By Charley Cooke
Spiders, ticks, ants, and snails are not my idea of welcome house guests, and I love that our backyard hens are an all natural pest control. Chickens love to eat all of those little creepy crawlies that tend to make their homes in and around living spaces, AND you get protein-packed eggs back as an extra reward. If you’ve considered getting some chickens, this is just another way that you can put your chickens to work for you.
All Natural Pest Control with Chickens
Chickens are the perfect all natural pest control. They scratch out bugs and larvae from the earth, compost piles, off of garden plants, from grasses and bushes, and more. If you’ve ever watched a hen scratch, you know that they don’t just scratch along the surface of the ground; if the dirt is soft, a chicken will scratch down a couple of inches into the earth looking for anything that they can get their beaks on. They are fantastic at removing larvae and other insects from the ground, keeping infestations of unwanted pests at bay. If you have free-ranging chickens, you’ll find that they have certain places that they like being at different times, following after the insects as they go about their day.
You’ll find that chickens have a ravenous appetite when it comes to insects, they’ll chase them down and fight with the other chickens to eat them. They’ll dig through piles of old hay and pick out the ticks, spiders, mites, or anything else they can find. We’ve been happy to discover that since having our hens on our little homestead, we’ve enjoyed far fewer flies, mosquitoes, slugs, ticks, spiders, and maple bugs than in previous years.
A Natural Bug Control for Your Garden
If you confine your chickens, then you have a superb way to control where they go and can place them in pest heavy or problematic areas. If you’ve noticed that you have a slug problem in your yard, confine your chickens to it for a few days and they will quickly decimate the population. The same goes with ticks or any other pest. We’ve had chickens in our garden with good success and they have kept spiders, slugs, snails, grasshoppers, and larvae from on and around our plants under great control.
Move Away from Chemicals
As we move into a more natural direction with our homestead by using natural methods for fertilizing and weed and pest control, and move away from the traditional chemicals, using chickens to control pests around our house and garden is a perfect fit. We already have the birds for meat and eggs, so why not let them pull double duty and keep down the bugs that they so love? It makes for happy chickens and happy chicken parents.
Charley Cooke is a wife, homemaker, and homeschooling mom to four girls living in southern Oregon. When she isn’t sharing recipes or helping people learn to be more self-sufficient on her blog at www.cookesfrontier.com, you’ll find her working on her current crochet project.
Your chickens take good care of you, so be sure to take good care of your chickens! Our article on identifying and treating bumblefoot is essential knowledge for every chicken farmer.