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Fishing line can detract birds from your barn
Georgia Consumer
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Question: We have a barn with three walls and stalls on the fourth side. Birds love to come in the barn and we have their droppings on everything. We have tried putting a fake owl in there, but they don’t seem to be deterred. Please give any and all advice you may have on this yucky problem.

Answer: Depending on the type of birds (pigeons, common yard birds, etc.), you can deter them by stringing very fine fishing lines above head level at varying angles. It is hard for them to see and will eventually deter them. Barn swallows are more adept at maneuvering around it, though, and will use it to perch on.

Some wind chimes may keep certain types of birds out. The higher the pitch, the better they seem to work. But, they may also irritate animals such as horses and cows, if that is what the stalls are housing.

Other methods that can sometimes work include putting long nails or wires upright where birds perch so they can’t land there.

If the barn is open to the outside, try hanging computer CDs (the free ones that you get in the mail) back to back so the shiny part is on the outside. They spin around and seem to annoy the birds enough that they go elsewhere. Or if the barn has power, you can purchase an electronic bird deterrent of some sort.

Q: Do you know of a remedy for skunk spray on a dog?

A: Bathe the dog in tomato juice before bathing it in water. If you wash the dog first, it pushes the odor deeper into the fur and you’ll smell it for months.

Also, try mixing one quart of hydrogen peroxide to a tablespoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of soap and message into the fur. Let it stand for five to 10 minutes and then bathe.

Q: I want to know whether garbanzo beans grow above the ground or are like peanuts and grow under the ground.

A: The garbanzo bean, also know as the chickpea or Egyptian pea, is a member of the legume family and is related to beans and other peas. Like them, it grows above ground. The pods are about one inch long and contain one or two light-colored seeds.

Q: Are restaurant employees required to complete any testing by the state of Georgia?

A: Our Consumer Protection Division administers state laws, rules and regulations for retail and wholesale grocery stores, retail seafood stores and places in the business of food processing and plants which are currently required to obtain a license from the commissioner under any other provision of law. That includes bakeries, confectionaries, fruit, nuts and vegetables stores and places of business and similar establishments, mobile or permanent, engaged in sale of food primarily for consumption off the premises. This does not include "food services establishment" (restaurants and institutions).

Giles Roberts Scarborough, food safety section manager of the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, said that employees of restaurants are not currently required to complete any testing for Georgia. For additional information, you may contact Melinda Scarborough at 404-657-6515 or 404-657-6534.

Q: I wanted to try something different and interesting with my kids. Do you have any ideas?

A: Try starting seeds in eggshell halves. It’s economical and earth-friendly. Store planted shells in egg carts so they can easily be moved to sunny spots. Plant as is. Roots break through and the decomposed shell acts as fertilizer.

If you have questions or problems with services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture you may write the Office of Public Affairs, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 226, Atlanta, GA 30334 or call 800-282-5852. This column appears Sundays and at