A guide to understanding,deterring and keeping badgers out

How to keep badgers out of my garden

This will take a few minutes reading, but understanding Brock the badgers ways will explain and make sense of why there are so few methods you can use to keep him and his family out of your garden.

I will explain my methods later, first let's look at why badgers are coming into your garden.

Brock the badger is looking for food.
Brock the badger is looking for food.

the 3 main reasons badgers come into your garden

 

1, To use your garden as a toilet. 

When badgers first come out of their homes (Setts) in the evening they look for a toilet to defecate (they don't like messing up their own home, preferring instead to mess up your garden) They dig holes in the ground some distance away from the sett and poo in them. The poo is normally dark and muddy and sometimes has fruit stones and insects in it. 

 

2, To Mark and guard their territory.

Badgers live in family groups within a territory and will fight to defend their territory and females. They mark the borders with poo and other things you can't see, urine and badger musk to warn other badgers not to enter. 

If the badgers are not coming any further into your garden you might want to ignore the marking as it is also keeping other badgers out, 

or try planting some fast-growing low shrubs in front to hide the marking from view.

 

3, To feed the badger family. 

Badgers families have a large territory spread over an extensive area including many domestic gardens both large and small that they patrol and feed in every night. They may just be coming into your garden on their way to a better source of food or more likely to a neighbour's garden where they are leaving cat or dog food out for them. 

The main problem for us is that a badgers main food is earthworms that they have to dig up our lawns to get to them, leaving round snuffle-holes, where the badger has pushed it's snout down into the ground to get to the worm. Or on harder dry ground deep scratch marks the badger makes digging out the worms.

In addition to eating worms (that are actually essential to the health of soil and our lawns), badgers also eat garden pests including leather jackets, slugs, snails, wasps nests, various grubs, etc. helpful yes, but whilst eating these garden pests is beneficial to us gardeners with fewer wasps, grubs, slugs and leather jackets ruining our lawns, it can be annoying to see our lawns dug up.

Fruit and vegetables "Badger food" growing in your garden will attract them too, they like most kinds of fruit and will eat strawberries, blackberries, plums, apples, grapes, sweetcorn, various vegetables and wild fruits and berries. 

 

They are especially attracted to Windfall fruit on the ground and can smell the ripening fruit from a long way off. The plus side of this is that if there is enough to satisfy their hunger they won't need to go digging up lawns and damaging flower/vegetable beds looking for other food.

 

What can I do legally to keep badgers out of my garden

Badgers and their homes (setts) are protected by law, but lawful actions can be taken to  minimise problems, without harm to badgers. 

 

Keeping your lawn healthy by regular aeration, not feeding chemical fast food which only encourages shallow rooting and using Eco-friendly non-poisonous ways to reduce insect damage to the lawn has a twofold effect, fewer insects like leather jackets and the crane-fly larvae for the badgers to sniff out and dig up and a stronger lawn turf structure making it harder for garden pests to survive and for the badgers to get to.

Less frequent watering  has a double benefit, to much watering encourages the grass roots to stay shallow instead of growing deeper to seek out moisture and in hot weather Badgers are attracted to wet lawns because the worms are easier to get to.

(Tell green-lawn man that is why his permanently wet lawn is covered in badger holes and scrapes and the dry, (may be a little browner) lawn, next door is not)

 

Minimise access to food waste (it is also Badgers food). Keep lids tight on food recycling bins as badgers can easily overturn bins, so the lid needs to stay tightly shut even if the bin gets toppled over. Don't leave part empty dog or cat food dishes out at night. Badgers are attracted to gardens with bird feeders as peanuts are a real delicacy, larger badgers can reach up to bird nuts and fat balls, if you feed birds try clearing up the nuts on the ground at night.

 

Protecting Raised Beds from badger digging

If badgers are digging up bulbs or getting into raised beds a thick wire grid cut to size and fitted into the raised bed just beneath the soil surface will stop badgers digging. Plants will grow through the grid, but the badgers cannot dig through it and it can be removed for weeding and composting, etc. 

 

Protecting lawns from badgers. 

If you are laying a new lawn and have had or suspect problems with badgers, fit tennis-court-type wire netting all over a well-prepared surface and lay the grass turf over it, or if you are using seed, lay the netting 2 to 3 inches below the surface and sow the grass seed in the normal way.

The grass grows through the mesh and the netting stops badgers digging. This method could be used for existing lawns, but lifting and relaying the turf is time-consuming and you might be better off starting from scratch. 

 

The deterrents above eliminate one of the main reasons (food) for badgers to dig up your garden, they may still visit on their way through to better feeding grounds, use your garden as a toilet and mark there territory, but you will have to live with that or read on to block them completely with fencing.

 

Filling in and destroying the sett 

Badgers are a protected species, and you can't do anything to cause them actual harm. If badgers are causing a serious problem like subsidence, structural damage or serious economic harm it might be possible to get a licence from the authorities to move them to another area. However, wrecking your garden will probably not be counted as a serious problem.

Illegally destroying a sett or trapping badgers is cruel and will lead to a heavy fine or prison and is a complete waste of time anyway as the badger family will be quickly replaced and the territory taken over by another badger family.

If you have a serious problem and willing to spend the money, speak to your local Badger Group or a Badger Consultant; with your chequebook at the ready.

 

Chemical repellents,

There are no chemical repellents that can be legally used as a badger deterrent, using chemicals will put you at risk of committing an offence under the pesticide regulations or under wildlife protection laws. 

Make my garden badger-proof to keep them out

 

It is difficult, can be unsightly and could be expensive depending on the size and shape of the garden to be secured and the method used, but it is possible to stop badgers from getting into your garden by erecting secure fencing (instructions with diagram below), walls, electric fencing or by blocking holes in or under existing walls and fencing.

 

Badgers can climb roughly-built walls and wire fences, so any wall will need to be smooth and fence at least  3ft high. They are also amazingly strong with strong teeth and long claws on all four feet, so will easily breakthrough ordinary garden fencing panels. Badgers can even dig out parts of the footing for walls or quarry through dry stonewalls.

 

Before erecting whatever type of barrier you decide on from the list below, take time to look around the perimeter of your garden, the solution might be as simple as repairing fencing or blocking holes. Also, consider the "good housekeeping" tips I have described in the first section of this article. If badgers don't have a reason to come into your garden, why would they?

 

Where are they getting in

The usual entry points into your garden are by climbing over low fencing and walls or through tunneled out gaps under fencing and through gaps in old fences. Even small holes can be expanded by badgers quite easily, 

 

Fixing the holes.

Assuming the fence or wall is high enough to stop them climbing over, if badgers are digging under it, it might be deterrent enough to just repair or block the hole by setting a concrete paving slab in a trench at the bottom. If you can, set the slab in concrete to stop the badger moving or dragging it out.

Another way to block the hole or gap is to hammer some long stout sticks or preferably metal rods vertically into the ground in front of holes and weak points along the boundary to block any tunneling attempts.

Fitting tennis-court-type wire netting to the base of the fence with the bottom 24 inches buried at a right angle can also prevent badgers digging under or getting through holes in or breaking through fences. If possible with your neighbours permission the buried bit should be on the outside. 

 

Badger-proofing your garden.

You can keep badgers out of your whole garden or just some areas of the garden and lawns by building smooth faced walls without footholds or strong timber or preferably wire fencing. 

 

Possibly the best way to deter badgers from getting into your gardens is to use an electric fence. It can be simpler and cheaper than building a more permanent structure and is easily removable, so that it only needs to be used when badgers are being a particular nuisance. It can cover all possible points of entry to prevent badgers entering the whole garden or just to protect a lawn, vegetable or fruit garden. 

Constructing badger-proof fencing

Badger proof fencing

This is a fairly low cost method I have used to permanently exclude badgers from clients gardens. I attached weld-mesh wire fencing to a sturdy post and rail fence wooden fence.  

  • The specification for the wire is  2"/ 50mm holes. Galvanised Steel 2.5mm (12gauge) Wire
  • The height of the fence should be a minimum of 1 metre. 
  • The 300mm buried horizontal lap is essential to prevent badgers digging underneath the fence and should be buried on the Badger side of the fence. 
  • Make sure there aren't any gaps left below gates
  • Badgers will climb or breakthrough chicken wire. 
diagram to construct a badger proof fence
diagram to construct a badger proof fence

 

 It is important to set the posts in concrete or the badgers will push it over, instructions go to my 

fencing page 

 This method can also be used to badger proof a sturdy standard garden fence.

 

12 Pack of 8ftx4ft Welded Mesh Panels. 2"/ 50mm holes.Galvanised Steel 2.5mm (12gauge) Wire. Animal enclosures, Dogs and Badgers.


Electric badger fencing

Electric fencing powered by battery or mains electricity can be an effective deterrent, with the added bonus of being in use temporarily or permanently and used to protect the whole garden or just part of it. It can also be controlled with a time clock which will automatically switch the current on in the evening and off in the morning. 

 

Electric fencing needs to be properly and firmly installed with at least two (preferably three) taut wires placed at heights of 75mm and 200mm above the ground (the third if you use one 300mm above the ground). The wires must be supported at a minimum of every three metres) and closely follow the contours of the ground and be well earthed. 

 

There are obviously important safety precautions to take when using electric fencing so follow the manufacturer's instructions closely.

Vegetation will need be cut back to avoid the wires shorting to earth. 


flowerpotman.com