Anti-Roosting Pigeon Spikes - Standard Application

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Defender 4™ Steel Anti-Roosting Steel Spike

Defender 4™ Steel Anti-
Roosting Steel Spike

Overview
This product review will focus on the Defender™ range of Anti-Roosting Pigeon Spikes Standard Applications including: Defender™ Flat Surface Spikes, Defender Pipe Spikes™, Defender Gutter Spikes™ and Defender Fixing Silicone™.

Anti-roosting pigeon spikes are considered to be the most efficient and the most cost-effective pigeon exclusion device available within the pest control marketplace. Most independent experts believe that pigeon spikes are the only anti-roosting product (or exclusion device) that can be considered to be 100% effective, providing that they are installed as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Pigeon spikes are renowned for their versatility in terms of application, longevity and the ease of installation, making them the best-selling anti-roosting product available. Probably their greatest benefit to the property owner is the fact that the product is not only extremely quick and easy to install but they can be installed by virtually anyone, negating the need to instruct a specialist contractor and thereby further reducing the cost and complexity of the installation.

Defender Plastic Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender Plastic Anti-
Roosting Spikes

Pigeon spikes are used throughout every town or city centre worldwide and can be seen installed on a huge variety of surfaces as a means of deterring almost every species of wild bird, although they are most commonly installed on buildings for the purpose of pigeon control. Pigeon spikes are almost invisible once installed and therefore can be used to protect buildings where aesthetics are the greatest consideration, providing the property owner with a neat, effective and low-visibility control. Other examples of where the pigeon spike can be used to great effect are lamp posts, flat surfaces of any description, gutters, louvers, roofs, pipes, statues, cabling, awnings, aerials, chimneys, eaves, architectural features of virtually any description, glass canopies, I-beams, air conditioning housings, railings, flat roofs, boats, shop signs and even trees - the range of applications for the product is endless.

Defender 4™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 4™ Steel
Anti-Roosting Spikes

Pigeon spikes can be installed onto almost every surface irrespective of the fabric concerned and examples include glass, metal, wood, plastic, masonry, brick, steel and even canvas. Fixing options also offer a great deal of versatility and although silicone gel is the most commonly used product to adhere pigeon spikes to the surface to be protected, other methods of fixing include nails, screws, cable ties, Velcro (for internal applications) and mounting onto plywood for a removable/reversible option. Although pigeon spikes are most commonly provided in a conventional vertical application, the product can also be installed horizontally and even upside down in areas where protection is required (but where there is no flat surface below the area to be protected upon which to adhere a spike).

Defender 4™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 4™ Steel
Anti-Roosting Spikes

Another benefit of pigeon spikes is that they are completely humane and non-lethal, unlike many of its counterparts. Internationally renowned bird protection agencies, such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS International), recommend pigeon spikes, confirming their place as the most effective and the most humane anti-roosting product available. Although pigeon spikes may appear to be able to inflict harm on any bird that comes into contact with them, the chance of a bird injuring itself is virtually zero. This is because most birds that occupy urban areas, where the pigeon spike is most commonly used, are intelligent and well versed in avoiding dangers such as roads, overhead cables, etc., and will not attempt to land on an area protected with pigeon spikes. The feral pigeon is the most common target species in respect of most pigeon spike installations and is considered to be the most intelligent of all urban-dwelling bird species that commonly uses buildings for the purpose of breeding, roosting and daytime perching. It is virtually unheard of for a pigeon to harm itself on anti-roosting spikes and therefore the product can be used with a clear conscience by property owners experiencing pigeon-related problems. Products such as nylon bird netting, another commonly used defence against pigeons, has a poor track record in this respect, with vast numbers of pigeons dying each year having become trapped behind or within netting installations.

Defender Gull™ Spikes

Defender Gull™ Spikes

It is important to make the distinction between anti-roosting products and bird exclusion products. The pigeon spike is a pure anti-roosting/perching product that is used almost exclusively to stop virtually any species of wild bird from landing on flat surfaces, although the product can also be used to block holes and can be installed vertically, horizontally and upside down in this application. Bird exclusion products such as nylon bird netting are normally installed to protect an area rather than a specific surface. The major difference between the two types of product, in real terms, is that the pigeon spike is relatively inexpensive to purchase, can be installed by the property owner and is completely reversible and non-invasive (in relation to the fabric of the building) to install; nylon bird netting, on the other hand, can be an expensive product to have installed and in a majority of cases it must be installed by a specialist contractor. Nylon bird netting is also highly invasive to install (in respect of the fabric of the building – it must be drilled and bolted in place) and, unlike pigeon spikes, is not reversible. In 99% of applications where nylon bird netting is recommended as a means of controlling pigeons, anti-roosting spikes can be used to much greater effect and at a significantly lower cost to the property owner.

Defender Ridge Spikes™

Defender Ridge Spikes™

Where the protection of grade listed buildings are concerned, pigeon spikes are the obvious choice due to the reversibility of the product and the non-invasive nature of the fixing products (silicone gel) used. Most listed buildings officers and those responsible for protecting heritage buildings will demonstrate a preference for pigeon spikes for this reason alone. To compromise an ancient building or monument by drilling and fitting Rawl bolts in order to provide a suspension system for nylon netting is senseless when pigeon spikes are completely non-invasive to install and have a significantly longer lifespan than nylon bird netting.

Another industry standard anti-roosting product that is used to protect flat surfaces is the post and wire system, or spring-wire system. This system involves the installation of vertical steel posts into (or onto) the fabric to be protected, through which thin stainless steel wires are suspended at between 8mm and 10mm above the surface to be protected. The principle of this system is that when a bird attempts to land on the surface its feet will first touch the steel wire, making the bird feel unsafe and resulting in the bird aborting its landing. Although this system is low profile and virtually invisible from the ground, as are pigeon spikes, the system is prone to failure and, like nylon bird netting, the vertical steel posts must be drilled into the surface to be protected compromising the fabric of the building. Not only this, but the system is considerably more expensive than pigeon spikes and must be installed by a specialist contractor, whereas pigeon spikes can be installed as a DIY option by the property owner concerned.

Defender Flat Surfaces Spikes

Defender 4™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 4™ Steel Anti-
Roosting Spikes

For the purposes of this review we have chosen to concentrate on the Defender™ range of pigeon spikes for several reasons. The brand is manufactured and distributed in the UK by a company called Jones and Son, who are internationally renowned for producing extremely high quality products at a reasonable price. The Defender™ range also offers what must be the most extensive range of spike-related products available on the market and probably more importantly, the Defender™ range carries a 10 or 12-year product warranty (dependent on product type) and is the only company worldwide that the Pigeon Control Resource Centre could identify (following extensive research) that offers more than a basic 1-year warranty. There are numerous companies worldwide that manufacture pigeon spikes and even more companies that distribute and wholesale the product, but in the main these companies market their products directly (and often solely) to the pest control industry rather than direct to the general public. Defender 8™ Plastic Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 8™ Plastic Anti-
Roosting Spikes

It is also worth pointing out that the UK is now starting to experience a glut of anti-roosting spike products from the Far East (in particular from China) and there are real concerns over the quality and longevity of these products. It is not uncommon to see what appear to be stainless steel pigeon spikes, manufactured in China, on offer for extremely reasonable prices on the Internet. Although some of these products may use stainless steel, it has been found that many are simply ‘mirror polished’ galvanised pigeon spikes which will rust and degrade extremely rapidly. In most cases, manufacturers of these products do not reveal what the products are constructed from and rely on the product to sell based on the fact that it looks like stainless steel and is offered well below standard market prices. Our advice is to always buy a warranted pigeon spike from a reputable source.

Defender 4™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 4™ Steel
Anti-Roosting Spikes

The most commonly used pigeon spike is known as the 4-point spike, which provides 4 pins protruding from a UV-stabilised transparent polycarbonate base and normally protects an area of up to 200mm. There are then two further options: a spike wholly moulded in polycarbonate and a spike using a polycarbonate base with stainless steel pins. Both products are hard-wearing and equally effective but the stainless steel pigeon spike normally costs a little more than the moulded polycarbonate spike. There are several other sizes and types of pigeon spike, the most common being the 2-point spike, protecting an area of approximately 100mm, the 6-point spike, protecting an area of approximately 300mm, the pipe spike and the gutter spike. This rather dated and over-complicated method of identifying the correct spike to suit the needs of the surface to be protected has been superseded by Pigeon Control Resource Centre with the new Defender 4™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 4™ Steel
Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender™ range. The Defender™ range has a simplified system of identifying its range of spike products in an effort to assist the layman to choose the correct pigeon spike to suit their needs. Instead of naming the range on the basis of how many pins each spike provides, the Defender™ range names its products with respect to the area each strip of spikes will protect. For example, the Defender 4™ will protect an area of up to 4” (100mm) wide, the Defender 8™ will protect an area of up to 8” (200mm) wide and so on, making the process of choosing the correct spike for the area or surface concerned extremely simple and straightforward. This system applies to both the Defender™ moulded polycarbonate (plastic) spike and the Defender™ stainless steel spike.

There is always debate about whether the plastic spike is in any way inferior to the industry standard stainless steel spike. Many suppliers that offer only the steel spike will denigrate the plastic spike, but normally fail to justify this criticism. The Defender™ plastic spikes (Defender 4™ Plastic and Defender 8™ Plastic) are offered with a 10-year guarantee and are considered to be every bit as robust and long-lasting as their stainless steel counterparts (Defender 4™ Steel, Defender 8™ Steel and Defender 12™ Steel). The essential difference between the two types of spike is that the ‘pins’ of the plastic spike are marginally thicker than those on the steel spike (because they are moulded) and therefore may be considered to be slightly more noticeable. The difference is extremely slight, as is the cost of the two options relative to each other – the Defender 8™ Steel is only 40 pence per strip more expensive that the Defender 8™ Plastic. According to Pigeon Control Resource Centre, manufacturer of the Defender™ range, the Defender 8™ Plastic and the Defender 8™ Steel are the most popular products in the range, based on the fact that the average surface upon which pigeon spikes are installed can be protected with a single run of this sized spike.

Defender™ TV Aerial Spikes

Defender™ TV Aerial Spikes

The Defender™ range of pigeon spikes are sold in ‘strips’ measuring 334mm, and although some suppliers still sell their pigeon spikes by the metre, in a majority of cases they will still be provided in strips. The benefit of buying pigeon spikes by the strip rather than by the metre is that for extremely small applications the purchaser need not buy more than is actually required. The Defender™ range of pigeon spikes are provided with a UV-stabilised transparent polycarbonate base which is produced in a zigzag format with regular star-shaped holes (the Defender™ range has 10-holes per strip) through which the strip can be either nailed or screwed to the surface to be protected or through which the silicone gel is forced when fixed in place (the silicone, when dried, forms ‘rivets’ which lock the base in place).

The Defender™ range includes a number of standard pigeon spikes and a further range of pigeon spikes designed for specialist applications, which with be dealt with in a separate product review entitled 'Anti-roosting spikes – specialist applications'. The standard range includes the following:

  • Defender 4™ plastic spike, which will protect an area of up 4" (100mm) wide.
  • Defender 4™ steel spike, which will protect an area of up to 4" (100mm) wide.
  • Defender 8™ plastic spike, which will protect an area of up to 8" (200mm) wide.
  • Defender 8™ steel spike, which will protect an area of up to 8" (200mm) wide.
  • Defender 12™ steel spike, which will protect an area of up to 12" (300mm) wide.
  • Defender Pipe Spike™, which will protect any pipe diameter from 1"(25mm) to 6" (152mm).
  • Defender Gutter Spike™, which will protect 13" (333mm) of gutter per strip.

Technical specifications for the Defender™ range of spikes are as follows:

  • Spike base is constructed from ultraviolet light-stabilised polycarbonate (durable polycarbonate resin, product code HFV-1700).
  • Strip length is approximately 337mm.
  • Temperature resistance: no loss of mechanical strength at a temperature of 130°C.
  • The protruding pins are manufactured from 304-grade stainless steel and have a tensile strength of 1600N/mm.
  • The length of each pin is 122mm and has a diameter of approximately 1.42mm.
  • Spike height (pigeons), measured from base to tip of highest pin: steel spikes 115mm; moulded polycarbonate spikes 112mm.

A major benefit of the Defender™ range of pigeon spikes is that with each order of the product (irrespective of how small) the purchaser receives a comprehensive and easy to understand CD, which provides a step-by-step guide for installation by the layman. When installing pigeon spikes for the first time this CD is invaluable. Many pigeon spike systems fail simply due to poor installation where not enough care has been taken to clean the surface to be protected or where the product has been installed in wet conditions or in temperature ranges outside those recommended by the manufacturer. Installing pigeon spikes is extremely straightforward and the product will continue to be effective for up to 30 years in a majority of cases, but a little time taken to prepare surfaces and read the manufacturer’s instructions (or watch the CD, in the case of Defender™ spikes!) will dramatically enhance longevity.

Defender Starling and Sparrow Spikes™

Defender Starling and
Sparrow Spikes™

Before taking any action to install pigeon spikes a thorough examination of the problem and the area to be protected is vital to ensure comprehensive protection. It may be helpful to read the DIY Controls page for more detailed information on surveying both the problem and the areas that may need to be protected in order to provide a comprehensive anti-perching system. For the purposes of this review we will concentrate on the installation of pigeon spikes to deter feral pigeons, but be aware that pigeon spikes can be installed to deter virtually any species of bird, providing the appropriate product is chosen. For example, there is little point in installing pigeon spikes to deter starlings or sparrows, as this size of bird will easily manoeuvre around or through this size and gauge of spike. For smaller birds the Defender Starling and Sparrow Spikes™ will be required and the advantage of these finer spikes is that they will provide effective control of all sizes and species of bird that commonly cause problems on UK properties, with the possible exception of the gull. Defender Starling and Sparrow Spikes™ are reviewed in the 'Anti-roosting spikes – specialist applications' product review.

Defender 8™ Plastic Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 8™ Plastic
Anti-Roosting Spikes

Firstly the property must then be assessed to identify all areas that have the potential for birds to perch or roost upon. It is important that all areas are protected rather than just the areas where the problem currently exists, because once pigeon spikes have been installed in these areas it is almost certain that the pigeons will simply move to other, possibly more sensitive areas of the building to roost or perch. It is also highly likely that once the property has been comprehensively protected with pigeon spikes the birds will move to buildings adjacent, so it may be worth discussing this with neighbours and consider placing one large order of pigeon spikes which can be installed on each building concurrently, ensuring that the problem does not move sideways. This may also reduce the cost of the product for all parties concerned as a result of buying in quantity. In order to better understand what areas of a building may be prone to perching or roosting issues (once currently occupied surfaces have been protected) please refer to the DIY Controls page where a detailed assessment of every area where pigeons may perch is discussed. The 'Quick guide to pigeon control and the law' discussion document also provides a detailed view as to what can and cannot be done to each area of a property in respect of both the law and the various deterrents that may or may not be appropriate.

Prior to installing Defender™ pigeon spikes it is important to remember that the product should not be installed when it is raining or where the surface to be protected is wet or when the temperature is above 45°C or below 5°C. If installation is undertaken in these conditions the comprehensive Defender™ warranty will be compromised. The surface to be protected must be thoroughly cleaned, ensuring that all guano and other debris is completely removed. It is also important to remove lichen or any other plant growth, such as moss. For the silicone to key to the surface to be protected it must be dry and completely clean. It is unnecessary to waste money on branded cleaning agents; these are no better than hot soapy water (with a splash of disinfectant if required), but if using a liquid to clean it is important to ensure the surface is completely dry before installing the spikes.

In many cases pigeon spikes are actually installed in the wrong areas and therefore fail to resolve the problem – this is not the sole preserve of the layman, however; many professional contractors make similar errors when assessing the correct areas to install the product. If a windowsill or ledge is soiled with guano it is not always the case that pigeons are perching on this surface, particularly if the area is at first floor level or below. It is highly likely that the soiling results from perching or roosting above the surface, possibly on external exposed pipework, a hopper, guttering or on upper storey windowsills. These are the areas that need to be protected. If the areas where the pigeon spikes need to be installed are outside the scope of a DIY installation a window cleaner or roofing contractor will often install pigeon spikes for whatever reason on your behalf.

Defender 4™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 4™ Steel
Anti-Roosting Spikes

The surface to be protected will have already been measured during the assessment process to ensure that the requisite volume of spikes are available when work starts - this is particularly important if the installation is at height where access equipment has to be used. Access equipment such as scaffold or cherry pickers (vertical lifts) are expensive and will be charged by the week or day respectively, so ensuring that you have access to all areas that require protection (and the requisite volume of pigeon spikes) is critical. Irrespective of how well the property is assessed there will always be areas that need slightly longer runs of pigeon spikes than originally anticipated or areas that had not originally been identified. It is therefore sensible to buy 10% more product than is required, based on the fact that most suppliers will accept returns of unused, excess product. It is important to remember, however, that in a vast majority of cases this will attract a 20% re-stocking fee. This is another area where the Defender™ range differs – whether the volume of Defender™ pigeon spikes purchased has been deliberately over-ordered or whether there is a small excess once the installation is complete, the product can be returned to Pigeon Control Resource Centre without any re-stocking fee for a full and ‘no questions asked’ refund. It is also worth pointing out that Pigeon Control Resource Centre will willingly send out free samples of their Defender™ range of products prior to purchase, thereby allowing the property owner to see precisely what the product looks and feels like prior to placing an order. This is extremely helpful should there be any doubt about whether pigeon spikes are the most appropriate product to suit the building concerned and indeed in an effort to choose between the moulded polycarbonate spike or the stainless steel spike.

Defender Fixing Silicone™

Once the surface to be protected has been thoroughly cleaned and allowed to dry the Defender™ Plastic or Defender™ Steel pigeon spikes can be installed. Whether the Defender™ plastic spike or steel spike has been chosen the installation process is the same. A generous bead (about 10mm – the thickness of a finger) of Defender Fixing Silicone™ should be applied onto the underside base of the spike if the surface is smooth and a slightly thicker bead if the surface is uneven. Defender Fixing Silicone™ can be used to install pigeon spikes to brick, timber, lead, glass, stonework, concrete, plastic, steel and most other surfaces where pigeon spikes may be required. A single tube of Defender Fixing Silicone™ will adhere approximately 24 strips of Defender™ plastic or steel spikes to the surface to be protected and life expectancy is at least 20 years.

The first row of Defender™ pigeon spikes (assuming that more than one row is required) is then installed close to the leading edge of the ledge, ensuring that the first pin completely covers and protects the leading edge itself. The pigeon spike should then be pressed down firmly until the Defender Fixing Silicone™ oozes through the star-shaped holes in the base of the spike – once dry the silicone will form a hard rivet which will lock the spike in place. If there is more than a 50mm gap behind the first row of Defender™ pigeon spikes the manufacturer recommends that another row will be required and should be installed in the same way as the first row. For wide ledges, windowsills or architectural features on period properties multiple rows of Defender™ plastic or steel pigeon spikes will be required and should be installed leaving gaps of no wider than 50mm between rows – this will provide comprehensive protection.

If the surface to be protected is uneven with raised areas it is extremely important to ensure that the Defender™ plastic or steel pigeon spike is installed onto the highest point. This is because if the lower area is protected it may be possible for a pigeon to stand on the raised area, rendering the installation less effective or completely ineffective. The Defender™ plastic or steel pigeon spikes should be installed onto the raised areas prior to spiking the lower sections. As with the entire Defender™ range of pigeon spikes, the base of each 335mm strip is provided with 9 breakable sections that allow the user to fit the spike to virtually any shape or size space, resulting in little or no wastage and seamless installations. If the surface is uneven this is particularly beneficial.

It is important to understand that if pigeons have entered a hole or recess in an exterior wall , soffit or an eave it is not sufficient to simply install Defender™ pigeon spikes to resolve the problem. It is likely that pigeons have entered the cavity for the purposes of nesting and/or roosting. If pigeons have dependent young they will not be deterred by pigeon spikes and will make strenuous efforts to access their young, almost certainly dislodging the pigeon spikes in the process. Any attempts to block the hole would have the potential to trap adult and/or young dependent birds within the cavity. This would not only be illegal, due to the fact that it would cause unnecessary suffering, but it would also cause health and safety issues within the building. This is because once a trapped pigeon dies its carcass will become maggot infested within a matter of days and the smell from the decomposing carcass will be extremely unpleasant. It is therefore incumbent on any property owner to fully investigate the interior of each and every cavity prior to blocking the hole. Any adult or dependent birds must be removed prior to taking any action. A detailed explanation of how to go about surveying cavities and voids is provided on the DIY Controls page.

It should also be noted that contractors (painters, window cleaners, builders, roofing contractors, etc.) will often dislodge, break or remove pigeon spikes when working on a property. If pigeon spikes have been installed prior to works being required or undertaken it is important to instruct the contractor concerned to avoid them or, if access to spiked areas is required, that spikes should be removed and replaced before and after works have been completed. It may be wise to consider building this requirement into any contract or agreement.

We have now discussed the installation of Pigeon Control Resource Centre’s standard range of Defender™ plastic and steel pigeon spikes, but there are two further spike-based anti-roosting products within the Defender™ range that fall outside the ‘specialist application’ range of products but which require slightly different installation. These products are the Defender Pipe Spike™ and the Defender™ Gutter Spike.

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Defender™ Pipe Spike

Defender™ Pipe Spike

Defender™ Pipe Spike

The Defender™ Pipe Spike is a purpose-built narrow spike that is designed to protect all types of pipework in the range 25mm to 150mm from perching or roosting by pigeons. The Defender™ Pipe Spike is constructed from stainless steel 304-grade wires protruding from a Durolon UV-protected polycarbonate base and is identical to the Defender™ plastic and steel spike. The product warranty on the Defender™ Pipe Spike is 12 years and the product is available in standard strips of 335mm.

The Defender™ Pipe Spike comes with special serrated cable ties that are ready attached to the base of the product to provide the user with an extremely quick and straightforward installation. A conventional pipe spike is adhered to a pipe with silicone and then, at the user’s discretion, may be further secured by using a standard cable tie. If silicone is used as the sole means of adhering a pipe spike to a pipe it will almost certainly be dislodged by the first pigeon that tries to land on the pipe. The Defender™ Pipe Spike comes equipped with a special serrated cable tie that does not require silicone and which grips the pipe firmly enough to ensure that the spike cannot be dislodged. As with all pigeon spikes, the surface of the pipe must be cleaned thoroughly prior to installation.

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Defender™ Gutter Spike

Defender™ Gutter Spike

Defender™ Gutter Spike

The Defender™ Gutter Spike is used to protect guttering and hoppers of all types with an almost instant installation, courtesy of the integral attaching clip which clips the whole assembly to the outer lip of a gutter or hopper in seconds. As with the Defender™ Pipe Spike and the standard Defender™ plastic and steel spikes, the Defender™ Gutter Spike is constructed from stainless steel 304-grade wires protruding from a Durolon UV-protected polycarbonate base. The product warranty on the Defender™ Gutter Spike is 12 years and the product is available in standard strips of 333mm.

There are two industry standard methods of protecting a span of guttering and both methods are completely inadequate and prone to almost instant failure. The first is to install a single vertical spike to the leading edge of the gutter via a series of insubstantial clamps which inevitably fail and become dislodged as soon as the first bird attempts to land on the gutter. The second is a version of the post and wire system which involves clamping, once again with insubstantial clamps, a series of vertical steel posts which support a steel wire designed to be suspended approximately 8mm to 10mm above the leading edge of the gutter. As with the vertical spike, as soon as a pigeon attempts to land on the leading edge of the gutter and touches the suspended wire the vertical posts cave in and the system becomes completely ineffective. In both cases these products are not only a waste of money but they only protect the leading edge of the gutter, not the gutter itself where pigeons often nest in the summer months.

The Defender™ Gutter Spike is unique in as much as the entire spike assembly, consisting of 3 stainless steel pins, one vertical and two angled, protect the entire gutter, including the leading edge and the whole interior of the gutter from both perching and nesting. Not only this, but the assembly will also help stop other debris such as twigs from building up within the gutter and causing a blockage with subsequent water ingress problems to the property concerned. Neither clamps nor adhesive are required to install the system; the assembly clips to the leading edge of the gutter ensuring that the system is not only 100% effective but it is completely reversible so that if access is required to the roof for any reason the assembly can be de-installed and then re-installed in seconds. The Defender™ Gutter Spike is a completely unique anti-roosting system that renders all other gutter protection systems redundant.

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DEFRA’s view:

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the UK's Government body that oversees the Wildlife and Countryside Act and produces legislation to which the pest control industry must adhere. The following information is taken from a document provided on the DEFRA website entitled 'Review of international research regarding the effectiveness of auditory bird scaring techniques and potential alternatives' by J. Bishop, H. McKay, D. Parrott and J. Allan.

"Point systems consist of strips of plastic or metal with thin, upward-pointing, stainless steel or plastic spikes in a variety of configurations, which are attached to ledges. The spikes present a physical barrier to prevent birds from landing. These systems are relatively expensive and although easy to install, they require checking occasionally in order to remove debris which may cover up the wires, reducing effectiveness. The tips of wire spikes are cut square, as sharpened tip systems, (which are used in the USA), are illegal for use in the UK (Turner 1998)."

*Editor's comment: The above view that anti-roosting spikes are expensive is not upheld by the Pigeon Control Resource Centre. Please see the 'Editorial comments' section.

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Price range:

The Defender™ range of products is extensive and includes both moulded polycarbonate (plastic) pigeon spikes in 3 sizes and stainless steel pigeon spikes, also in 3 sizes. The ‘standard’ range also includes Defender Pipe Spikes™ and Defender Gutter Spikes™. The Defender™ ‘specialist applications’ range has a further range of products available, which is covered in a separate review entitled ‘Anti-roosting-spikes – specialist applications’.

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User reviews:

Guy Merchant, a leading international authority on pigeon control and founder of the Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS International), said the following of anti-roosting spikes:

“We (PiCAS International) have recommended anti-roosting spikes to our extensive client base for decades, based on the effectiveness of the product, the ease of installation and the fact that the product is the most humane anti-roosting product or bird exclusion product on the market. As the anti-roosting spike is so effective, in our opinion 100% effective, the use of this product negates the need for other more invasive controls, such as culling, to be used.

As independent experts specialising in humane and non-lethal control systems, our clients look to us to provide a solution that will be cost effective and at the same time will not harm or cause suffering to the target species. Although the anti-roosting spike may look aggressive and appear to have the potential to harm birds, in reality the reverse is the case. In my personal experience I have only once been made aware of a pigeon harming itself on anti-roosting spikes and yet tens of thousands of birds die each and every year having come into contact with so-called humane bird exclusion products, such as netting.

PiCAS International has always recommended Pigeon Control Resource Centre’s product range for a number of reasons, but most importantly because the company ethic is such that they will never sell any product or device that can be used to kill or harm birds and their Defender™ range of anti-roosting spikes are the best on the market – period.”

The following user comments were kindly supplied by Pigeon Control Resource Centre in respect of feedback for their Defender™ range of products:

Name: Alexandra Martin-Zakheim

“Very efficient service and delivery of an excellent product. No pidgeons and happy hosters who don't have to put up with being fouled on from above.”

Name: Andrew Harrison

“Absolutely brilliant...simplicity itself...pigeons have instantly moved on...not a lot more to say - does exactly what it says on the tin!!”

Name: Mr L Charles

“I had pigeons on my TV Aerial and Sky dish all the time making a right mess on the floor below. Since installing the spikes on the aerial with cable ties I’ve had no more unsightly mess. I also found that the gutter clips sold by this company allow you to clip the spikes on your satellite dish. Excellent products and delivered next day as promised.”

Name: Jeremy Redman

“Fully effective and simplicity itself to install - and the pigeons have learned to roost on the roof again! There will always be a trade off between mess and the pleasure of attracting wild birds to your garden; but at least it's easier now to get rid of it and far less unsightly.”

Name: John Habberley

“The pigeon spikes secured to the end of the roof have ensured that the patio underneath is now free of pigeon droppings - a great success story! The workmen who installed them were very pleased with the quality of the glue and have asked for your company details. Now free of pigeon droppings. Regards and thanks for a good product.”

Name: Frank Creese

“The spikes have totally deterred pigeons from fouling our bay window facia tiles and pavior. We are now free from the chore of constantly having to wash down the affected areas.”

Name: Pat Oxley

“Extremely easy to fit and unobtrusive to the eye, very satisfied. Our newly rendered walls are pigeon poop free.”

Name: James Wright

“The website is extremely easy to use and secure for ordering purposes. The site has loads of pictures and is full of great information. Quite simply a joy to use for any customer. I had a problem with Starlings nesting under the roof tiles. They were getting in where the tiles overlap the gutter. The spikes have totally resolved this problem as they were easy to fit to the gutter and thus blocked up the holes under the tiles to prevent entry. Job done.....does not get any easier :-).”

Name: Matt Searston

“Easy to buy, quick delivery, simple installation..... No more Pigeons ! No more droppings on the decking.”

Name: Kim McKenzie

“Since installing the spikes me versus the pigeons round one has been a success. The pigeons have steered and swooped well away from my balcony and I have now scrubbed my balcony and can now have my breakfast in peace and free of pigeon mess. A very happy customer and great value for money and my friends say the slim metal spikes are actually quite stylish. I cannot put into words the satisfaction at seeing them sitting on the roof opposite in the rain.

I hope this helps although some feedback for you- being a girl and not understanding that the glue to attach the spikes needed a gun to apply it it -would be very helpful to mention this when purchasing the glue as I had to make an unplanned trip to B&Q"

Name: Gavin Skinner

“Easy to use, and very effective on keeping pigeons at bay. Other than not having the mess from pigeons to clean up ( which is brilliant ) , no change!!”

Name: Sue Gardiner

Company: Hacienda Management Services

“The company is Hacienda Management Services and we are based in Fuente Alamo, Murcia, Spain. The pigeon spikes are fantastic and I run a management company based on a golf resort where before the land was agricultural and the villas have all had pigeon problems. Unused villas have piles of pigeon poo and nests with eggs or babies so these spikes are fantastic in that they stop the pigeons from roosting.”

Name: John Haslehurst

“The plastic spikes I purchassed were extremely easy to put in place, I used small screws one at each end of the strip. The Decking has remained clear of Pigeon Poo since putting them up, however the other birds have decided to perch on the actual decking and are causing a mess. That said they are smaller birds and the mess is easier to clear up. I've not seen a bird trying to land on the pergola since so they do work.”

Name: Iain Wilson

“For 6 years now we have suffered from Pigeons roosting on our Television Aerial which is positioned just above a newly constructed Conservatory. The problem that comes with roosting pigeons is a large amount of pigeon waste. This waste was being launched from the TV aerial onto the conservatory roof then across onto our kitchen windows. Thankfully this is now a thing of the past due to the very effective and safe pigeonoff deterrent. Using the polycarb spikes these are both safe to the pigeons and does not affect the TV reception. Only problem now is the pigeons no longer roost with us but have moved to our neighbours….maybe another order on the way.”

Name: Joshua Nartker (Project Manager)

Company: Kodiak Roofing & Waterproofing, Lincoln, CA, USA

Deterapigeon.com was easy to navigate, simple and to the point. We received the bird spikes quickly and found them easy to install, an effortless assembly!

Our client was pleased with the product and we are sure it will provide added protection to the roof system and its finish.”

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Comments from the Manufacturer/Distributor:

The following manufacturer quote has been kindly provided by David Jones, who is Director of the UK’s leading manufacturer of anti-roosting spikes, Jones and Son. The Jones and Son range includes the Defender™ range of anti-roosting spikes:

“Jones and Son are leading manufacturers of humane and affordable anti-roosting bird spikes. All of our spike systems simply prevent birds from landing without any injury. Jones and Son developed and patented the Defender™ range of spikes, which can be simply installed without the need to bring in a specialist contractor. Our spikes are manufactured to the highest possible standards; we only use ultraviolet-stabilised polycarbonate bases and stainless steel wires. With such a high product specification we have no hesitation in offering 10-year or 12-year extended warranties on every component or product we produce.

Our aim is to ensure that the quality of our products is matched by the customer support that is offered to all purchasers or enquirers. We are a close and caring family business that encourages the public to contact us for advice, irrespective of the problem that they are experiencing; we usually reply within 2 hours and ask people to test us - if we fail then we'll send them a large bar of chocolate! If customers are unsure what a bird spike will look like on their property then we’ll send them a free sample. If after the purchase they change their mind they can simply return them for a full refund. And if they've got a few left over we'll also refund them for the unused quantity. Customer service and value for money is the watchword of our business.”

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Editorial comments:

It is quite clear that anti-roosting spikes are the ultimate anti-perching system available for the control of feral pigeon populations; whether it be on large commercial sites for the control of large flocks or to stop a pair of pigeons nesting on a residential property, the product is equally appropriate and just as effective. The product is simple to install, available with an extraordinarily long guarantee (if purchasing the product from the Defender™ range) and can be installed as a DIY installation by the property owner. These factors alone confirm the pigeon spike as the optimum deterrent for both the property owner who is prepared to undertake a DIY installation and the pest control industry itself, installing, as it does, millions of metres of pigeon spikes on client properties every year. The sheer range of spike-based products available from the Defender™ range ensures that the pigeon spike can be used for virtually every application, be it a chimney pot or a windowsill, guttering or external pipework - the installation options are wide ranging and the product itself is enormously versatile.

The comments taken from the DEFRA website (please see ‘DEFRA’s view’) are surprisingly low key and not particularly inspiring, certainly in light of the fact that leading experts within the field of pigeon control are, as one, wholly convinced by the effectiveness of the pigeon spike and recommend them widely. DEFRA also suggests that the pigeon spike is expensive, but this is simply not the case. The pigeon spike is clearly the most cost-effective anti-roosting product available due to its longevity and its effectiveness, and when compared to the cost of other products, such as nylon bird netting or the post and wire system, the cost of a spike-based system pales into insignificance. Commercial contractors will often recommend nylon bird netting or post and wire systems in preference to pigeon spike-based systems and yet it is often the case that extensive netting or post and wire-based systems will cost literally thousands of pounds more than an equivalent spike-based system. Not only this, but both netting and post and wire systems require invasive suspension systems that are not reversible, whereas spike-based systems, using silicone as an adhesive, are wholly non-invasive and completely (and easily) reversible.

Defender Fixing Silicone™

Defender Fixing Silicone™

Where the control of feral bird populations is concerned the trend is now for non-lethal and completely humane systems, unlike the recent past where the pest control industry sold culling as its main service. Although the law states quite clearly that it is illegal to use lethal means to control birds such as pigeons to protect a property, or unless there is a demonstrable and serious threat to public health, culling was widespread and, incredibly, is still offered as a control option today. The anti-roosting spike negates the need for any form of lethal control, based on the effectiveness of the product, and this holds great appeal for a vast majority of those experiencing pigeon-related (or bird-related) problems. The Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS International), an independent not-for-profit organization, has been a long-time supporter of the pigeon spike and rarely recommends any other product, based simply on the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and the ability of the product to offer the user a humane and stand-alone control system. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), a world leader where the provision of bird habitats is concerned, also recommends the anti-roosting spike.

Each and every property owner that experiences a problem with pigeons is looking for a product that is cheap to purchase, inexpensive and quick to install, reversible and can be installed by the user. The pigeon spike ticks all these boxes and more. The Defender™ range of products is aimed at the DIY installer and offers each purchaser, irrespective of how small the order, with a CD clearly showing what steps need to be taken to undertake a permanent and sound pigeon spike installation. The Defender™ range is also easy and straightforward to buy on the Internet and Pigeon Control Resource Centre, the manufacturer and distributor, openly encourages the public to contact them for advice or information about what product to choose and what they should do if they experience a problem. Not only this, but the company will happily send out free samples of the product prior to purchase and refund the customer, with no re-stocking fee, should the customer have excess product remaining following installation. This user-friendly approach is welcome and long overdue in a marketplace that is not always renowned for its transparency and good customer relations.

Although there are a vast number of distributors and retailers selling pigeon spikes on the Internet we are starting to see cheap Asian imports coming onto the UK market and this is a worrying turn of events. Broadly speaking, UK and European-manufactured products are of a reasonably high standard, but many of the products coming in from Asia are far from this. Some products are dressed up to look like conventional and recognizable products and yet they are made from inferior materials and simply cannot be compared to ranges such as the Defender™ range. Our strong advice is to contact the Pigeon Control Resource Centre for independent advice if in doubt and always buy pigeon spikes from a reputable UK or European source. Cheap imported pigeon spikes may cost a little less but they come with no warranty (and if one is offered it is unlikely to be honoured) and they will probably need to be replaced within a year or two at best.

In respect of application, the pigeon spike cannot be beaten, based on the huge variety of surfaces upon which the product can be installed. The pigeon spike can also be used by owners of period properties or grade-listed buildings with a clear conscience due to the non-invasive nature of installation. For use on listed buildings it is always wise to discuss the installation of deterrents with a listed buildings officer prior to installing any pigeon control products, although some listed buildings officers harbour negative views of the pigeon spike for reasons most can’t explain. The fact of the matter is that there is no pigeon control product that is less invasive to install than the pigeon spike. Some other anti-roosting products may appear to be less visible (such as the electric shock system or the post and wire system) but once installed they are no less visible or less damaging to the aesthetics of the buildings concerned than the pigeon spike and they will be very considerably less effective as a stand-alone control. In most cases they will almost certainly be a great deal more expensive.

The extensive range of anti-roosting products available from the Defender™ range now offer the property owner a staggering number of innovative options for protecting their property without the need to compromise aesthetics or have to use the services of a specialist contractor for supply or installation. In the past property owners have had to rely solely on both advice and the supply of products from specialist contractors and the customer has not always been provided with the best option to suit their needs. With the advent of the Internet, however, buying products from companies like Pigeon Control Resource Centre, who are wholly customer led, not only provides the property owner with a huge range of sensibly priced products but also offers free expert advice to anyone experiencing a pigeon-related problem. Not only is every Defender™ product dispatched with a free installation CD, but for more complex problems, or for unexpected problems, the team of experts at Pigeon Control Resource Centre are available 5 days a week for telephone advice. This level of customer service was previously unheard of within the pest control industry and, at last, a leading manufacturer and supplier of bird control products has brought the industry into the 21st century.

To date, the pigeon spike is the only product that we have reviewed to receive a 5 star rating and deservedly so – the anti-roosting spike is simply the best defence against pigeons that money can buy, no exceptions.

Sources:

DEFRA quotes:

PDF on DEFRA website entitled: ‘Review of international research regarding the effectiveness of auditory bird scaring techniques and potential alternatives’ By J Bishop, H McKay, D Parrott and J Allan.

Also commonly known as:

Pigeon spikes, Defender Chimney Pot Spikes™, needle strips, Defender 8™ plastic, bird spikes, Defender Ridge Spikes™, pipe spikes, Defender 4™ steel, stainless spikes, Defender 8™ steel, plastic spikes, Defender Starling and Sparrow Spikes™, polycarbonate spikes, Defender 4™ plastic, point system, Defender Rocking Spider™, spikes, Defender 12™ steel, Defender TV Aerial Pack™, pigeon point, Defender Gutter Spikes™, birdpoint, Defender pipe spike™, bird point, Defender Gull™, roost inhibitor, Defender Opening Window Spikes™

Relevance to pigeon control:

Anti-roosting spikes are pigeon specific and have a high relevance to pigeon control

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