I walked away. HOW do they know EXACTLY where each seed is buried? I don't know. But today I'm replanting and putting chicken wire over it with stakes and strings full of pie tins all over.

If that doesn't work I may just have to pen them up until my garden is stable enough to withstand them.
 
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