Chickens – Natural Pest Control?
Raising Chickens As Natural Pest Control
Birds on a farm aren't only there for meat and eggs, chickens and other fowl can play an important part in pest control. If you have found that slugs and snails are destroying your garden or that your kids and pets are consistently a home for unwelcome ticks, keeping a few poultry birds could be the answer you're looking for.
Keeping hens is a low cost endeavour and you will be rewarded with fresh eggs, meat, fertilizer and charming garden companions. Chickens are great in the garden because they scratch. Chickens are consistently scratching up the soil to find and consume grasshoppers, ticks, fleas, snails and slugs. What many people aren't aware of is that chickens will also defend a home agains scorpions, termintes, flies, mites and june bugs. You may also be surprised to learn that if a mous crosses your chicken's path there is a high chance that it won't live to cross the chicken's path again.
While chickens can be destructive in a garden, you can keep them in a pen and let them out at appropriate times such as after your seedlings are established or simply put them in a movable pen, commpnly called a tractor pen, which allows you to determine where your chickens are scratching for the day.
If the thought of potential garden damage has you thinking that natural poultry pest control is not for you – stop right there! the answer is guinea fowl. These odd looking birds are about the size of a chicken and look a little like a plump vulture. These are the ultimate pest patrol birds, letting their owners know when anything unusual is happening in the garden be it visitors of the friendly human variety or a wandering fox looking for lunch.
If peace and silence are your goal, guinea fowl are not for you. They are also not suitable for urban animal husbandry. They require space to roam and their noise would undoubtably cause complaints from your neighbors. However, if you have a little more land and you're looking for an ideal gardening companion guinea fowl may be just what your looking for. Like chickens, these birds provide eggs, manure and meat as well as polishing off your pests.
Guinea fowl will eat ticks – often the bearers of Lyme disease, fleas, japanese beetles, june bugs, slugs, snails and many other garden pests. These birds have keen eyesight – they can spot a pest a twenty paces and will rush to devour it. They will sound the alarm at intruders and are vigorous and are relatively disease free.
These birds do make a lot of noise, and their droppings are particularly large, but they are a wonderful bird and make a funny garden companion. Plus they don't scratch, so they are less damaging to a garden than the humble chicken if you want to let them roam free. More active and farther ranging than chickens, guinea fowl are a lovely addition to a vegetable garden or homestead.
These birds will gobble up pests. They will eat insects, beetles, bugs and grasshoppers. If turkeys can catch it they will eat it. Turkeys will provide meat and manure and rather large eggs in addition to being good pest control. The only drawback to raising turkeys is that in early spring they will tend to eat green shoots and new leaves – letting them free range in your garden will have your garden coming off second best. As the season progresses they will eat more insects, but their nutritional needs vary throughout the seasons and greenery is what they will consume in early spring.
Did you know that the Muscovy duck was originally named the Musco Duck? It is known as the mosquito duck and was one of the main reasons they were brought to the United States hundreds of years ago. When it comes to eating mosquitoes and insects, the Muscovy duck is one of the champions. They will eat mosquitoes directly out of the air and they will also eat the larvae found in ponds and puddles. Ducks are noisier than chickens, but are just as charming and will scavange your pests and bugs out of your garden assisting with natural pest control.
No matter which poultry you may choose to keep in your garden, with a little research you will find one that suits your purposes and your needs. Whether you live in an urban area or on a farm, fowl make great natural insect catchers and are charming, funny garden companions.