Animal Feeding

As Central Ohio continues to grow, the abundance of wildlife is adapting to dwindling natural habitats and capitalizing on the new food sources and nesting opportunities. Most times we can coexist peacefully with the beautiful array of birds, rabbits, squirrels, and other creatures that take up residence in our yards and public parks, but some wildlife can become unwelcome “tenants,” causing destruction to property and, in some cases, posing a health risk.

When faced with these types of nuisances, it’s important to address them in a way that adheres to the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s control laws and recommendations and for all of us to take the following measures as a matter of routine practice:

Avoid Intentional Feeding of Wildlife

  • Do not intentionally feed deer.  Fed deer can lose their fear of humans and lead to behaviors that may become aggressive.  Feeding deer can also be deadly for the animals and altering their diet can upset their digestive system.  Additionally, feeding can congregate deer near roadways, increasing the risk of collisions.  
  • Limit how much bird feed you place in feeders. Put out only enough for the daytime and regularly remove any birdfeed that falls to the ground.  
  • Avoid summertime bird feeding as some species take their newly fledged babies to feeders, leading them to not recognize the native foods that are needed to sustain themselves in late summer for migration.
  • If you feed pets outside, only leave the food out for as long as it takes for your pet to finish eating.
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Remove Possible Unintentional Food Sources

  • Clean up any pet waste daily.
  • Store any food kept outside or in your garage in rat and mice-proof containers, such as galvanized cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Pick up any fallen tree fruit or garden vegetables.

Correct Management of Trash and Recycling

  • Place trash and recycling out weekly for pickup. Do not allow trash to accumulate on your property.
  • Bag your trash and don’t overfill your trash container to be sure the lid is securely closed.
  • Place containers at the curb no sooner than the evening prior to your regular collection day.
  • Once collected, return trash containers to an enclosure, such as a garage or shed.

The Correct Way to Compost

  • Pick a compost bin made of hard plastic with a secure lid.
  • Rodent proof your enclosure or compost bin.
  • The compost bin should be the furthest distance possible from your home (taking care not to place it close to a neighbor’s home).
  • Follow recommended practices for effectively maintaining a compost bin.

Maintain Your Yard

  • Don’t let yard waste piles accumulate (leaves, branches, brush, etc.).
  • Regularly cut grass and weeds in the growing season.
  • Haul away any leftover building/project materials.
  • Stack firewood on racks or pallets that are at least six inches off the ground.