Backyard Deer Deterrents: the dirt on keeping deer out of your garden without breaking the bank.

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Homemade Deer Deterrent

Our DIY deer deterrent combines motion and man-made noise to keep deer out of the garden.  Since we got our system up and running, our garden has been completely deer-free.  In addition, we've noticed that deer tracks now come no closer than about a tenth of a mile to our garden perimeter.

The video above shows a version of the deer deterrent that we made out of parts you can easily buy in the store.  The finished cost was about $30, but we made several other deterrents close to free by scrounging parts from flea markets.

Once they're up and running, each deer deterrent uses about 33 kilowatt-hours of energy per year when run 24 hours a day (highly recommended in high density deer areas!)  Using average American electricity costs of $0.0987 per kilowatt-hour, the operating cost for a deterrent is $3.24 per year.

You won't need many tools or much specialized knowledge to make your own deer deterrent.  Check out our homemade deer deterrent plans for step by step instructions.

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Just fyi...we've found that horse manure used on the garden works really well for deterring deer. My Mom and I had a market garden for years on our 40 acre farm, without benefit of deer fencing. We would occasionally see deer prints in the garden, but never really any nibbling damage. Then, 20 years later, we had neighbors move in nearby and had their fenced gardens regularly pillaged by deer. We wondered at the difference. Later, I ran across an article in Organic Gardening magazine, and one fellow made the comment that he'd fertilized his asparagus bed with cow, but ran out half way down the bed and had to finish out with horse manure. Well, as the shoots came up, the ones on the cow side were all eaten by the deer, but not a one on the horse side was touched! Wow! Eureka! That was our answer! So, if at all possible, top-dress with well composted horse manure! ;)
Comment by catherine Monday afternoon, September 13th, 2010
I'd read that too, and we actually fertilize most of our garden by topdressing with horse manure --- no luck. I suspect that horse manure may work as a deterrent with certain deer and not others, or perhaps only where the deer population isn't overly high?
Comment by anna late Monday night, September 14th, 2010
THIS is the best idea and can't wait to try it out in my veggie garden and flower garden!!!! I assume this would work for rabbits too as they are skittish like deer? Just a thought, would it work with a "nice" noise like a wind chime or do you think you need a clanger noise to be really effective? Oh, I wanted to mention I have a friend who did something simiar with an old drill in a can with a motion detector (perhaps that would work with mice or chipmunks? I have EVERY type of critter in the garden you can image!).
Comment by nancy late Saturday afternoon, February 12th, 2011

Nancy --- We are lucky not to have a big problem with rabbits --- they pass through, smell our dog, and move on out. If you do try out the deterrent and it works with rabbits, I'd love to hear from you!

Mark has been experimenting with all kinds of noises, and wind chimes don't seem to be serious enough to send a deer scurrying. The metallic thud we use has been the most effective option so far, and even that needs to have a bit of volume to it or the deer move in.

I'd love to see a photo or video of your friend's deterrent!

Naomi --- I never considered that deer would be such pests around horses, but it makes sense. I have to admit that I took up hunting after the deer moved into our garden one year. Luckily, Mark's deterrents seem to do the job better (and less messily.) I hope you give them a shot!

Comment by anna Monday evening, February 14th, 2011
that clanker would keep humans away too, hearing that clang all day would drive me and my neighbors nuts.
Comment by Anonymous at teatime on Sunday, February 27th, 2011
I think the video makes it sound louder than it is since it was filmed right beside the deterrent. I don't have any problem living and sleeping next door to ours --- they feel a bit like wind chimes. We're growing 100% of our vegetables and are starting to grow a lot of our fruits, so we figure a bit of noise is worth the nutrition! Definitely less noisy than living in the city.
Comment by anna Wednesday afternoon, March 2nd, 2011
Hi, I'm reading up on deterring deer, to drive the deer away from the purchased hay i have for my horses. I live in the prairies, canada, and the deer out here are very fat and happy and way too plentiful... and yet, they have made themselves a big nuciance in my horses pasture, coming in and eating and soiling the hay i pay much money for. I can not afford to feed dozens of deer. I have now started a one-woman war to repel them from my 10 acres. They are very bold, and have no problems jumping my electric fence ( or busting it!) and scaring my horses off they best hay, eating the salt licks and drinking from the waterer. Very expenisive pests they have become, and very unafraid. The other day, i had to run a few off, and had to get quite close before they left the hay. Very maddening. In the summer they eat our cultivated trees. I've never seen them so bad. Makes me wish i could hunt, and i've never felt that.
Comment by Naomi late Wednesday morning, March 23rd, 2011
That is SOOOO ugly. I would be so embarrassed to have that in my yard besides being the talk to the town.
Comment by Anonymous late Tuesday evening, May 10th, 2011
I think you're probably on a very different gardening wavelength than we are. :-) We're not going for beauty here, but for keeping the deer out of our garden so that we get to eat homegrown fruits and vegetables. Thanks for commenting, though.
Comment by anna late Wednesday evening, May 11th, 2011
Just curious, do you folks have your garden enclosed by a fence or is the deer deterrent enough to keep the deer out? Fantastic idea! Talking to my husband now about doing this:)
Comment by nancy in the wee hours of Sunday night, April 9th, 2012

Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic Chicken Waterer

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