Wooden Martin House Winter Storage

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Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:13 pm
Location: MN/Ceylon

We have lost our winter storage area for our Wooden Martin Houses. I plan to take them down and clean them. My husband suggested we put them back up on the poles, cover the holes and then put a huge plastic bag over each one. I didn't think this would work, I thought the winter winds would soon poke a hole in the bags, plus it would look bad. I thought I would take them down, put each of them in a large plastic bag, store them off the ground with a large tarp over them. We just had them made 2 years ago, i get about 6-7 pair of Martins every year in the 3 houses. Any other ideas for storage, we have a garage, don't know if I can make something to store overhead. Any ideas out there, I would appreciate. Thank you in advance.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Whether you take them down for storage or leave them up, plastic is not a good idea, will keep moisture inside. A better option is canvas tarp, such as is used for boat covers. The PMCA shop has covers for a few houses - if they would fit yours ( http://shop.purplemartin.org/Cedar_Suit ... tails.aspx and http://shop.purplemartin.org/T14_Cover-details.aspx ) or you might see if there is a local business that makes/sells boat covers, maybe you could get some material from them to wrap your houses. Be sure squirrels or other rodents (chipmunks, etc) can't get to the houses and chew away, too.
Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

[EDIT: Louise said the same thing I was typing before I realized she had already posted]
Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Louise Chambers wrote:We're a team, Matt! 8)
I agree!!!! 8)
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

We store our gourds above the vehicles in the garage. Would you have a way to attach the housees to the garage ceiling, sort of like some people store their bikes on the garage ceiling?
Maybe you could put some eyebolts into the center of the ceiling joists, and use a thin rope to pull the house up to the top. If you try this, I would predrill the holes a bit smaller than the eyebolts so that the wood will not split.
Last edited by Emil Pampell-Tx on Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
Hanover Bill
Posts: 615
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Hi Joyjazz;

For my T-14 I simply lower it on the pole, and cover it with one of the cheap plastic tarps that are available most everywhere. These tarps allow the air to pass through so dampness is not a problem.

This method seemed to work fine for me last year. When I uncovered it in the spring it was good as new.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:30 pm
Location: OH/New Concord

I use canvas tarps with a plastic coating I buy them from the amish tarp makers
they are wonderful and wrap around the t-14s with Velcro strips
2015 69 pairs 418 eggs 396 fledged
2019 I have 148 openings now
2016 100 pairs 600 babies fledged added another t-14 and have 126 openings now
2015 Jun 24 360 babies and 58 eggs also found one that had died
2017 632 babies 11died and 20 were killed by hawks
2015 74 pairs and 9 eggs 5/14
2010 3pairss
2018 651 babies 5 hawk kills 11 floater kills 25 died in houses and 610 fledged

2014 80 pairs 283 babies 282 fledged one died
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: iowa/madrid

i hang my gourds that im working on above my cars in the shop. i bought, what i call--i hooks, , i took a small drill, and drilled pilot holes a bit smaller than the screw threads into the 2x4 rafters .screwed them in. went to mennards, they sell a stiff iron rod about the size of the hole on top that you hang your gourds from, i threaded my gourds on to the rod, left about 10inches over hanging each hook . after i threaded them thru, my son took a side, i took the other, lifted the rod up with gourds, and placed them over the hooks, they hang perfectly. if you are worried about how many gourds you can hang, with the weight, and it sagging, use 3 hooks instead of two, just center one in the middle of a joist also,and one on each end, leave enough rod to overlap the outside hooks.
I also went out and bought a tall standup, like rubbermaid, storage unit, has shelves that are adjustable, for my martin accessories., i have two t-12s, , exstra rails, caps, floors, doors, peraches, vents, elbows, for venting, and dusting material, ,, rope, pullys, paint cans, -- they were all over my shop, now, everything for my martins are there. inside the door , i mounted a folder holder from office max, plastic, i put a folder in there with what im doing, and keep my logs in there a on arrivals, ect-- supplimentle feeding in the spring, mite control, what worked, what didnt, ect. I Left the bottom shelf open for humming bird feeders, started making them out of wine bottles, clean the labels of paint the outside with flowers, ect, (wrap) the bottle with a copper like tubing that you can hang on a shepard hook in your flower bed, craft shops sell a cork with a drip tube in the center that fits in the mouth of the bottle . 4 cups boiling water, 2 cups sugar, red jello, or food coloring, you have , let it cool first, then pour it in the bottle, place the cork in it, hang. i an getting lots of hummingbirds.place them in your flower beds, near flowering plants. late evening is prime, mine use it thruout the day, but activityis morning, or evening. good luck on the gourds, hoped i could help!
Dave Duit
Posts: 1715
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

I knew you would do a good job on storing your gourds PMcharter. You are much like me in the fact that we do our best to keep our martins happy and safe.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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