Gourd Question

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LOUISIANA88
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:53 pm
Location: Lecompte, LA

Just a question for the experts...I'm hoping to attract some martins this spring.

I currently have a s&k martin barn (red) on a telescoping 15' triangular pole .... I would like to add a few gourds under the barn.

On the tractor supply website, I see a gourd rack that would fit onto my triangular pole, and allow me to hang about 6 gourds.

My question is, what gourd brand would fit onto the rack? I would like to hang some Supergourds or Excluders, but I'm not sure if they would fit right. Would I have to use S&K gourds?

Thank you!
Louisiana88
John Miller
Posts: 4774
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

I have not evaluated this gourd holder other than in photos, but I would have concerns that super gourds would be too heavy. Excluders are even heavier.

Suggest a lighter gourd, either the 9 inch S&K or a couple of natural gourds, and maybe only a couple of gourds. You don't want to over weight your pole...it will increase risk of crashing in a high wind.

Another option to add more housing would be another barn...two barns are better than one sometimes - ha.

John M
LOUISIANA88
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:53 pm
Location: Lecompte, LA

John Miller wrote:I have not evaluated this gourd holder other than in photos, but I would have concerns that super gourds would be too heavy. Excluders are even heavier.

Suggest a lighter gourd, either the 9 inch S&K or a couple of natural gourds, and maybe only a couple of gourds. You don't want to over weight your pole...it will increase risk of crashing in a high wind.

Another option to add more housing would be another barn...two barns are better than one sometimes - ha.

John M
John- thanks a bunch for the advice! Appreciate it!
Glynn B - LA
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Louisiana West Monroe

The gourd rack that tractor supply sells would hold two to four of the lighter nine inch gourds. You can find the gourds on the tractor supply site. To enhance the nine inch gourds, you could purchase S&K tunnels to make them even safer for the martins. Good luck!

Glynn
2019 26 pair 116 fledged
2018 20 pair 76 fledged
2017 19 pair 82 fledged
2016 13 pair 48 fledged
2015 3 pair 13 fledged
2014 1 pair 4 fledged
2013 2 pair 6 fledged
2012 0 pair
2011 0 pair

I don’t have the perfect site. One open flyway with trees within 80 ft. I do have a small pond they utilize during the heat of Summer. (2017) HEAVY HAWK PREDATION
LOUISIANA88
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:53 pm
Location: Lecompte, LA

Glynn B - LA wrote:The gourd rack that tractor supply sells would hold two to four of the lighter nine inch gourds. You can find the gourds on the tractor supply site. To enhance the nine inch gourds, you could purchase S&K tunnels to make them even safer for the martins. Good luck!

Glynn
Thanks Glynn!
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

I also think that you can easily overweight the pole. The pole is only strong enough to support what you already have on it. I would hate to see a bent pole, or a fallen house which could easily happen in rough weather. I would first try 2 very light gourds.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
Robert Richerson
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:08 am
Location: Campbellsville, KY

Everyone is being polite, but I personally don't like those houses. Have you converted them into 6" x 12" compartments? Unless they have recently been producing them as 6" x 12", I would go with 4 gourds, and I bet you would have better luck attracting. That house in my opinion is simply an overweight, plastic heatbox.

As far as weight goes, natural gourds are the lightest.

I remember my first martin house, a Heath way, way, back. I attracted one pair, but they could never fledge any.
LOUISIANA88
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:53 pm
Location: Lecompte, LA

Robert Richerson wrote:Everyone is being polite, but I personally don't like those houses. Have you converted them into 6" x 12" compartments? Unless they have recently been producing them as 6" x 12", I would go with 4 gourds, and I bet you would have better luck attracting. That house in my opinion is simply an overweight, plastic heatbox.

As far as weight goes, natural gourds are the lightest.

I remember my first martin house, a Heath way, way, back. I attracted one pair, but they could never fledge any.
Thanks for your honesty and your response. I closed the attic entrances of the barn and converted the 6x6" rooms to 6x12" rooms. I'm new to all of this, so I'm just trying to learn. I also didnt have $350 plus to spend on this project, so that may give you a better understanding of why I chose to start off with the s&k barn.

I suppose the martins don't mind that red "heatbox" too much.. had 4 adults on it this afternoon. :roll: Good luck this year!
Robert Richerson
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:08 am
Location: Campbellsville, KY

My brutal honesty gets me into trouble. I'm a gourd guy. I bought a T-14 years back and thought I would put it up in the center of my colony just because it would look good. But then decided against it. It is still in my basement half painted.
edsauerheber
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:28 am
Location: Eddyville, KY
Martin Colony History: 2012-3 pair
2013-6 pair
2014-9 pair
2015-16 pair
2016-20 pair
2017-40 pair
2018-50 pair
My site consist of 60 assorted gourds and 2-S&K houses (modified to 6 rms. and raised porches). Located at Eddy Creek on Barkley Lake. Adding a round rack for 2019 season.

I had the same idea and bought the gourd rack and the gourds and added them under the barn. The pole is only rated for 12 lbs and each of the gourds are about 2 lbs a piece maybe more when you add the tunnels and cooling caps. Needless to say the barn itself catches a lot of wind and my poles bent slightly. I would suggest putting them on a separate pole.
Kyler
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:15 pm
Location: Colby, Kansas
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member - Project MartinWatch - Enlarged Compartments - SREH - S&S Control - Mite Control - Predator Guards - Heat Control ( Vents and Insulation ) - Supplemental Feeding -

Manage 7 different colonies in Colby Kansas.

Robert,
I really like the T14s. If I remember I saw a picture awhile ago that you got your T14 with the opposite entrances? I never knew they could do that? Did you have to pay more to get it like that or what did you have to do?

Kyler,
Last edited by Kyler on Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Purple Martin Landlords of Northwest KS
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9HDLGlbCmSYcSExIySwUQA

2013 & 2015 - 0 Pair -
2014 - 1 Pair - 4 Eggs - 3 Hatched - 3 Fledged -
2016 - 5 Pair - 27 Eggs - 24 Hatched - 13 Fledged -
2017 - 18 Pair - 102 Eggs - 78 Hatched - 69 Fledged -
2018 - 22 Pair - 115 Eggs - 92 Hatched - 86 Fledged -
2019 - 28 Pair - 144 Eggs - 131 Hatched - 125 Fledged -
2020 - 40 Pair - 190 Eggs - 136 Hatched - 131 Fledged -
2021 - ??
greenporter
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 11:54 am
Location: Greenport NY

Robert Richerson wrote:My brutal honesty gets me into trouble. I'm a gourd guy. I bought a T-14 years back and thought I would put it up in the center of my colony just because it would look good. But then decided against it. It is still in my basement half painted.
Hi Robert, wonderful setup you have! Not meaning to hijack this thread but would be interested to know which of the gourd racks you have are your favorites, and why.

Thx,
Jim
tonyg
Posts: 1520
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Olpe, KS
Martin Colony History: 22 year landlord, 14 at current residence..offering 9 racks and a homemade T-8 for 166 total cavities. 160 Pair in 2018 Racks consist of a Deluxe 12, AAA 16, Starburst 16, 2 K-18 Series, Super 24, 2 Gemini, Multi-purpose/two trio’s/4gourds and a T-8..Great hobby to be involved in..

I have a tendency to agree with Robert on the barn houses..My neighbor put 3 of those houses up and the very first year they were bent severely by high winds..I personally wouldn't add any more weight to them at all.. I would save your pennies and invest in a starter rack of some sort with gourds..
22 year landlord..9 Rack Systems for 2018 and my home built T-8 for a total of 166 cavities..160 pair in 2018 ..SUPER COLONY!!! Love You Bev... Fan of those St. Louis Cardinals!!!!!
Chris B
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:10 pm
Location: AL/Toney

3" PVC pipe made into a 10' tall tee makes a good rack for 8 gourds. You will need 3 10' sticks, a tee, and 2 caps. Cut the two tee pieces so they will fit 4 gourds per side and accommodate swinging so they do not hit each other. I like to use a 7' fence post driven into the ground at least 2 feet, with a 1' piece of pipe at the bottom. I get some 4" drain pipe and cut a foot of it to put over the bottom piece. The reason for putting the lower piece there is so the rack can rotate more freely. The end caps will prevent a PM from going on one side of the tee and falling down into the vertical pole. I use a loop hook that I screw into the tee hole with some PVC glue, then run some safety wire around the tee through the loop hook, so it cannot come off. I use a piece of 14 AWG wire to make the loop through the hole in the gourd. Seal up the hole with Lexel caulk. To attach the gourd loop to the ring loop, I make "S" clips from a coat hangar and just close the top of the S clip when I hang the gourd. Easy to take down the gourd by opening up the top of the S clip.

Works well here, and we have had some pretty good winds come up.
2014 8 gourds, 3 pairs nested. Ended w/ 24 total
2015 24 gourds, 22 nests. Lotsa birds!
2016 24 gourds and good activity.
2017 32 SREH gourds. Great activity.
2018 40 SREH gourds. Good finish despite big storm damage. No more dangling gourds.
2019 56+ SREH gourds, all on 3/8 rods. Birds did very well.
2020 56 SREH gourds.
Ravens5281
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:14 pm
Location: Seymour, Indiana
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member:
Name: Stu Silver III
Begin trying to start a Colony since 2014
Had 2 Martins Visitors stop by (2014)
(2015) 2 Martins Visitors passed through
(2016) 35 Days that Martins Visitors/Stopped by but didn't nest

If ur just starting out trying to attract martins I would go with natural gourds for sure!! They r really lite & martins seem to pick them 1st!!
PMCA Member: From Seymour, Indiana
Name: Stu Silver III
Begin trying to start a Colony since 2014
Had 2 Martins Visitors stop by (2014)
(2015) 2 Martins Visitors passed through
(2016) 35 Days that Martins Visitors/Stopped by but didn't nest
Robert Richerson
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:08 am
Location: Campbellsville, KY

greenporter wrote:
Robert Richerson wrote:My brutal honesty gets me into trouble. I'm a gourd guy. I bought a T-14 years back and thought I would put it up in the center of my colony just because it would look good. But then decided against it. It is still in my basement half painted.
Hi Robert, wonderful setup you have! Not meaning to hijack this thread but would be interested to know which of the gourd racks you have are your favorites, and why.

Thx,
Jim
As you can tell by looking at the video of my colony, I have two type racks. Without question, my favorite would be the SuperSystem 24 Rack. And you can very easily, with just a dozen drill holes make this a 32 gourd rack as I have in all of mine.

I also have three DELUXE GOURD RACK ULTIMATE 24-UNIT racks, and they are fantastic also, although in my colony I am going to discard any gourds from these three racks. The main reason are that they are the closest to my home in the backyard, and there are two large pine trees between my home and my colony and I am getting tired of fighting nature which invites hawk attacks. I suppose I could move them, but I won't.

But without a doubt, the Supersystem 24 are so resistant to wind damage, they are my favorite. It would take violent hurricane like winds to affect this rack. And even then, they may come out standing tall and looking good.

Also, if you are deciding on one of these two racks, be advised the DELUXE GOURD RACK ULTIMATE 24-UNIT gourd rack, although fantastic, in my opinion are always more difficult to get 100% occupancy. I think the lower rack of six gourds are just too low to attract martins. But as a 12 unit rack, maybe even an 18 unit, they are great!
K_Adams
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:48 am
Location: Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Home Site 2015 & 2016 2 pairs, 2017 3 pairs
Public Park Site 2016 1 pair, 2017 28 pairs
Starting Middle School Site 1/2018, 12 gourds
Starting Elementary School Site 1/2018, 12 gourds

1/2017 Purple Martin Article in Baton Rouge Audubon Society's Newsletter
4/2017 Guest speaker at St. Bernard Bird Festival
5/2017 Purple Martin Article in Livingston Parish Newspaper
1/2018 Article to be included in PMCA Quarterly Magazine

I have the S&K Barn from Tractor Supply and was successful with two nesting pairs last year. I closed the top compartments and expanded the units to 6. I also have the 6 gourds from Tractor Supply hanging under them on the pole I bought I tractor supply. Budget was my concern as well. We don't raise the pole all the way to it's fullest potential and my husband added another hole for a pin to help with stability.

Another reason I went with this set up was because a neighbor across the street a few doors down has an old S&K Barn up that is overflowing with martins so I figured I'd put up what they like in the hopes to get them to my site, which worked. The year before I had my old housing up and the martins ignored it.

I'd suggest starting with the S&K Barn with maybe 2-4 gourds underneath and expand from there. Good luck!

Thanks, Krista

p.s. I'm in Denham Springs, LA
LOUISIANA88
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:53 pm
Location: Lecompte, LA

K_Adams wrote:I have the S&K Barn from Tractor Supply and was successful with two nesting pairs last year. I closed the top compartments and expanded the units to 6. I also have the 6 gourds from Tractor Supply hanging under them on the pole I bought I tractor supply. Budget was my concern as well. We don't raise the pole all the way to it's fullest potential and my husband added another hole for a pin to help with stability.

Another reason I went with this set up was because a neighbor across the street a few doors down has an old S&K Barn up that is overflowing with martins so I figured I'd put up what they like in the hopes to get them to my site, which worked. The year before I had my old housing up and the martins ignored it.

I'd suggest starting with the S&K Barn with maybe 2-4 gourds underneath and expand from there. Good luck!

Thanks, Krista

p.s. I'm in Denham Springs, LA
Great advice Krista! Thank you for your response!
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