Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version



Forage analyses revealed that mowed orchards provide a relatively high quality forage to meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), especially in the fall. Mowed forage was characterized by significantly higher protein and moisture content and significantly lower acid and neutral detergent fibre and lignin than forage from an abandoned orchard. Energy and fat were not significantly affected by mowing.. However, vole numbers declined markedly in mowed regions in comparison to undisturbed areas. Voles preferred to inhabit areas with dense cover even though vegetative dieback had occurred. Voles did not exhibit any distinct preference for either cracked corn (rodenticide carrier agent) or available forage at any time during the study. Voles did not change rates of forage consumption over the 6-month study. We conclude that mowing will not reduce acceptability of cracked corn and that removal of dense ground cover from the orchard would be one of the most effective and economical ways to reduce numbers of voles and minimize tree damage.