How to Deal with Animal Hygiene in Your Garden

It’s relatively easy to train dogs not to defecate on flowerbeds, but cats are a different matter. The best policy is to encourage them to use one particular area and to start this process when they are young kittens. Train them to use a litter tray, then when the weather gets warmer take the tray outside and find a suitable spot for it. Show the kitten the tray so it gets used to using it in that position, then one day dispense with the tray but spread some of the cat litter on the ground. The cat should keep on going back to the same spot, although be alert if you have gravel laid anywhere in the garden as they will find this very tempting. Larger sizes of gravel (2cm/1in and upwards) are more difficult for cats to scrape away.

animal hygiene How to Deal with Animal Hygiene in Your Garden

If neighbours cats are a problem, buy humane, plastic, spiky matting and place it under valued plants. Alternatively lay leaves and stems of prickly plants such as holly, mahonia, pyracantha and roses.

Toxoplasmosis is spread by cats and can be extremely dangerous, especially to pregnant women. So when gardening wear rubber or latex gloves underneath your gardening gloves and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Make sure that children also wash their hands well after they have been playing in the garden, and that everyone’s tetanus cover is up to date.

If you find your plants under attack from wild animals then it is time to build defences. Kitchen gardens can be protected from rabbits with a chicken wire fence. Bury the base of this 30cm/lft underground, and bend the wire for the same distance outwards at the very bottom to prevent the rabbits burrowing under.

Deer are altogether more difficult to deal with. They can jump very high, so fences, other than expensive high-tensile deer-proof fencing, are all but useless. The best thing to do is to try to protect individual plants or beds which are under attack. Garden centres sell pellets containing lion faeces, which when sprinkled around the plants keep some deer off. A less attractive method is to tie white plastic carrier bags to canes or tree branches at night. These will give the deer a fright and scare them off. However they will be back and will soon get used to the bags unless you keep moving them around. If deer are attacking young shrubs or trees, you will need wire barriers around them until they are fully grown.

Badgers and foxes can also cause quite a lot of damage to lawns as they dig holes to find grubs. Badgers are a protected species so must be left alone, however you can usually discourage foxes with pellets designed to deter cats and dogs.


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