PESKY pigeons could get hot and bothered after gel which burns like chilli was put on roofs to deter the birds.
Witham Town Council called in experts from Rentokil to hear options for shooing the growing numbers of birds away from buildings in the town centre.
Solutions ranged from netting, electrical bird deterrents and special gel with an active ingredient found in chillies to “burn” pigeons’ feet.
The idea of feeding pigeons contraceptives mixed with grain was also put forward by a resident.
The environment committee met to hear suggestions after complaints had been made to the council about slippery pigeon droppings.
Worst hit are the areas outside Greggs, in Newland Street, and outside businesses in Guithavon Street, where pigeons roost on the rooftops.
Sean Byrne, specialist service consultant at Rentokil, told the committee: “The electric deterrent system, similar to an electric fence, gives them a short shock and within five to seven days, the birds don’t land on the building anymore.
“It’s humane and does not harm the birds, but it does work well.”
He also suggested spraying a protective gel on to buildings which causes a burning sensation on pigeons feet when they land.
The gel sits at 9,000 SHU on the scoville scale, making it roughly twice as hot as a jalepeno pepper.
Luke Roberts, a surveyor for Rentokil, told the committee: “It gives the sensation of burning, but doesn’t actually burn.
“As a bird brings up its legs, it touches its genitals and the rest is history. They don’t come back.”
Councillors also made reference to a story in a Barcelona newspaper, brought in by a resident, describing how authorities there had started feeding pigeons contraceptives to stop them breeding.
Lee Fribbins, pigeon enthusiast and director of UK Belgica racing pigeon clinic in Wyncolls Road, Colchester, warned there is only one way to move the birds on.
He said: “Ideally the only scientific approach that will work is to stop feeding them.
“It’s a bit disappointing when people use harmful things to stop pigeons roosting.
“We have had pigeons brought in that have sticky substances on their skin, some have been stuck on windowsills and have had to rip their toes off to move.
“Pigeons get a bad rep if you think what they have done for us in two world wars and they are an important past time for 40,000 people, like myself.”
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