This week, the Rapid Pest Control team provided an Avishock Bird Deterrent system to Witney Corn Exchange – heres the story.

We were called to Witney back in February to take a look at a pigeon problem over at the Corn Exchange. Witney has a history of pigeon problems and all over the town various methods have been deployed, with varying degrees of success, but Witney Town Council were looking for a solution for the Corn Exchange which would fit in with the renovations.

The Corn Exchange is a great old building and has currently undergone a restoration with lots of the original stonework being fixed or replaced, plus a massive clean up. Pigeons have used the Corn Exchange as a nesting site for many years and the faeces had badly marked the stone work.

Our challenge was to offer a solution which fitted in with the new restoration, but kept the pigeons off the building. After a survey, it became obvious that there was only 2 possible solutions; an optical bird gel deterrent which consists of small dishes of a special gel which scares off birds due to its appearance to them, or the Avishock system which uses a small electrical current to give birds a small shock, thus educating them not to land on the building.

Whilst both systems would work, cost for cost there was not much in it, so Witney Town Council went for the Avishock system (our preferred option as well truth be told!).

Rapid Pest control are very used to working with other contractors on site, so we soon dovetailed our installation into the renovation plans, ensuring we could use the scaffolding structure installed to complete our installation before the deadline of the Jubilee weekend.

We arrived on site on Monday ready to start. Due to the prestigious nature of the installation and the tight deadlines, the leading distributor of the Avishock system, Killgerm Chemicals sent their Bird Control expert, Nigel Batten, down to assist in the implementation, which for us was excellent as we had another pair of hands to make sure it all went smoothly. After a site safety briefing, we set off to start.

As with all projects, getting started is the most difficult thing, but once we got all our tools and equipment up on the top floor and started, things moved forward at a pace. The top floor had a very intricate clock housing, which whilst not a major pigeon area, was very tricky to do. The pigeons have favoured the large ledges and window sills in the past (knowing the heavy pressure points is vital to ensure the solution design is right) so the clock housing had a single strip of Avishock installed, where as the ledges had 2 strips.

Pigeon behaviour is similar in all cases, so knowing their habits allows us to design a robust solution. Pigeons may land at the back of a ledge in some cases, but always walk forward to fly off  the leading edge, hence a strip on the edge is vital, and a secondary strip is installed to make it difficult to land without touching the Avishock.

Anyway, we had a full on day of implementation over the 3 floors (we did not install it on the ground level for safety reasons) and all went very smoothly as planned. Any installation of this size and type must be planned down to the last detail. We had already instructed the electricians to place a water-tight box at a convenient position a few weeks earlier, so everything would be ready. Then we came across a problem….the key to the box was not here!

After a few calls, the key still had not appeared, so I eventually got through to the electrical contractors who fitted the box. They of course said the key was there, but as with all these things, if you push a bit harder, the truth comes out, in fact the engineer had it in his lunch box for safe keeping!

So with panic over, the energiser was installed ready for testing – the moment of truth!

Nigel and Steve went to the furthest end of the installation to test the voltage and it was fine – we look for 4500 – 5000 volts as a good output – but on the next floor a fault appeared where a connection had been missed out – this was soon rectified and we had 100% success.

So after a huge sigh of relief, we collected our tools and cleared up our waste. One thing I wanted to do was actually see the Avishock system in action, so went up to the top level to await the arrival of the first pigeon. Whilst we were doing the installation, pigeons were actually landing on the building and on the scaffolding and were watching us – it was quite off putting!

After about 15 minutes, a pigeon landed on a chimney next door, then dropped down onto one of the large ledges – I held my breath and finally, it stepped onto the Avishock strip and zap! The pigeon jumped about 6 foot into the air and flew off….proof that the Avishock system was working perfectly. The great thing is I actually caught this on video as well (See above!)

As with all bird proofing solutions, it usually takes a few days for the birds to be deterred, so we will be back next week (once all the scaffolding is gone as well) to see the effect of the system in action.

If you look around the Market Square in Witney, all the other buildings have Bird Spikes and bird nets, which kind of look ugly, and in fact we saw one pigeon who had made a nest on top of the bird spikes of one building. The Avishock system is not visible from the ground on the Corn Exchange so will not detract from the beauty of this wonderful old building.

If you have bird problems and want to see if the Avishock system is the right solution for your listed building, office building or warehouse, contact Rapid Pest Control now for advise and a quotation.

Here is a few shots of the day, but there is also a full video of the installation at