Deer are a common sight across much of the United States. If you have a garden, those fluffy white-tailed creatures can become quite the adversary. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to deter deer from your garden and yard.
Wind chimes will startle deer when their striking sound is first heard. Over time, deer may learn that the noise is harmless. You can hang wind chimes on your porch or any trees that are frequently visited by white-tailed deer or, you can use shepards hooks to hang wind chimes near your garden.
In most areas, deer are easily startled. The noise of the wind chimes should be enough to send them running. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t have much air movement, wind chimes are designed to be light and will move with even a slight breeze.
Why Would A Deer Be Afraid of Wind Chimes?
Deer can tune into frequency between 4-8 kHz and hear just about the same as humans. So why would the sound from a windchime scare a deer?
Deer are used to the quiet serenity of the forest. Even deer that are seen near suburbs and cities will normally travel to a nearby stand of quiet trees to bed down or find food.
The sound of a windchime, common for many humans, is something foreign and scary to a deer. Unless the deer frequently travels by a house with wind chimes, chances are the deer has never heard them before.
Imagine, you’re walking in the forest hiking and all of a sudden, you hear a LOUD striking noise. You’re in a totally different environment and naturally, this will send your heart racing. Humans are a tad more intelligent than deer, so we’ll most likely be cautious and try to analyze the situation to assess the risk.
Deer however are naturally just EXTREMELY skittish. When they hear something foreign, they’ll do one of the following:
Either perch their heard up, listen to the sound, and then BOLT when they determine a possible risk.
Just plain ol’ bolt when they first hear the sound.
Why Are Deer in My Yard in The First Place?
You may notice deer flocking to your yard, trampling on your grass, but leaving your neighbor’s yard pristine. What’s up with that?
Just like people, deer have favorite foods too. Even if you don’t have a garden, your yard might still attract deer if you have acorn-bearing trees such as white oaks, hickory trees and chestnut trees. Fruit-bearing trees such as apple and pear can also attract deer.
If you have a garden, deer will do all they can to get their hooves on leafy greens and lettuce. They love beets, cabbage, plums, strawberries, sweet corn, broccoli, and even turnips (turnips… gross). If you plan to have any of these in your garden, it’s a good idea to install some deer deterrents.
Is There Anything Deer Won’t Eat?
So, deer like pretty much all the favorite vegetables of a garden. They like oak trees. Is there anything these critters won’t eat?
If you want to double-up on your deer deterrent, consider planting vegetables in your garden that deer do not like. The strong odor of garlic, onions, and mint will keep deer away. They also dislike asparagus, cucumbers, parsley, peppers, tomatoes, and leeks.
However, if it is the beginning of spring when food is still scarce, deer may still go after these vegetables if they are desperate for food.
Beech and ash trees aren’t a favorite of the deer. Most flowering trees are not very appetizing to a deer, and evergreen trees are a safe bet not to attract deer either. If you still want an apple or other fruit tree in your yard, consider hanging wind chimes in the tree itself. It won’t hurt the fruit, and it may deter deer and other wildlife from eating the precious fruit.
Why Wind Chimes Might Only Deter Deer Initially
You may have noticed your wind chimes worked initially at keeping those pesky deer away. But now? The deer come waltzing into your yard as bold as ever, munching on your hard-grown crops. What gives?
The fact is, deer will become accustomed to the sound of wind chimes over time. It’s just like when you move to a new neighborhood and must get adjusted to the background noise: cars, sirens, music, etc. Eventually, you don’t even hear it.
Deer are the same way. So, what’s the solution? You can try to use different sounding wind chimes to mix up the noises. But again, the deer will eventually get used to the noise and you will have to change them again.
The best thing you can do is to instill other practices, like using a motion sensor light, radio, or garden fencing along with using wind chimes. The more deterrents, the more likely you are to come out on top.
Wind Chimes To Deter Deer
There are many ways to deter deer from your yard and garden. Wind chimes are one of the most practical choices. They are cost-effective and tend to work just as well as a more expensive alternative, albeit for a shorter period.
Below are a few options to choose from to fulfill your deer deterrent needs.
This aluminum windchime is a great choice to deter deer. The long chimes will provide ample noise with even the smallest breeze. The three S hooks included give you a variety of options for hanging the chime.
It includes 18 different tubes, all of varying lengths. This means there will be different sounds with each breeze, keeping deer on their toes (or hooves!)
The Afirst wind chimes consist of six bamboo tubes. This is a great choice if you plan to hang the wind chime in or next to a tree. The wood and bamboo look will blend more naturally with the surrounding scenery than metal chimes.
All in all, the Afirst wind chime is 30 inches in height, and comes with an S-hook for easy hanging. The sound it produces may sound more natural to us humans than a metal wind chime. But to a deer, the noise will still sound foreign and will most likely scare them away at first.
How to Make A DIY Wind Chime?
You can make wind chimes from almost any material – old keys, seashells, spoons, old kitchen utensils, beads, rocks. If you want to make a professional-looking home-made windchime, you can follow the steps here from Popular Mechanics.
If you’re not so savvy with tools and cutting lumber, consider using materials you have around the house. Follow these steps to make your own windchime:
- Find the material you want for the chimes (seashells, spoons, beads, etc.). Poke small holes through the material. This might be as simple as using a pencil tip to poke a hole, or you may have to go as far as using a small drill bit to put holes through them.
- Use thin wire, such as a fishing line, and thread the chimes through the wire. You can tie knots after each piece to keep them spaced out. Make sure to leave plenty of space on the end of the wire to tie to the top of your wind chime.
- Find the material you want to use for the top of your wind chime. This will be what you hang your chimes from. It could be a short piece of driftwood, a plastic ruler, a metal strainer. Get creative!
- Attach your wire and chimes to the material you’ve chosen. You’re almost done!
- Use twine, rope, or other material to attach to the top of your windchime so you can hang it up and enjoy your completed craft!
If you’re not so savvy with tools or crafting, buying online is going to be your best bet. There are plenty of beautifully designed wind chimes online, or you can always go with a simple, functional design to fit your deer repellent needs.
Use Other Deer Deterrents with Wind Chimes
Combine other deterrents with your wind chimes to better repel deer from your yard and garden. There are a few options, from simple noisemakers to high-tech lights and sprinkler systems.
Reflectors are a tool similar to wind chimes. They are simple, functional, and cost effective. Reflectors will catch the light of the sun and reflect it into the eyes of an approaching animal. This can catch a deer’s eye and startle them. Like wind chimes, they may not understand what it is at first, and will be cautious about coming back.
For a more natural deterrent, try planting pungent perennials around your yard. Lavender, mint, and chives are all great choices. The aroma may hide the scent of nearby favorites.
If you’re looking for something a little more high-tech, consider getting a motion-activated light. This will serve as a deterrent at night. When a deer trots across the motion sensor a light will turn on, most likely startling it and scaring it off.
Are Wind Chimes Worth It?
If deer are just going to get used to wind chimes, should you even bother?
Most people who tend a garden or enjoy the outdoors enough to notice deer are probably okay with having wind chimes on their porch or in their trees.
Wind chimes give off calming notes and chimes that make the outdoors more enjoyable. Will it deter all the deer all the time? Probably not. But it can startle them enough to stay out of your yard for a while and are great porch decorations. It’s worth an attempt to pair with other methods.
That’s A Wrap!
Wind chimes are a great choice for a dual-purpose yard decoration. With the help of a stiff breeze, wind chimes can startle and scare off deer, leaving your yard and garden safe from those pesky critters.
D’Angelo, G. J., De Chicchis, A. R., Osborn, D., Gallagher, G. R., Warren, R. J., & Miller, K. V. (2007). Hearing Range of White-Tailed Deer as Determined by Auditory Brainstem Response. Journal of Wildlife Management, 1238-1242.
Deer Resistant Vegetables and Herbs. (2017). Retrieved from University of Connecticut: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/deer-resistant-vegetable-varieties.php
How to attract whitetail to your land. (n.d.). Retrieved from My Land Plan: https://mylandplan.org/content/how-attract-whitetail-your-land/
Heffner Jr, H., & Heffner, H. E. (2010). The behavioral audiogram of whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus). The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 127(3), EL111-EL114.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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