Farmers in India and abroad face serious threats from pests, natural calamities, thefts, damages by animals and other types of crop losses, resulting in lower yields. Most often, none of the steps taken to counter the problems are foolproof. But raw eggs promise to deter the visitors from the wild.
“More pronounced damage gets caused by wild animals in lands adjacent to forest areas during summer, due to food and water shortage in the forests.
“Farmers and officials plead helplessness in solving this perennial problem, and say they only try to drive the wild animals away manually,” says Dr. Narahari, former Professor and Head, Poultry Science, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai.
Though scientists constantly search for new methods of crop management, to reduce losses to farmers, the damage by wild animals such as deer, elephants, and wild boars continue.
“For example, in North America, particularly the U.S., crop damage due to wild deer is a common occurrence. Large herds of these animals frequently cross the roads during nights, causing many accidents and enter into human habitations and damage home gardens and field crops.
“Though farmers tried several methods, the problem continued. Interestingly, some workers in chick hatcheries noticed that the deer herds do not come near the places where they dispose their hatchery waste; which contains a lot of unhatched eggs,” says Dr. Narahari.
By observing this, some hatchery workers started spraying the egg contents mixed with water, on their home gardens and noticed that the deer do not come near the plants (sprayed with egg contents), probably due to the pungent odour emitted by the raw egg contents when exposed to the air.
After noticing these successful results, agricultural scientists started refining this technique for larger application and succeeded in minimising the attacks of the animals on field crops
“In India we read reports that wild animal such as elephants and bison venturing into the fields, destroying the crops.
“If we adopt this idea, we may be able to protect our crops from damage. It will be worthwhile for our farmers to try this method and give us the feedback. As of now I don’t think any person in India is practising this,” he says.
With today’s agriculture facing many problems, a good crop yield with minimal expenditure is the need of the hour, and farmers who want to try this method need not spend much.
Giving details on how to use this technology Dr, Narahari explains:
Use egg contents (both albumen and yolk), preferably from broken, damaged, old, liquefied, unhatched or even ordinary table eggs, (unhatched eggs from hatcheries are not only cheaper, but also emit more pungent smell, disliked by herbivorous animals.)
Break open the egg shell and pour the contents into a bucket or barrel. Mix yolk and albumen together. Hand-crush the leftover shells and use as fertilizer. For each 100ml (2 eggs contents), add 10 litres of water and mix well. Spray over crops, trees etc. using a hand or mechanical sprayer, similar to one used for spraying pesticides.
Since eggs are safe, the dose can be doubled to 200ml/10litre of water, if animals get accustomed to the smell.
Similarly, use double strength solution or more intense spraying on the edges of the crops for about 10 feet on all the four sides of the field or on the side (forest side) from which animals enter the field, to repel them from a distance.
The pungent odour generated by the eggs, will repel the herbivorous animals from entering into the field.
How long will the smell remain?
“The pungent smell remains for about a month; but during rains, the water will wash away the egg contents over the crop. Even snow will remove the smell quickly in about two weeks.”
Hence egg spraying has to be repeated after a rain or when the pungent smell is lost. This egg spray protects the crops from animals; without having any harmful side effects and is eco-friendly.
Moreover, the spill-over of highly nutritious egg liquid on the soil, makes it more fertile.
For more information, contact Dr. D. Narahari, former Professor and Head, Poultry Science, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal sciences University, Chennai, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: 94448-10639.
Corrections and Clarifications
The caption of a photograph that went with a report "An excellent method to ward off wild animals from crops" ("Farmer's Notebook - Science & Technology/Agriculture" page, July 30, 2009) was "Wild bison has strayed into a banana field situated near the edge of a forest." We repeat the clarification issued on April 24, 2007: "Dr. R.J. Ranjit Daniels, wildlife ecologist, clarifies that the bison is an English word that refers to wild cattle in Europe and America. The Gaur is called an Indian bison though it is not the same as the European or American bison. The report could have made things clear by saying the 'Indian bison', instead of just bison."